Is knowledge also a belief?

Well, tried and proven is only good until it is tried and proven wrong. In so much as it lasts, it lasts. See the “knowledge” of Newtonian physics as well. But not all knowledge can be tried… but can be proven. But then again, what is proof is merely a matter of convincing, ultimately? Many people think beliefs are proven. The religion of Christianity is true, because it’s been proved by the Bible. But So we do have a problem of proper justification for knowledge.

But I agree with your sentiment overall -I wouldn’t want to think we must consider knowledge true due to the impossibility of having an all knowing objective view of whatever knowledge we are referring to. There are proper justifications that can be laid out for each individual piece of knowledge. How do we know 1+1 = 2, how do we know the earth revolves around the sun, what justification is required for each. It’s hard if not impossible to find a rule here for all knowledge, to consider that the rule that makes it knowledge.

I think the right way to do it is to come to a hypothesis before they come to conclusion. If a scientist comes to a conclusion before they have verified their conclusion, then it leaves open confirmation bias, interpreting data to correlate to your preconceived conclusion. Anyone who does that, isn’t thinking properly. A hypothesis ought not be believed, it ought to be verified.


This is certainly true. I suppose that this is why some things are called theories - and not actual proven facts though they may point to being more “real” than less real.
I suppose that there also have to be kind of leaps of faith in science despite the fact of being that it has been shown that some things proven have at some point become unproven.

You mean proven up to a point? For example?

That’s not proof. Being convinced of something without facts is not proof. It may just be wishful thinking or illusion.

Well, I suppose that we can say that many “beliefs” ultimately become proven - until they’re

The religion of Christianity can only be subjective truth or religious belief. How can it even be proven? Some of it is historical truth, I suppose.
Anyway, what is it you are saying is true about Christianity aside from the fact that it is a religion.
The truth of it can only really be based on the good that comes of it, the behavior on the part of Christians. But still, that doesn’t make it real. It just makes it perhaps a better religion than one which chooses to do harm.

Not if we take the scientific method and even then we can fail.

Put up one finger, then put up another finger. How many does that make? 2 - of course. But we can only trust in that if we are to trust that those who created the concept of 1+1 = 2 were correct. lol
As for the other, we look for all of the evidence which has been gathered, think about it and judge it to be right or wrong.
Some things we really do have to go on faith for, trusting that the scientists know what they are doing. We ask questions about them and examine them.

Sometimes we have to just be agnostic and skeptical about things, delaying making a judgment on things and delaying the
gratification of “knowing”. We have to learn to live in negative capability. It can also be great fun in not knowing where we truly cannot know and in wondering and questioning.

“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy”. …"
said Shakespeare.
We have a far, far way to go…

Yes, but there does have to be a form of belief in something to begin with, scientifically speaking. But that’s not the hypothesis. The hypothesis is the information ladder or all of the little points, kind of like pointillism lol which begin to make the verifying of a theory more substantial and “real” - like evolution.

Could you clarify which definition you’re referring to? OP provided five definitions, from only one source (Webster).

And I’ve yet to understand your evidence for that claim. Is it principally that people tend to use the word belief to indicate uncertainty, or a statement that they emotionally support with insufficient evidence?

How about the following:
As far as I know, the shop is open until midnight.
He denies it to my face, but I just know he’s having an affair!
You know me, I have an eye for the ladies.

All I can really address is: “I contest that belief is never justified. I contest that belief is not a step towards knowledge. I contest that understanding, logic and reason is the prerequisite for knowledge. Once that is obtained, a state of knowing “becomes”. I don’t agree that it is a state of “believing”.”

Belief is not claimed to be a step towards knowledge. The claim you’re trying to fight is that belief is a supercategory of knowledge, not an ingredient. Understanding, logic and reason can (and usually do) also form beliefs. If you come home from work and see your brother’s car in the driveway and hear a male voice singing in the garage, do you not use the three of them to form a belief about who’s in there?

My impression is that you seem to have sanctified some things as “knowledge” in order to dismiss everything else as “not-knowledge”.

Capital of China? Population of the US? Geographical distribution of polar bears? Your mother’s maiden name?

It was one of the five; my point (also below) is that you seem to be doing the conflating.

I don’t think your claim about attitude is sufficient to conclude that epistemologists realise there’s a difference. As I said earlier, I think we use the verbs “know” and “believe” in different ways.

Sam Harris makes the claim that the brain handles facts and moral values identically, and concludes that they’re one and the same and therefore we can assess moral values as facts. The arguments he makes are all kinds of muddleheaded, but the research he did seems to indicate that mentally we treat facts and values identically. I don’t have a link, it’s in his Moral Landscape book, but I think Google can show a range of links that give a good picture (and hopefully critique).

