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    By assume, I mean 'to suppose (something) as the truth without evidence'. But is it always wrong to conclude something based on no evidence, or partly on evidence? E.g. all hooded males steal, unplanned pregnancies are the sole preserve of people aged under 24, lacking a university degree means you're an unsuitable employee, religious people are equally gullible. Granted, assumptions, and actions based on assumptions, often leave us worse than when we began.

    But surely all assumptions can't be wrong or negative, right?

    E.g. smoking causes lung cancer.

    E.g. non-functioning drug addicts and murderers are just irresponsible people who make terrible choices and no mental illness should account for it.

    The former is refuted by evidence, and modern psychological research disputes the latter. But it's not wrong to still keep kids away from cigarettes, no? Is it bad to keep non-functioning drug addicts and murderers away from everyone else in society? Taking up the second assumption mean we end up at less risk. Of course, a positive outcome doesn't validate an assumption, however incorrect. Oh, anyone else got examples?
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    (Original post by special1ne)
    By assume, I mean 'to suppose (something) as the truth without evidence'. But is it always wrong to conclude something based on no evidence, or partly on evidence? E.g. all hooded males steal, unplanned pregnancies are the sole preserve of people aged under 24, lacking a university degree means you're an unsuitable employee, religious people are equally gullible. Granted, assumptions, and actions based on assumptions, often leave us worse than when we began.

    But surely all assumptions can't be wrong or negative, right?

    E.g. smoking causes lung cancer.

    E.g. non-functioning drug addicts and murderers are just irresponsible people who make terrible choices and no mental illness should account for it.

    The former is refuted by evidence, and modern psychological research disputes the latter. But it's not wrong to still keep kids away from cigarettes, no? Is it bad to keep non-functioning drug addicts and murderers away from everyone else in society? Taking up the second assumption mean we end up at less risk. Of course, a positive outcome doesn't validate an assumption, however incorrect. Oh, anyone else got examples?
    no it's not... but when you assume something negative about someone before you actually have evidence to prove what you believe is correct then that is wrong.

    Keeping kids away from cigarettes isn't assumption, it's scientific fact that they would be at harm..
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    (Original post by special1ne)
    By assume, I mean 'to suppose (something) as the truth without evidence'. But is it always wrong to conclude something based on no evidence, or partly on evidence? E.g. all hooded males steal, unplanned pregnancies are the sole preserve of people aged under 24, lacking a university degree means you're an unsuitable employee, religious people are equally gullible. Granted, assumptions, and actions based on assumptions, often leave us worse than when we began.

    But surely all assumptions can't be wrong or negative, right?

    E.g. smoking causes lung cancer.


    E.g. non-functioning drug addicts and murderers are just irresponsible people who make terrible choices and no mental illness should account for it.

    The former is refuted by evidence, and modern psychological research disputes the latter. But it's not wrong to still keep kids away from cigarettes, no? Is it bad to keep non-functioning drug addicts and murderers away from everyone else in society? Taking up the second assumption mean we end up at less risk. Of course, a positive outcome doesn't validate an assumption, however incorrect. Oh, anyone else got examples?
    Not an assumption. That is a conclusion based on evidence. The question here is about causality, but that isn't an assumption.

    Or do philosophers use "assumption" differently to economists?
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    (Original post by hannahchan)
    no it's not... but when you assume something negative about someone before you actually have evidence to prove what you believe is correct then that is wrong.

    Keeping kids away from cigarettes isn't assumption, it's scientific fact that they would be at harm..
    How about religious beliefs, especially conservative ones? The religious can assume all they like about me as a non-believer (I'm forsaken, I won't enter Heaven, etc). But so long as they don't impart such ideas to kids or they don't infringe on my human rights, their assumptions aren't harming me or anyone else. Of course, even if both criteria are satisfied, some beliefs still remain which make life unbearable in some parts of the world, so that's not a perfect filter.

