Do I Know What I Barf?

I sit in a chair at Peace Portal Alliance Church in Surrey, BC. I know this chair won’t collapse and leave me on the ground. Can I prove it? No. I can’t. Does this mean I can’t know it, and trust it to be a true description of reality? Absolutely not. I can know all sorts of things I cannot “prove”.

Last night I listened to philosopher Dr JP Moreland speak on the subject of knowledge and worldviews. He made some excellent points about what constitutes sound knowledge. He started by pointing out what truth and belief are. Truth, he says is the relationship of correspondence between a belief and reality. Belief, he says, is something that you take to be true with between 51% and 100% certainty.

This makes perfect sense. Notice that I live my daily life mostly on belief of things that I may not take to be 100% true. For instance, I can’t believe with 100% certainty that this chair won’t collapse on me, but I here I sit anyway, because I don’t need to remove every potential empirical obstacle to believing it will hold me before I believe it with enough truth to live my life as if my belief corresponds with reality.

This is how we make most decisions in our lives. To require absolute empirical “proof” prior to asserting something as true, that is I believe I’ve discovered the affirmative relationship of my belief to reality with reasonable certainty, is absurd. Nobody lives that way.

I believe with reasonable certainty that this chair will hold me throughout the day, and so I will live my life as if my belief corresponds with reality.


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