You explicitly conflate the two in your OP, where I quoted it.

I think that’s a poor rule of thumb. An atheist who gets upset at his children being taught creationism in science class has lost the debate?

Well, conceptual logic - a priori analytic knowledge.

Unless you’re referring to logical necessity - tautologies - but I contest even that it still rests upon convincing. If nobody is there to understand a proof, what good is it? If they deny, what good is it? How is it proof? It all comes down to acceptance.

Sure, as such, knowledge isn’t necessarily truth. But not everything falls under able to undergo the scientific method, particularly philosophy and knowledge from philosophy.

I don’t think we have to go on faith. If you want to fine, that’s your decision. Can it be part of a justification for knowledge? Maybe, in fact, it is. But it isn’t necessarily faith - its understanding the system of science for example, what it entails, making sure you understand the explanations. Not knowing more than what you can know, so as such, not knowing if certain things that scientists say are true. I have no idea about the double slit theory myself. I wouldn’t say I know the double slit experiment was done properly, because I don’t understand how it could be. Because I don’t understand quantum mechanics well enough to consider it knowledge. Now on the other hand, I never mapped the stars, but would consider it knowledge that the earth revolves around the sun, because I understand how and why that must be the case.

Sure I would say that should happen more often than not. “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure, and the intelligent are full of doubt”

Well put

I disagree… even a fledgling hypothesis is well enough. No belief needed. I would say that it still causes problem to believe in a conclusion before you know the conclusion. Keep an open mind - as it should be, because believing a conclusion before you know isn’t logical. It’s more intelligent to instead understand that you do not know and that believing it to be true may cause confirmation bias.

1a: to have a firm religious faith b: to accept something as true, genuine, or real

I will add that wisdom is knowing when you do not know. Not believing something is true, leaving your mind open to possibilities instead of shutting it with belief as true. My previous justification is in my OP here:

The use of know here seems synonymous with belief, a different sense from what I pointed here:
in that knowledge is: Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning. Knowledge can refer to a theoretical or practical understanding of a subject.

Those examples above look more like beliefs, aside from the third one, which someone may know they have an “eye” for the ladies, whoever they are referring to. Indeterminate whether that is knowledge or not. Essentially, claiming knowledge isn’t the same as having knowledge.

I agree - some others here think otherwise however. Or I am under the wrong impression of their thoughts on this matter.

No, not my intent. I don’t want to dismiss everything else at not knowledge. I would say we have belief, opinion, knowledge and truth. 4 separate distinct categories. It’s for the sake of clarity, and not classifying everything under belief when all we do is find ways that its different. So why categorize it that way when every aspect of it is different? I didn’t go into the opinion and truth matter yet - that is to come in a greater thesis more in depth than this trial presented here.

Why would you think I can’t empirically justify my knowledge of the capital of China and my mothers maiden name? I wouldn’t claim knowledge on the exact population of the US - nor would I claim knowledge on the geographical distribution of polar bears, only in mere generalities of what “we” - we as the human species - know.

Sure, that’s fine. I do note there is disagreement to be found in epistemology, I am on one side, which is the minority I would suspect. You may be on another. A more in depth analysis is needed from both as far as I’m concerned, as nobody has proven that there is no difference in the matter of attitude.

Does he now? That’s fascinating. I have said time and time again that morality is based on values, but could not agree that we handle them identically. I think subtle nuances are lost for the sake of generalities. I don’t like generalities so much. In so much as anywhere there is a rule, we seem to have an uncanny ability as humans to break them. Not the rule of logic though :wink: I will have to include this in my thesis and will take note of that. It seems pretty evident one would break ones moral code for the sake of a greater value that isn’t necessarily moral in itself. For example, would we lie to get a teenager grounded for 3 days, in order to get 1 million dollars? Perhaps. 1 year? Maybe 1 billion dollars. Is it a matter of morality to desire money in order to break a moral code? But would we lie if there was no value outside of morality to find? I wouldn’t necessarily think so. Of course, I have more research to do as a result of all the posts here, this is a trial run to see what questions would come up, what I need to answer before I present this elsewhere and questions are asked. In a good these of course, you want to answer the rebuttals before someone gets to rebuttal :wink:

Sorry I was being sarcastic - I wasn’t “making fun of”. I was sarcastically claiming that someone who gets their beliefs questioned can see it as being made fun of.

Getting angry at how people are being indoctrinated is different than getting angry for someone questioning your knowledge. I think there’s a difference, of course its not some absolute truth here, just a general notion that seems to have some efficacy.

