Brent Meeker wrote:
That raises a fundamental question - should we believe what's true? Of course in general we don't know what's true and we never know it with certainity. But we do know some things, in the scientific, provisional sense. And we also have certain values which, as Jef says, are the basis of our action and our judgement of good and bad. So what happens when we know X and believing X is *not* conducive to realizing our values? Of course you could argue that this can never happen; that it's always best (in the values sense) to believe what's true. But I think this is doubtful. For example, person who is certainly dying of cancer (and we're all dying of something) may realize more of his values by believing that he will live for much longer than justified by the evidence. On the other hand you could argue that one can't just believe this or that as an act of will and so it is impossible to know X, even in the provisional scientific sense, and also believe not-X.


"Tell me Human, what is this Self you speak of, somehow apart from its
own value-system, somehow able to observe and comment on its own
subjective experience?"

But seriously, the values that matter most are generally below conscious
awareness and can only be inferred.  This is why I suggested that
story-telling might be among the most effective methods for collecting
sets of values for further analysis and distillation.  It would be more
accurate to say that our values drive our self rather than belong to our
self.

Evidence abounds of memories (and thus experience of self) being subject
to a great deal of distortion, fabrication, and revision, and the human
capacity for cognitive dissonance and confabulation answers loudly your
question in regard to the handling of conflicting values and beliefs.

- Jef

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