«اعتباری» اصطلاح پرکاربرد در معرفتشناسی است. جیمز از اعتبار به عنوان برونرفتی از عقلگرایی حداکثری استفاده میکند و آن را «فرض باور» یا «پذیرش اولیه باور» معنا میکند بهگونهای که شواهدی بعدی صدق یا ابطال آن را متاثر از همین فرآیند معتبرسازی باور نشان میدهد. از نقدهای اساسی نظریه جیمز، مطابقت امر اعتباری با واقعیت در حال تکامل و تحقق؛ و فروکاستن صدق به سودمندی است. کاربرد مهم دیگر اصطلاح اعتباری در نظریه ادراکات اعتباری علامه طباطبائی است که به معنای جعل و قراداد مفاهیمی به جهت رفع نیازهای اساسی انسان است. دیدگاه علامه، اگرچه ادعای صدق برای ادراکات اعتباری نکرده، اما مستلزم جعلی و نسبی بودن بسیاری از مفاهیم و احکام عملی و اخلاقی است. پژوهش حاضر بر آن است که میتوان با تبیین جدیدی از اعتباری، بدون تغییر در معنای صدق و بدون جعلی دانستن امور اخلاقی، رهیافتی برای معضل معرفتشناسی باورهای ضروری و سودمندی که قرینه کافی برای اثبات یا ابطال آنها وجود ندارد، تدارک دید. در این تحلیل نشان داده میشود که با پذیرش کاربرد اعتباری به معنای «فرض باور» یا «تلقی به پذیرش» بهگونهای که آثار متوقع از باور بر آن مترتب گردد بدون آنکه به صدق متصف شود، میتوان این دست باورها را پذیرفت و ادراکات اعتباری به این معنا را در حوزه علوم نظری و علوم عملی معتبر دانست.
عنوان مقاله [English]
Acceptance of a Proposition upon Insufficient Evidence Based on the Critique of the Constructional Concept from the View of William James and ‘Allāma Tabātabā’ī
“Constructional” is a commonly used term in epistemology. James makes use of credibility as an evasion of strong rationalism and considers that as believing in a proposition based on its practical usefulness so that the consequent evidence effective under the influence of this credibility shows truth or falsehood of that proposition. Basic criticisms to the theory of James involve the correspondence between a constructional issue and a reality in development or substantiation and reducing truth to usefulness. Construction in ‘Allāma Tabātabā’ī’s theory of constructional perceptions (artificial conceptions) is interpreted as artificiality and constructing some concepts to fulfill humans’ basic needs. Although ‘Allāma’s theory does not claim truth for the constructional perceptions, it restricts cognition to practical reason with respect to human basic needs and the faculty of reason to use constructional function. By offering a new explanation of constructional, without any alteration in the meaning of truth and restricting constructional to practical and unverified issues, the present study aims to present a solution for the epistemological problem concerning some necessary and useful beliefs for which there is not sufficient evidence. According to the obtained results, by considering the constructional function of mind as “assumption of belief” or “perceiving acceptance”, such beliefs can be accepted in a way that without attributing them to truth, the consequences of a belief apply to them and constructional perceptions be acknowledged as valid in the realm of theoretical and practical science.
Key words: Construction, Usefulness, Truth, Justification, Perceiving Acceptance
Introduction: With the dominance of rationalism in the Enlightenment Movement, epistemological justification for believing in available rational evidence is illuminated. However, sometimes we are confronted with many necessary, vital, and useful propositions for which there is no sufficient evidence available to reach either acceptance or rejection. One of the famous epistemological ideas adopted in this challenge is agnosticism as an evasion of accepting a proposition without any sufficient evidence. Significant and serious criticisms to this theory have led to presenting other approaches.
Method: Using an analytic-deductive method, the present article analyzes some relevant data in this regard which are collected, classified, and coded by the library method. The main purpose of the research is to present a solution for the epistemological problem under discussion that also avoids critiques of the views of James and ‘Allāma. According to the research assumption, by distinguishing between belief in a proposition and its constructional acceptance we can make use of the function of validating a proposition without connecting that to truth and so to accept it in a way that it does not involve consequences of a belief.
Findings: By analyzing the mental and rational faculties of a human and emphasizing on the other aspects of human existence, James introduces validation in a new meaning as one of human mental activities and accordingly justifies some beliefs that have no evidence. In construction, mind saves a version of reality in itself and based on this version, constructs an image of reality in mind and regards it true and factual. This duplication is under the condition that it facilitates practical and rational development to achieve objective purposes in life. The constructed conceptions in mind, on the one hand, should be a means to approach objective, current, and developing reality that per se verifies or nullifies that constructed belief, and on the other hand, it should serve as guide for our new experiences and perceptions to the old experiences and perceptions saved in our mind. He maintains that “liveableness, inevitability, and lack of chance to return” are three basic features for the mental validity of belief upon insufficient evidence (James, 1897: 3).
Adopting a different approach to solve epistemological predicaments in the realm of practical reason, Tabātabā’ī raises the concept of constructional perceptions. In his outlook, “constructional perceptions are assumptions constructed by the human mind to fulfill vital needs. They are contractual, hypothetical, and credit-based so they do not deal with the reality and Nafs al-Amr” (Tabātabā’ī, 1364, vol. 2: 138). In his viewpoint, construction is one of the functions and activities of practical reason applied by the human mind in order to satisfy some vital needs and have easier access to practical purposes in life. They compose a second division of science called constructional perceptions.
The perspectives of James and Tabātabā’ī face with numerous criticisms such as: reducing truth to usefulness and gradual development of objective truth in James’ theory; and restricting the act of construction in practical reason and lowering human basic epistemological needs in the realm of theoretical reason in Tabātabā’ī’s view.
Conclusions and discussions: According to the author’s view, the credibility of a proposition can be accepted as a mental function and by the expansion of its meaning, it can be interpreted as perceiving acceptance or non-epistemological acceptance of a proposition in order to be adopted as a suitable solution for some propositions that are built upon insufficient evidence. When a proposition is given credibility and accepted, it is neither claimed to be true nor constructed to be an artificial and contractual proposition; but when the confirmation of a proposition is not permissible due to lack of sufficient evidence, it is treated with an epistemological view as if the proposition is accepted so that the consequences of this acceptance apply to the credibility and acceptance.
According to the requirements of rationality, the admissibility and even suitability of giving credibility to a proposition is restricted to special conditions. Three required conditions for the credibility of a proposition without claiming truth and having practical consequences include: 1. Reasons for and against a proposition are completely equal and there is no preference to either accept or reject any side; 2. Adopting agnosticism in accepting an impossible belief requires accepting one side of the theorem; 3. The belief has such an importance that either accepting or rejecting it has a profound impact on human life. Whenever logical evidence and reason gains priority on either side and rational reasoning issues an order, even if indefinite, we are obliged to follow the rational evidence. Therefore, in addition to obeying the governance of reason, we do not let any false belief enter our mind. Thereby, we do our epistemological and moral duty in front of our beliefs, and also make use of the practical consequences of accepting the beliefs.
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