Of course it is! The former justifies your anger in a circumstance, the latter condemns other people’s anger in the exact same circumstance.

Not the same, beliefs aren’t knowledge though :slight_smile:

If one has reason and understanding on their side, there’s no need to rise to anger over “questioning” or criticism of ones stance. Would you get mad if someone told you 1+1=4? I wouldn’t. I would chuckle inside, or feel sorry for them, because I know better. If you get angry over something like that, it would seem… immature.

1.)“Belief is the state of mind in which a person thinks something to be the case, with or without there being empirical evidence to prove that something is the case with factual certainty.”

Yes. Whether or not a person has empirical evidence to prove what they believe, if they think something is the case, they believe it. 

2.)“In other words, belief is when someone thinks something is reality, true, when they have no absolute verified foundation for their certainty of the truth or realness of something”

There is no way in hell 2.) is ‘in other words’ of 1.). The first one explicitly states that a belief is a belief WITH OR WITHOUT evidence to prove something with factual certainty, the second one states a belief only when no such foundation exists. Also, why are you introducing ‘certainty’ into the second clause? You’re contradicting yourself, or writing in an extremely imprecise way here.

As far as I’m aware empirical evidence can never prove anything with factual certainty…but of course I don’t know how you’re privately using the terms ‘prove’ or ‘factual certainty’. But, that aside, yes this would be a sort of belief- a justified belief.

I haven’t seen anybody here argue that belief with certainty isn’t experienced differently than belief without certainty. Just as, again, being in a swimming pool with a middling-size trout is experienced very differently from being in a swimming book with a very large shark. They’re both still fish.

Right. But that’s just a definitional difference, which makes it biographical. All this tells us is that WWW_III_ANGRY chooses to use his words in a way somewhat different from the rest of us. It’s not an argument that the way you’re using them is more correct, or that anybody else ought to follow your pattern. “I would say a fish is a finned vertebrate that lives in the water, without jaws or teeth large enough to deliver an injurious bite”. See how that’s not an argument? The only possible response is “How strange it is that Ucci defines ‘fish’ that way!” You’re taking the definition of ‘belief’ the rest of us have, and adding a new condition to it just to exclude some of the things the rest of us are used to calling ‘beliefs’. Why? I see no reason other than your affection for statements like “I have no beliefs”.

Later in that same paragraph:

“But belief is a necessary condition for knowledge. (Bencivegna, 1999) Knowledge is acquired by deriving beliefs from other beliefs (foundation beliefs).”

Indeed, I agree there is in no way 1) is in other words 2)

Interesting isn’t it? I didn’t write it though. That was from wikipedia “belief” link, I forgot to add the link.

I wanted to show the disagreement and or confusion that exists in what belief is, as opposed to someone having some all holy definition that must be used.

You’d think you’d be past reason-less assertions after pages of this already how I explained why they are not. Rebut why I said they are not - instead of making another assertion. Poor form man.

I wasn’t talking about belief with certainty here and belief without certainty here.

Different from the rest of us? Again, the sense I used is not different from the rest of us, it might be different from epistemology’s typical usage, but it’s a common usage, it’s straight out of Merriam Webster.
I do provide reason why a term of knowledge as a type of belief wouldn’t be correct, not that any definition of belief is “incorrect”. It seems you’re getting confused with the direction of the thesis here. I am not adding a new condition to belief, I’m analyzing it and its implications, its attitude, with reason.

Yes, and I disagree with the rest of that paragraph, as do others.

Yes, the part of the wikipedia article that limits the definition to ‘belief’ to circumstances when a person doesn’t have proof or certainty is wrong, just as you are wrong when you assert things like that.

There’s little to rebut. All you are doing is making bald assertions- as virtually everybody who has came to this thread, as well as the people who argued with you on Reddit about this same damned thing- have all tried to point out to you. You aren’t arguing for anything. You’re merely ASSERTING that belief and knowledge ought to be defined on the basis of the attitude that accompanies them. For the third fucking time, that is no different than merely asserting ‘fish’ and ‘sharks’ should be defined by how hard they can bite. “Sharks bite harder than trout” is not an argument that ‘fish’ should be defined by bite strength. “Knowledge feels different than unjustified belief” isn’t an argument that belief should be defined by corresponding attitude.

I’ve given you arguments that your definitions are poor over and over and over again, and every time I do it, you simply copy-paste my words without replying to them except for a two-sentence summary that ignores the actual argument. And I’m not the only one you did it to- you did the same damn thing to Moreno. You did the same damn thing to Omar in the guns and God thread. So stop demanding people to give you detailed rebuttals when you show no signs of having read the damn things when they do.

