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Hear Barnhart - Sunday, Nov. 11
"Belief as a Psychological Phenomenon" --- November 11, 2007 10:30 a.m.

Speaker: Professor Joe Barnhart, University of North Texas (retired)

Place: Pellissippi State Technical Community College, Goins Administration Bldg., Cafeteria Annex

Time: 10:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
(arrive around 10:00 a.m. for socializing)

Doubting is an essential ingredient of believing or expecting. To expect the social and physical environment to behave in certain ways is to doubt that it will behave in certain other ways. While believing as a psychological phenomenon proves necessary to living, not every belief or expectation is necessary. Some beliefs are required for survival; others are lethal if acted upon; while some prove helpful, harmful, or negligible.

Skepticism, like believing, does not exist in the abstract. It is always relative to a given claim or expectation. Healthy skepticism develops through the trials and errors of both one’s own experiences and those of others. Caution develops as we fine-tune specific claims and reflect on the actions based on those claims. Excessive caution, like reckless believing, carries its own dysfunctional consequences.

If we can admit it is possible for us to be rational even when some of our beliefs are false, then perhaps we can pass judgment on some of our neighbors’ claims and beliefs without impugning their native intelligence or even their wisdom in general.

Posted by pking
Nov. 10, 2007