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.