Your classifications sucks because 1.) It’s arbitrary, like my ‘sharks aren’t fish’ example. It sucks because 2.) It leaves us without a word for the broad class of ‘thinking a thing is true’ situations that knowledge and belief are both obviously members of. It sucks because 3.) There is absolutely nothing wrong with the current way that we classify these things. It sucks because 4.) claiming that beliefs are inherently unfounded leaves us needing yet another new term to refer to justified beliefs that don’t rise to the standard of knowledge. Last but not least, it sucks because 5.) It’s an transparent attempt on your part to import imprecise language from New Atheist propaganda, so you can reserve ‘belief’ as a term of denigration for ideas you don’t like.

All of these have been brought up to you by myself and others. All of these have you ignored. Why ask for rebuttals when we both know you won’t address them?

A person can’t refute a biographical note about yourself, and that’s all “I choose to use words in non-standard ways” is. Merriam Webster and dictionaries in general are nearly useless when defining a field’s vernacular. General use of a term is not vernacular use. “Belief” means something in philosophical vernacular. You are having a philosophical conversation, so yes, you are using the term differently from the rest of us.

No, you didn’t. You stated your biographical prefence to define these things according to accompanying attitude. That is not a reason the current categorization is incorrect, anymore than stating “Sharks are big and scary” is a reason for declaring sharks aren’t fish.

You’ve declare that knowledge isn’t belief, and belief can never be justified. These are both either bullshit claims, or examples of you declaring your intention to talk funny. Neither of them are analysis.

Yes, and I disagree with the rest of that paragraph, as do others.
Yes, that’s right, you cited a very small portion of a paper to make it seem like it agreed with you when in fact it does not.

Wiki’s “second statement” is misleading, but not untrue. It is misleading because it infers a definition of “belief” when it is actually providing only an example (a common mistake of people who cannot think for themselves).

A belief is not defined as [list]“belief is when someone thinks something is reality, true, when they have no absolute verified foundation for their certainty of the truth or realness of something.”[/list:u]
But immediately after the definitional statement, the article author preceded that sentiment with the phrase “In other words…”. The second statement should have been extended to say, “In other words, … when they have no absolute verification … as well as when they do”,
because that is what the first definitional statement actually said and what is the accepted definition of the conept “belief”.

I am not so certain that is true.

To acknowledge that ones beliefs are knowledge requires that they believe the knowledge is true. But a person can memorize the instructions for building a device without actually believing that the instructions are true or memorize the construct of anatomy without believing the construct to be accurate (how else could one get through college). One can understand (and thus “have knowledge of”) what someone else has proposed as truth without believing it to be true. Christian hating atheists are always claiming that they know what Christianity is all about, what Christians think, and why they are evil. They claim knowledge of Christian belief. But that doesn’t mean that they believe what they think that they know about.

That raises an interesting point, James. Do you think “I believe that X” and “I believe that “X is true” is true” are two different propositions? In other words, does a person both know a thing, and ALSO believe that his knowledge is accurate?

Of course the extent to which you claim to believe that something is true is very much the same thing as the extent to which you claim to know that something is true in that you either are or not able to demonstrate that all rational men and women are obligated to believe and to know this too.

But in order to really explore this more substantively you have to be willing to point to an actual context and note in particular what you claim to believe or know is true about it.

I merely suggest that there seem to be things that philosophers can demonstrate to be true for all of us and things that they cannot.

In particular, things relating to conflicting value judgments.

Well I agree

I’m not sure what you aren’t so certain of what is true here.

Well, your premise “To acknowledge that ones beliefs are knowledge” is shown here and is against everything I have been arguing against in this thread. It would be reasonable to provide reason why belief’s are knowledge aside from subjective categorization, after all, what philosophy has done is separate it time and time again while clinging to that categorization. The rest of what you say though is a method to minimize risk here and I agree with that method, that being the risk of believing.

So I found this from Sam Harris - is this what you are referring to? But this seems to be just another injunction on separation of belief and knowledge (as belief. ) … ne.0007272

Which states in the conclusion:

“While religious and nonreligious thinking deferentially engage broad regions of the frontal, parietal, and medial temporal lobes, the difference between belief and disbelief appears to be content-independent. Our study compares religious thinking with ordinary cognition and, as such, constitutes a step toward developing a neuropsychology of religion. However, these findings may also further our understanding of how the brain accepts statements of all kinds to be valid descriptions of the world.”

I think you were referring to something else though.

Please just think about it:


Knowledge is understanding, facts, information or skills acquired by a person… So no, I do not believe knowledge is believing.