William Lyon Phelps and Bertrant Russel have conflicting views regarding the importance of certainty and doubt. Phelps position is that having certainty in oneself allows you to accomplish impossible tasks. While Russel believes it is healthy to have a certain amount of doubt in oneself and that people should not only believe in any one philosophy. Both Russel and Phelps make good points on the relationship between doubt and certainty but a combination of the two would be the most helpful. You should always have certainty when it comes to your own capabilities, but doubt is useful when forming your own beliefs and when it comes to others beliefs.
Having certainty in yourself is the only way to have the confidence and drive to reach your goals. You cannot be confident if you are not certain in what you believe in or what you are capable of achieving. This is true for most athletes or dancers. My dance coach always says that you have to go out on the floor with confidence, when you are confident you seem certain in what you are doing even if you do it wrong. This certainty and confidence can lead to personal success or a team’s success. It shows that the most powerful way to have confidence is to trust your capabilities and that you know what you are doing.
Russell’s views on doubt will create a well-rounded view when added to this. Especially in science when doubt must be included at all times. Scientist and doctors have a hard time proving there theories or ideas true, they have to rewrite and improve these theories many times over even if they are right or leaning in the right direction. Doubt also allows someone to view issues or ideas through the eyes of others. When you think differently than someone it opens up a discussion that could lead to doubt on one side of the argument. Doubt allows you to think critically about situations and see all perspectives of a discussion or theory.
When it comes to the relationship between certainty and doubt they are both equally important.
Though doubt and certainty are opposite, they both have pros and cons to them. When you look at the pros and cons of each of them they fall equally important in a person’s life. This, because with certainty, according to Phelps , is a way to accomplish anything that life will throw at you which will allow for success, but as Russell says you must still doubt in order to move more forward in your thoughts and opinions to get to success. With both certainty and doubt success is sure to follow.
Phelps expresses to us in his statement that certainty is all you need to achieve whatever it is that you are wanting. Though there are times when certainty does help us to achieve, there are other times when it blinds us from what is truly going on around us. Certainty is necessary when you need the confidence going into something, like a speech for instance. If you lack confidence you won’t know what you are going to say and that won’t help you to get to the point you are trying to speak about, but if you had that certainty then there wouldn’t be a problem with achieving what you want to say. The downfall to certainty is clearly shown in The Crucible. In this play, Danforth, a judge, is so cetain that witchery is among his town that he wont stop at anything to get rid of it and he truly doesn’t. He takes the lives of many innocent people of the town just because of accusations of others and his certainty that they are true, but if he would have relooked at his actions to the innocent people he knew well before the accusations then his certainty wouldn’t have played such a damaging role.
On the other hand you also have the pros and cons of doubt. With the pros of doubt there may be times when a situation has occurred, possible even more than once, that doubt could help them reach a better outcome in their life than before; just as Russell expresses through we need to entertain our situation with doubts from experience. The cons of doubt are that you may miss out on something great just because there is so much doubt in your mind. A clear example of the pro of doubt is in a situation with Elizabeth in The Crucible, where she doubts John is a faithful man to her due to experiences in the past that is why she has her doubts. Her doubts are correct because she finds out that he had lusted for Abigail, his mistress. That only goes to show doubt can lead to something that’ll allow for the truth to come out. As for the cons the worst thing for a peron to do is doubt themselves so much they let something so great slip away from them. That something could be a high paying job thatd only come around once I a life time and if that person doubts that they would be good enough to do that job then they would only lose such a great chance to be successful all because of doubt. Doubt in someone’s life could easily change it in a good or bad way.
The differences between doubt and certainty aren’t all the great when you look at the pros and the cons of both of them. They’ll both equally alter a person’s life. That alteration whether it is good or bad depends solemnly on the direction in which that person chooses for themselves. Phelps and Russell were both correct in the since that you can’t be successful without a little bit of both doubt and certainty in mind, because they go hand in hand with each other.