[lit-ideas] Re: The Order of Aurality (ratification of fiction?)

  • From: "Eric Yost" <mr.eric.yost@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 10 Mar 2012 20:15:04 -0500

[extract of

Thomas Reid, a leading member of
the Scottish Enlightenment, argued that an original principle implanted
in us: "is a
disposition to confide in the veracity of others and to believe what
they tell us.It is
unlimited in children" (1764, p. 237). Twentieth century philosophers
have agreed.
Bertrand Russell wrote: "Doubt, suspense of judgment and disbelief all
seem later and
more complex than a wholly unreflecting assent" (1921, p. 249).
Similarly, Wittgenstein
claimed that: "A child learns there are reliable and unreliable
informants much later than
it learns the facts which are told it" (1969, sec. 143). The same
emphasis on early
credulity and the absence of doubt can be found among contemporary
psychologists and
biologists. Dan Gilbert, for example, proposes that: "Children are
especially credulous,
especially gullible, especially prone toward acceptance and belief"
(p.111) and Richard
Dawkins calls attention to the alleged biological advantages of such

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