- Why do Some People Insist Beliefs are Choices?
- August 28th, 12:54
A lot of people insist beliefs are choices. I can’t understand how beliefs would be choices.
I *know* people have the choice to ignore their experiences, and ignore other evidence, but, to the degree that people follow their experiences, and follow other evidence, we may prefer one view, we may be familiar with some and unfamiliar with others, but we should allow reason to compel doubt, or compel rejection of our prefered explanation, or compel adoption of another.
To say people choose their beliefs seems like saying people can’t follow their experiences, and can’t follow other evidence.
I think values are choices, and people could be confusing beliefs with values.
(In fact belief used to refer to values.)
I’ve been in a multi-day argument with people:
(a) claiming that beliefs are choices,
(b) claiming that thinking that the earth orbits the sun isn’t a belief, because it’s a fact,
(c) claiming that “[my] idea of what constitutes choice seems to rule out the idea of choice for virtually everything defining of a person." ... as if that would be an argument against anything.
(I think the idea that we choose all the important things enables victim-blaming, and the just-world lie. I don’t choose to be chronically ill, or to be beaten up for my disabilities. I don’t even choose to be autistic and a womon, though I do value these things. I *do* choose to oppose war and other violence, though I’m unable to do any activism in this inaccessible society with my disabilities.)
(d) dismissing what I have said, as “just a bunch of words that don't say anything,” while
(e) addressing what I haven’t said, and wouldn’t mean.
I think there are four possibilities, three of which are relevant here:
(2) we mean different things by belief, or
(3) we mean different things by choice, or
(4) we have different experiences and understandings of how we reason (and misreason).
Since I'm autistic, and most people aren't, different experiences are always a possibility.
It’s frustrating as all hell though. If they’re honest, then either we don’t have enough of a shared language to talk about a shared rationality, or we don’t have enough of a shared rationality.