Illogic Primer Quotes Clippings Books and Bibliography Paper Trails Links Film

W.K. Clifford on Insufficient Evidence

"The Ethics of Belief" in the The Ethics of Belief and Other Essays (Prometheus Books: 1999, orig. 1877), p. 96.

We may believe what goes beyond our experience, only when it is inferred from that experience by the assumption that what we do not know is like what we know. ¶ We may believe the statement of another person, when there is a reasonable ground for supposing that he knows the matter of which he speaks, and that he is speaking the truth so far as he knows it. ¶ It is wrong in all cases to believe on insufficient evidence; and where it is presumption to doubt and to investigate, there it is worse than presumption to believe.