    On smoking, kids are at harm because smoking increases the risk of contracting lung cancer, it doesn't cause it. But before research showed that smoking was a risk factor, you can bet your right shoe that many parents still kept kids away from cigarettes. They knew no better then, but it still helped.

    (Original post by hannahchan)
    Not an assumption. That is a conclusion based on evidence. The question here is about causality, but that isn't an assumption.

    Or do philosophers use "assumption" differently to economists?
    I'm not a philosopher but I recognise the possible philosophical import to this topic so I posted it here, plus I couldn't pick elsewhere

    I might've made more sense if I used "axiom" in place of "assumption", as the latter can be empirically validated. "Axiom" suggests a self-evident premise or premises as such that its truth isn't questioned. This doesn't mean the self-evident premises are actually true or that the thing which makes the premise self-evident (public opinion, partial evidence, myths, etc) is 100% valid.
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    It depends very much on what you mean by 'wrong'. Will the beliefs be wrong? Probably not always. Is it morally wrong? I don't see why it ought to be. Is it logically wrong? I suppose it can be, but only if your reason to believe something is your reasoning and your reasoning is incomplete - but of course people believe things for all sorts of reasons.

    I feel like this question has a more interesting one under the surface: Are there good reasons to believe a thing aside from what is supported by the evidence?
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    (Original post by miser)
    It depends very much on what you mean by 'wrong'. Will the beliefs be wrong? Probably not always. Is it morally wrong? I don't see why it ought to be. Is it logically wrong? I suppose it can be, but only if your reason to believe something is your reasoning and your reasoning is incomplete - but of course people believe things for all sorts of reasons.

    I feel like this question has a more interesting one under the surface: Are there good reasons to believe a thing aside from what is supported by the evidence?
    Yes, I should've clarified my question. Perhaps my definition of wrong for this question is mostly the logical one you mentioned, and a bit of the first one, on beliefs. And your follow-up is indeed an interesting question to ask, it qualifies my own question somewhat. Plus it warrants the topic's inclusion in the Philosophy forum, but enough adulation from me

    I am inclined to answer your question with a "Partly". Cognitive biases lead someone to do precisely that. If the thing in question reinforces, or is supported by, previous beliefs (however irrational), that's a good reason to believe something irrespective of evidence. And there's also the 'means to an end' argument, whereby the outcome (e.g. a sense of comfort, or to 'fit in' with a group) justifies the actual assumption of something without regard for the evidence.

    Whether any of those reasons are good is another matter I can't answer so well. If the situation or feelings that result from believing something unsupported by evidence are positive - and cannot be attained by any other means - then the 'means to an end' argument is probably as good a reason, to believe something aside from what is supported by the evidence, as any.
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    We assume things all the time, we have to, to prove something right or wrong we must first have an assumption.
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    (Original post by special1ne)
    Yes, I should've clarified my question. Perhaps my definition of wrong for this question is mostly the logical one you mentioned, and a bit of the first one, on beliefs. And your follow-up is indeed an interesting question to ask, it qualifies my own question somewhat. Plus it warrants the topic's inclusion in the Philosophy forum, but enough adulation from me

    I am inclined to answer your question with a "Yes". Cognitive biases lead someone to do precisely that. If the thing in question reinforces, or is supported by, previous beliefs (however irrational), that's a good reason to believe something irrespective of evidence. And there's also the 'means to an end' argument, whereby the outcome (e.g. a sense of comfort, or to 'fit in' with a group) justifies the actual assumption of something without regard for the evidence.
    Yes, I think you're getting to the meat of it. The criteria against which we qualify our beliefs depends completely upon what we decide our beliefs are for. If they're to give us an accurate representation of the world, then we should aim to believe only what is true; if they're to make life easier, then we should believe only what is useful.
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    (Original post by Albino)
    We assume things all the time, we have to, to prove something right or wrong we must first have an assumption.
    You're referring to a priori statements, which are more 'premises' than 'assumptions', or even hypotheses. Those are tested with experimentation and evidence is drawn up. From that, conclusions are derived (that is, the conclusion follows logically from the premises, deductively or inductively).

