For instance suppose a person, A, reads that God said to man that he, man, should not do something but because the man does it, they, A, believe that therefore man has free will, but, this is because they value the idea of autonomy in man. However another person reading the same story concludes that the disobedience does not prove free will but it proves that God wanted to prove that the man was incapable of obedience. Here we have two interpretations of the same story due to people attaching value to their presuppositions. Is there a philosopher who specialises in exploring the value of presuppositions? Especially the "supposed" value of "freedom"?

  • Wouldn't man need free will to be capable or incapable of obedience, regardless of its value? In your example, at least, A's inference has nothing to do with the supposed valuing of free will. A may hate it, and still conclude the same thing.
    – Conifold
    Jul 7, 2019 at 0:59
  • @ Conifold A chooses to obey or not obey. We choose on the basis of who we are .We do not choose who we are. If we value the illusion that we can be free from how we were made that itself is just a reflection of how we were made.
    – C. Stroud
    Jul 7, 2019 at 13:34
  • And if we do not care about being free, but simply conclude that we are (or not) because it fits the observed behavior better? What you are asking about is colloquially called wishful thinking, or scientifically confirmation bias, we tend to favor "seeing" what we want or expect. But it is not that we attach value to presuppositions, but rather we tend to accept presuppositions that favor what we value. In philosophy of science this is called value-ladenness.
    – Conifold
    Jul 8, 2019 at 18:09

1 Answer 1


Vedanta can be described as the study towards the rejection of all presuppositions.

The teacher Nisargadatta (just one example) said :

All your notions about yourself are mediocre, second-hand, by hearsay ; (notions such as) "this is my name", these are my parents", "such&such is my birthday" (most fundamental of all) "this is my body"

Perhaps the most well known is Ramana whose entire teaching is compress(able) into the question

Who am I?

...a question that is as deceptively simple as its notoriously hard because for most of us most of the time we are too sure of ourselves for this active questioning to have purchase

  • You say Nisargadatta makes mention of presuppositions but does he make a link between value and presupposition?
    – C. Stroud
    Jul 6, 2019 at 18:17
  • Value is itself based on and ultimately IS presupposition. Ramana took Jesus' clear injunction – Do not judge – to its logical conclusion : The root of evil is the judgement "This is evil". Most Christians shy away from the total jettison of the idea if evil. Yet... Just think on it... Either grace is the ultimate truth and evil is only a local misunderstanding. Or else evil is fundamental and grace is strictly circumscribed. Also see my other answer
    – Rushi
    Jul 6, 2019 at 23:44
  • That said I'd say you need to explicate what you mean by value. Your question uses the word 3 times: 1 the tag, 2 "value of presupposition" 3 "value of freedom" 1 is usually ethical, 2 seems mostly epistemological, 3 I don't know... And probably merits it's own question
    – Rushi
    Jul 7, 2019 at 0:16
  • To value something is to find it convenient. Value can become the reason for holding on to a presupposition. e.g. C.S.Lewis, in my opinion, did not cross- question "free will" because it helped him out of a difficulty.
    – C. Stroud
    Jul 7, 2019 at 14:50
  • @c.stroud Not clear about what you are saying. Towards better communication I created a chat-room called "objectivity of value". Can you see it? Join it? Post to it? (You should see a chat link at bottom)
    – Rushi
    Jul 8, 2019 at 3:46

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