Infallibility is the ability to be free from error (obtain certainty). The two classical examples are, "when you feel pain, you can't be wrong" and "when you say one plus one equals two, you're infallible."

Table of contents
1 Other Definitions
2 Psychological Aspects
3 Philosophical Aspects
4 See also

Other Definitions

  • Infallibility is often defined as the 'inability to err', this implies that infallibility is a condition or character instead of a description of an event. As such it means that the being in question is incapable of error for the term of it's life. Concise dictionaries often give this definition.
  • There is also a school of thought [help please] that says [something like] "humans aren't capable of infallibility but can obtain certainty."

The rest of this entry deals with the human experience of infallibility.

Psychological Aspects

Infallibility is inseparable from human nature as a result of the aspect of the human condition called self-awareness. It is one of the features that set us apart from animals, and as such, Civilization can not exist without it. In some cases, this may mean that a fact is to be accepted as true by all people; in others it may mean that an arbitrary decision must be made, and then not disputed. Examples include:

  • Bank Transactions
    • If one can not obtain certainty when counting out a withdrawal, then all transactions would become negotiated. "I think SIX twenties make a hundred. After all, you can't be certain it is only five, and the customer is always right."
  • Government
    • Without the ability to make a judgement on who won the Bush vs Gore election, who knows what could have happened. Realize, whether you agreed with the judgment or not, the judgement was infallible, Bush did become President.
      • This should not be confused with a moral imperative for Bush to be president, but rather it should be noted that someone had to become president, and it's better to regard the decision as infallible than to have a civil war as would occur in some nations.

Philosophical Aspects

Philosophy is sometimes concerned with denying the ability to know anything at all, let alone obtaining certainty, see existentialism and skepticism. A cursory inquiry will produce a great deal of information arguing against infallibility. The fields most likely to support infallibility are metaphysics, epistemology, reason and logic. For a spiritual slant, see apologetics.

See also