Thursday, February 7, 2013

Failing to Have Justification for Something You Really Believe is Apparently Like the Loss of Love

In the song "Just Give Me A Reason," P!nk and Nate Ruess (of the band Fun.) recount how painful it is to lose a loved one without being given any reason why the love ended. All they want is an explanation or a reason concerning why the love is gone. Notice: what seems to be the most difficult aspect of the love being over is that there is no reason why the love ended. It's not just that the love is gone; it's that the love is gone without any reason being provided.


What struck me about this song was that it seems like a similar feeling is found when someone is starting to lose their ability to hold a belief or conviction they've previously took to be unquestionable. This is a painful part of philosophy. Think about something you took to be unquestionable at some point in your life (e.g., belief in God, belief in a particular scientific theory, belief in some explanation of a some significant event, belief that a certain ethical theory was correct, etc.). Without a reason concerning why you should continue to hold a belief, or without justification for a belief, it gets harder and harder to keep that belief. Eventually, if you fail to have any reasons or justification for holding a belief that at one time meant so much to you, or at one time provided you with such comfort, then you won't be able to keep that belief.

Let's look at the chorus:
"Just give me a reason.
Just a little bit's enough.
Just a second, we're not broken just bent,
And we can learn to love again.
It's in the stars.
It's been written in the scars on our hearts.
We're not broken just bent,
And we can learn to love again."
(http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/pink/justgivemeareason.html)

Again, it seems like this song could have just as easily been about how hard it is to lose a belief that you hold so dearly (or how hard it is to lose the ability to justify a belief that you hold so dearly). Notice that we can swap out the words relating to 'love' with words relating to 'belief' and the sentiment of the song is still preserved! In the following presentation of the chorus I've replaced the words referring to 'love' with words relating to 'belief' or 'justification' (the word 'it's' should be taken as referring to the belief, whichever one you hold dearest, in question). Take a look:
"Just give me a reason.
Just a little bit's enough.
Just a second, [it's] not broken just bent,
And we can learn to [believe] again.
[It's] in the stars.
[It's] been written in the scars on our hearts.
We're not broken just bent,
And we can learn to [believe] again."

While I have just replaced the words referencing 'love' in the chorus, if you replace the words referencing 'love' in the rest of the song with words referencing 'belief' or 'justification,' then the meaning is still preserved!
It seems like losing the ability to justify a belief or hold a particular thought to be true can be just as painful as losing love. This is why philosophy is important! Epistemology is a field dedicated to justification and knowledge. Without reasons or justifications for our beliefs we succumb to the same horrendous feeling and torment being described in the song. However, if you can critically engage with your deeply held beliefs, then you'll know how to better handle situations like this. You'll either be better able to (i) abandon beliefs for which you have no justification, or (ii) you'll be better able to defend your beliefs, and the chances of you being able to offer justification for your beliefs is greater. :) 

Yay epistemology!!!!!!


No comments:

Post a Comment