Monday, August 31, 2009


By some standards, I may be held to be a hypocrite, in that I sometimes propound views which I do not hold, or that I sometimes do not act according to the views that I hold. Dismissing the argument that I am merely human, I propose the following defence:

I argue that there are multiple levels of belief; it is not a mere binary between believing and disbelieving. For instance, I may very strongly believe that the Earth is round, whereas I may weakly believe (from the weather report) that it will not rain tomorrow.

The distinction between the levels of belief is important when deciding whether to act upon the beliefs. Reusing the example of the belief in the incidence of rain tomorrow, my belief in the report may be weak enough for me to justify carrying an umbrella despite this being contrary to my belief that it will not rain.

By the same token, a belief may be held, but not to a extent strong enough to motivate behavior consistent with the belief. In particular, a person who demands a higher level of evidence or faith in any issue would neccessarily have a higher threshold of belief before acting.

Interestingly, the word hypocrite has its roots in the Greek words "hypo" and 'krinein", meaning "under" and "to sift or decide" respectively. In other words, hypocrisy was an inability to decide, which concurs with my earlier analysis.

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