9. Testing authority. We need authority as well as logic. But we need logic to test our authorities.
We need authorities because no individual can discover everything autonomously. We all do in fact rely on the human community, and therefore on the authority of others—parents, teachers, textbooks, “experts,” friends, history, and tradition—for a surprisingly large portion of what we know—perhaps up to 99%, if it can be quantified. And that is another reason we need logic: we need to have good reasons for believing our authorities, for in the end it is you the individual who must decide which authorities to trust. It is obviously foolish to buy from every peddler of ideas that knocks on your mind’s door. In fact, it is impossible, because they often contradict each other. [Adapted from Kreeft, Socratic Logic]