30 May 2010

Testing tradition (Clifford)

In regard to the sacred tradition of humanity, we learn that it consists not in propositions or statements which are to be accepted on the authority of tradition, but in questions rightly asked, in conceptions which enable us to ask further questions, and in methods of answering questions. The value of all these things depends on their being tested day by day. The very sacredness of the precious deposit imposes upon us the duty and responsibility of testing it, of purifying and enlarging it to the utmost of our power.

-- William K. Clifford (1845-1879), British philosopher

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