    (Original post by miser)
    Yes, I think you're getting to the meat of it. The criteria against which we qualify our beliefs depends completely upon what we decide our beliefs are for. If they're to give us an accurate representation of the world, then we should aim to believe only what is true; if they're to make life easier, then we should believe only what is useful.
    Surely some things are believed to both give an accurate representation of the world, and to make life easier? The line gets blurred in such cases. For example, believing that Christians are selfless and caring people creates an accurate representation of the world (i.e. the Christian worldview), where this is the case. But this belief also makes life easier, as it creates a sense of comfort and belonging if you are a Christian too; it encourages one to get along with other believers.

    The example might not be perfect, but I think it shows that the things we decide our beliefs are for may have significance to sociologists and philosophers alike. Or am I jumping too far ahead?
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    (Original post by special1ne)
    Surely some things are believed to both give an accurate representation of the world, and to make life easier? The line gets blurred in such cases. For example, believing that Christians are selfless and caring people creates an accurate representation of the world (i.e. the Christian worldview), where this is the case. But this belief also makes life easier, as it creates a sense of comfort and belonging if you are a Christian too; it encourages one to get along with other believers.

    The example might not be perfect, but I think it shows that the things we decide our beliefs are for may have significance to sociologists and philosophers alike. Or am I jumping too far ahead?
    There is a significant overlap of the two, but which takes precedence? If a belief was true but hindered you, would you abandon it? Likewise, if a belief was false, but tremendously useful, what would you do with it? One is often in service of the other - either truth is in service of utility, or utility in service of truth - but where there are contradictory cases, we get to see which we value more.
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    (Original post by special1ne)
    You're referring to a priori statements, which are more 'premises' than 'assumptions', or even hypotheses. Those are tested with experimentation and evidence is drawn up. From that, conclusions are derived (that is, the conclusion follows logically from the premises, deductively or inductively).
    I agree on the logic quoted here, actually. I don't think they are a priori statements. I think the basic functionality of the human mind relies heavily on the input; input from people, the environment, ideologies, beliefs, personal experiences, faith and so on. but the idea is simple - unless we start out on something, we won't make any progress on knowing anything.

    It is rather the first piece of information we gather (which is an assumption till we question it and look up on the veracity) and this knowledge bank builds up as we see and hear more. these assumptions are to be constantly tested and pruned to get a more accurate visual. so it is not wrong to assume; you are merely acting out on piece of information you stored long time back and that is vital. what is wrong is to believe it is a fixed truth and make it into a belief system, which causes more harm - people acting out on their assumptions because they genuinely believe them.


    Belief and faith are personal, I think. So
    (Original post by special1ne)
    encouraging one to get along with other believers.
    is not always a positive case. Imagine it was not the christian worldview we are discussing but the Aryan racial supremacy Nazis believed in. You'll be a believer but a highly skewed perspective that will be ! It's always healthy to not turn any assumption into such a concrete structure that we cannot break it down even if we want to !
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    No but it has to be relational and proportional to the things being compared. For example, it would be stupid to assume that because a man is wearing a blue shirt he supports Chelsea. You can assume it with a lower relational percentage of being correct, whereas if you see that a man has cigarettes in his pocket then you would have a higher relational percentage of being correct.

    In both instances however you can be wrong so it's not always safe to assume but neither is it fair to say that you shouldn't assume in all cases. Basic intuitions are what drive us to reaching conclusions.
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    I think it more or less depends on the actual case you're assuming things on. I mean, if I saw a guy in a hoodie, looking all suspicious, I wouldn't walk up to them and have a friendly chat. That's an assumption that I'm pretty much glad people have because it usually keep us from harm and actually helps us reach conclusions or look deeper into things. Assumptions are useful, but not in all cases.
 
 
 
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