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How can you say that?

"This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. .." 1 John 3. 16

There is a strand of philosophy that loves nothing better than to undermine our confidence in knowing anything for certain - cloaked in the name of truth, or accuracy, or some other laudable principle. But this rarely helps our navigation through life, let alone our understanding of it. For instance, how does it help to suggest, in the face of a looming deadline, that time is artificial, or that the cup into which you are pouring your coffee may not be real?

Three cheers, then, for G.E. Moore who wrote a book called 'A Defence of Common Sense', in which he seeks to cut some slack for those wishing to get on with their lives and not be held to account for every statement, as if obliged to offer a verifiable justification for such throwaway remarks as "You are one in a million", when they and those around them know what they mean - even if the statement is unclear or not exactly accurate.

Others, who insist on keeping to a more intellectual path, may find solace in 'Logical Positivism', a stream of European philosophy, whose British champion was A. J. Ayer. Logical Positivists also wish to impose boundaries on linguistic speculation. They do this by applying "the verification principle", which asserts that a statement is true if the person making it can, if necessary, provide the necessary justification for that statement. The apostle John provides a text-book example in asserting that Jesus laying down of his life as an expression of love enables us to speak authoritatively about what love is.



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