A handful of us are fully engaged in the blogging process; the rest need to join in.
Some glitch prevents me from commenting on Clara's very challenging post, so here is a reply. In class I suggested an analogy between the following arguments:
1) Socrates in Phaedo suggests that we are likely to live better lives if we hold to a good hope that "this, or something like this, is true..." (my emphasis). The background is aporia -- we do not know what if anything happens after death, but since we have no choice but to operate on some assumption or other, the claim is that we need to make a careful, hopeful choice.
2) To illustrate how an argument like this might work, I suggested that even climate change skeptics should support conversion to renewable energy, since in the absence of absolute, a priori knowledge about the climate (but good reason to think something is going on), the economic cost of transition is quite small, and there are enormous potential benefits even if climate science is mistaken.
The analogy is inexact, of course. The latter argument sounds a bit more like a Pascalian bargain than does Socrates', so doesn't fully capture what I take to be its force. Hence the Gandhian argument:
3) Gandhi urges that we not be discouraged from taking action, even though (for all we know) our efforts may come to nothing. My gloss on this is that persisting in the absence of certainty is wise because it leaves open the possibility of having a good effect, whereas allowing ourselves to be discouraged guarantees, in a self-fulfilling way, that nothing we do matters.
All of these arguments have difficulties. We can reasonably ask whether it is true that living our lives in the hopeful expectation of an afterlife is actually healthy (we seem to need some limits on what counts as a 'good hope'), and we can wonder, as Clara does, whether the manner of the transition to renewables might be hijacked for another agenda. We can even ask about Gandhi's assumptions concerning what constitutes a good action. These are legitimate questions. But at issue is the possibility that there is a non-fallacious role for the fact of incomplete knowledge, in a context where we must make a consequential choice.