TGGP has requested that I expand upon my earlier statements regarding the choice between contradictory assertions.
A useful method for analyzing incompatible ideas is to force the assigned truth value of each to vary, examining the consequences of this on the value of the others. In this way the possibility space of the conflict can be explored. “What happens if I assume this? How does this change?” I often perceive this as turning a complex object in my hands, twisting the pieces of a puzzle, exploring how a shift in perspective or a sliding piece transforms the shape of the structure.
We quickly find that the categories of statements are loosely organized into a hierarchy. (I prefer the concept of a reverse-hierarchy, with the most important things at the bottom rather than the top, but the associations that cause that are merely subjective and you may do as you please.) Altering the truth value of the most fundamental concepts has implications for certain other categories of statements, but not vice-versa.
Let’s say you observe a friend doing something that you believe is utterly and completely uncharacteristic of them, to the point where you can’t bring yourself to believe you saw what you saw.
There are two competing premises here: “Friend did X” and “Friend is incapable of doing X”. They’re clearly incompatible – the see-saw of logic is in full swing. Depending on which statement we accept and which we reject, our conclusions flow in two different directions.
If we’re uncertain about what we saw, and we’re fairly confident in our evaluation of our friend’s character, it’s easy to dismiss our observation. We could have seen incorrectly, after all. If our beliefs about our friend are uncertain or weak, it’s easy to accept what we saw. But taking confidence to be more than it is leads to faith, where any contradictory evidence will be rejected no matter how strong.
What we have to remember is that our beliefs are just a way to anticipate and react to the things we perceive. Both beliefs and perceptions can be in error, but perceptions are closer to the true reality we’re trying to understand and predict.
Changing the valence of our beliefs does not change what really happened. Considering different truth values for the reality makes our beliefs either true or false (or valid or invalid, justifiable or unjustifiable… you get the idea). One category is more fundamental than the other, which is ontologically dependent on the value of the statements in the deeper level of analysis.
That deeper level has ontological priority over the other.