A Critique of William Lyon Phelps's Statement on the Relationship between Certainty and Belief

I challenge William Lyon Phelps’s statemenabouten the relationship between certainty and belief, because while Phelps claims having a belief in something can be sufficient motivation to do something, the fact that you simply believe in something, does not make it certain. Belief is a powerful motivator. We hear many stories about blind people climbing mountains, or paralyzed people completing triathlons. These events start with the belief that one can accomplish, “… those things that other people are certain are impossible.” It starts with a desire to do something bold.

However, if the blind man had simply sat on his couch and thought to himself, “I believe I can climb a mountain, but I am not going to do anything to accomplish that goal,” nothing would have come to pass. Belief is simply not powerful enough to cause events. You have to take action. You have to motivate yourself and DO things, more than just believe in them. Students may believe that they can receive a good score on a test, but if they do not study, belief doesn’t create results.

Like faith, belief, “…without works, is dead.”

When believing in something, it is always important to be realistic. There are exceptions to almost every rule, and just because something someone believed in came true, does not always mean it will be that same every time. Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher states, “I shouldn’t wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine.” Many things are not certain. For example, if a basketball team has had a very successful season and becomes champions, this does not guarantee they will be winners next year.

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Simply being champions the year before does not entitle them to the same privilege the next year. Belief does not take them to the championship, action does. Hard work and discipline do. If we become certain about everything all the time, with little or no effort involved, we set ourselves up for disappointment and failure. We must be cautious about the trap of entitlement. The belief that you want something,

does not mean you will always get it. In conclusion, Phelps’ statement, while certainly inspiring, does not entail all that achievement requires. Belief is a powerful force, but without action to go along with that belief, no work is accomplished.

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A Critique of William Lyon Phelps's Statement on the Relationship between Certainty and Belief. (2022, Jun 17). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/a-critique-of-william-lyon-phelps-s-statement-on-the-relationship-between-certainty-and-belief/

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