In Praise Of Doubt

by Patrick Appel

Damon Linker responds to Larison:

Doubt does not arise because our minds are "clouded by passions," as if we could conceivably attain a state of such dispassionate clarity that our statements about the world would become absolutely certain. That's a fantasy -- the epistemology of the willfully credulous. I say "willfully" because Larison is smart enough to know better, as he shows when he traces doubt to our "fallen state." That sounds to me like Larison is saying that doubt can be traced to the human condition as it exists in the here and now. I agree. By all means, believe if you wish that it once was and one day will be otherwise. But that's then and this is now -- and for now can we please agree that doubt is (and should be) the destiny of thoughtful human beings?