Just let me throw a phrase out there that I have known and used for many a long night but might be new to some, and very useful.

Plausibility structure.

Maybe it was that philosopher dude Polyani who thought it up or Popper or one of those lads I’ll get round to knowing inside out if God lets me have my three score and ten years on the Earth but it is an idea that is essential for us to do any kind of self examination. It is, to sound wanky, an epistemic building block.

What it means is that we all, deep down at the bottom of what we call “I”, have a series of beliefs so basic that they are axiomatic, that is, they are beyond proof. We don’t even think to challenge them to proof. Often we are actually totally blind to them at all. They are the pieces of glass that make up the lens of our worldview. And we all have them. They are the boundary lines of what is possible, what is sensible and what is viable as a truth claim. Our brains are like plausibility-structure generators. It’s just what they do in boot-up, before they get around to thinking, they decide to lay some groundrules for future decisions.

What this means is that the common way we talk about truth, in terms of reason and experience, faith and fact, and any other black and white dichotomy you care to offer, is far far too simplistic to do justice to the way we think about reality (nevermind how reality actually really is).

So this Christmas when you consider the Incarnation or the credit card balance or any other thing that makes you think of the Big Issues, bear in mind that your mind is bearing on its plausibility structures.

Your Correspondent, His baseline assumption is that he’s right ALL THE TIME