Re: virus: Rationality in the Cave

Tim Rhodes (
Tue, 9 Mar 1999 00:44:46 -0800

David McFadzean wrote:

>How many levels of faith are identified here?
>1) Empirical - faith in one's own experience (or more correctly,
>one's interpretation of one's memories of one's own experience...
>more on this later).
>2) Circumstantial - faith based on evidence that is not entirely
>inconsistent with the belief. This applies to the believer who
>detected the "unfamiliar scent" on the subject of the story.
>3) Anecdotal - faith based on the stories of believers. "Born-again"
>believers converted by charasmatic story-telling.
>4) Traditional - faith based on the community in which one is raised.
>I guess there is also
>5) Situational - faith based on adopting a belief system for a purpose,
>also known as Level 3.
>My concern with the Cave story is that it is implicitly asserted that
>all faith can be traced back to an authentic experience. Someone
>really did leave the Cave, and the Outside really was indescribable
>within the context of Cave Rationality.
>Is it not possible that the original Traveller misinterpreted a
>dream, delusion or hallucination? If so, how can you tell?

Does it matter for #3-5? Do you think they believe in the "Outside" simply because it is the best description of reality? Or could there be other pay-offs that keep the meme alive?

-Prof. Tim