Thursday, June 26, 2008


A presupposition is an elementary assumption, a belief that we are more committed to than another belief, we would reject it only if it was found to be in conflict with another or other beliefs that are taken to be more elemntary or more basic than it. An ultimate presupposition is something that we are committed to "come what may". We grant to ultimate presuppositions the highest level of immunity; all other claims stand or fall before it, depending on whether they comport with it or not.

As with other terms, so with this one, the word presupposition has been used differently and is to be carefully distinguished from these other uses. An ultimate presupposition is not an axiom, if by axiom we mean an arbitrarily chosen and unprovable starting point; it is, rather, a belief that is transcendentally necessary. An ultimate presupposition is also not a hypothesis, something that is tentatively put on the table until all the results are in; it is held to be true from first to last. Finally, an ultimate presupposition is not a belief that is merely rational to hold, rather, and this is all-important, it is the very criterion of rationality, that in terms of which we evaluate everything else.

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