Principle of charity

The principle of charity houdt in dat je een interpretatie geeft die zo sterk mogelijk is.

Wanneer er twijfel is of een argumentatie meervoudig of nevenschikkend is, wordt volgens dit principe voor een meervoudige argumentatie gekozen. Die is namelijk sterker dan een nevenschikkende, waarbij het onderuithalen van een enkele verzameling premissen genoeg is om de conclusie op losse schroeven te zetten.

Uit Honderich:

charity, principle of
A principle of interpretation. In its simplest form, it holds that (other things being equal) one's interpretation of another speaker's words should mimimize the ascription of false beliefs to that speaker. For example, it suggests that, given the choice between translating a speaker of a foreign language as expressing the belief that elephants have wings and elephants have tusks, one should opt for the latter translation. Several variants of the principle have been proposed; for example, that translation should (ceteris paribus) minimize the ascription of inexplicable error. The principle is prominent in the work of Davidson, who adopts it as a generalization of a maxim proposed by Quine. (Quine takes the label 'principle of charity' from a principle about reference formulated by N.L. Wilson.) [P.J.M]

The history of philosophy abounds in principles: the principle of sufficient reason, Hume's principle ('No ought from an is'), the principle of double effect... A principle will often be put forward as an allegedly obvious truth from which to derive further truths. The principle or principles may be thought so basic and general that all or most of knowledge, or anyway of philosophical knowledge, can be derived: we thatn have philosophical foundationalism, as typified in the work of Spinoza. But Descartes's 'I think therefore I am' is not of the general form required of a principle. Using it, or something like it, as a starting-point would amount to a different, epistemological, form of foundationalism. A moral principle is less a starting-point for reasoning that a guide for deliberation and action. In moral pilosophy, you may find a hybrid of the two - for example, the 'utility principle'. [R.P.L.T.]