W.K. Clifford: The Ethics of Belief

A shipowner was about to send to sea an emigrant-ship. He knew that she was old, and not overwell built at the first; that she had seen many seas and climes, and often had needed repairs. Doubts had been suggested …

The Ethics of Belief

We often say things like, “Well, everybody is entitled to their own opinion.” This is another way of saying, “Well, you can believe whatever you want to believe.”

But are statements like that actually true?

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Validity and Soundness

The terms, “validity,” and, “soundness,” can only properly be applied to deductive arguments. It is a category error to say that an inductive argument is valid or invalid, or that it is sound or unsound.

The certainty we expect from …


When we must have certainty, we must rely upon deductive inferences. When a new bridge or a space shot depends upon the mathematics, we don’t think, “Well, math is unreliable, but that’s okay because our equations are likely to be …


Most of the inferences we make every day are inductive: there is only a certain likelihood that our conclusions are true. Furthermore, most of the time we are not even aware that we are making such inferences.

For example, every …

What Is Philosophy?

The word, “Philosophy,” is a combination of two Greek words that mean, “Love of wisdom.” The practice of philosophy can be called “wisdom-seeking,” or, as it is more commonly thought of today, “truth-seeking.”

Of course, most people don’t think of …


What is an Argument?

In the logical sense, the sense with which we will be concerned, an argument is a group of propositions (statements with a truth value), some of which are given in support of another. The supporting propositions …

Introduction: Evolutionary Arguments

  • What is science? What is science really doing?
  • What does “evolution” even mean?
  • Are evolution and creation really opposed?
  • Is naturalism an adequate account of everything that there is?

These and a host of related questions will be our subject …