Both meta-beliefs (beliefs about beliefs) and personal epistemology (beliefs about knowledge and knowing something) exert significant influence on the way a person perceives the world (Hofer&Pintrich 4). For the purposes of this assignment I answered a range of questions, regarding beliefs myself, and asked another person from a group to answer them. Let me start the presentation of results with my own answers.
I have a wide range of beliefs. I believe that hard work is the main prerequisite for implementing goals. On the other hand, I assume that sometimes success is determined not by hard work, but good luck. To prove these beliefs I can use simple examples from my life. If I set a goal to produce a good piece of writing and work hard in order to review literature, organize my ideas, develop the outline and so on, I will most probably achieve my aim. On the other hand, I may produce a good work, if I am in a good mood and like the topic. This proof consists of empirical evidence. I believe that I am not beautiful and have communication difficulties. Nevertheless, I know that this belief lacks evidence as I am frequently said that I look good, and I have lots of friends and acquaintances. I cannot prove these beliefs, because they are irrational. I have developed them without referring to real-life experiences, but on the basis of my own view. I would be able to prove these beliefs, if I get relevant life experiences (e.g., somebody would confirm my appearance-related belief or I would feel the lack of friends). I strongly disbelieve in God. If I stopped to have above-mentioned beliefs, I would be freer as each belief is a stereotype.
My group mate believes that getting into adventures makes life brighter. He can prove it by referring to his own experience of different adventures (e.g., traveling on his own, trying extreme sports). This proof is empirical. My friend believes in God, but he feels it is hard for him to substantiate this belief. It may be hard to prove that God exists as no one can see, hear or approach him, despite the fact that sometimes it may seem to people that they speak to him, and he can hear them. On the other hand, if one refers to the world history, one can challenge existence of God, emphasizing excessive violence and his non-intervention. Rational explanation for the misbalance between the interventions of God in people’s lives can serve as a proof of the fact that God exists. My group mate strongly disbelieves in fate, and thinks that one can change his/her life. He thinks that if he stopped to have these beliefs, he would turn into another person.
Results of the exercise show that people have significant and insignificant, substantiated and unsubstantiated beliefs. To substantiate our beliefs both my friend and I used references to personal experience. Furthermore, some of unsubstantiated beliefs contradict the ones, usually possessed by other people. Beliefs often concern debatable spheres, such as existence of God, the way to approach him and his intervention in daily lives of people. Last, but not least is that beliefs constitute an important part of personality. The change in beliefs can be associated with significant change of the whole personality.
Hofer, K., Pintrich, P. Personal epistemology: the psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing. NJ: Psychology Press, 2004. Print.