Thursday, July 15, 2004

A Taxonomy of Evidentness

From Beattie's Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth, 1.2 (I have slightly changed the exact format to make it easier to post):
A. Of abstract ideas & their relations (certain) -- a.k.a. mathematical evidence
  • intuitive evidence (i.e., the self-evidence of first principles)
  • evidence of strict demonstration (from first principles)

B. Of things really existing

  • from our own experience (certain): (1a) external and internal sense; (1b) memory; (1c) legitimate causal inference.
  • from our own experience (probable): (2a) based on uniformity, i.e., inference from facts experienced to unexperienced facts of the same kind; (2b) based on analogy, i.e., inference from facts experienced to unexperienced facts of a similar kind.
  • from the experience of others -- evidence of testimony.


Beattie then goes on to defend each of these from what he sees (with some justification) as Hume's skepticism about them.

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