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Metaphorical line between knowledge and belief ?

  1. Apr 4, 2010 #1
    metaphorical line between "knowledge" and "belief"?

    where do you draw the metaphorical line between "knowledge" and "belief"? and is there even a difference? Even the best of our scientific knowledge is a series of assumptions based on our observations of our tiny fraction of the universe. these observations are made by the mind of a single species, whose minds have evolved to do little more than survive, and ensure the species continued existence. who are we to judge what is "real"?
     
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  3. Apr 4, 2010 #2
    Re: knowledge/belief

    Well just letting you know, this topic has come to these forums many times before. So don't take it too personally if a couple people tend to be more 'aggressive' towards you then you expect.

    It is a good question to think about though.

    I'd recommend you set out what your terms mean though, like 'belief' and 'knowledge'. To me it seems like when you talk about 'belief' you actually mean 'faith', I'm not sure though.

    EDIT: For instance in my mind this is closer to the definition of belief:
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/belief/

    In which case whatever the belief is, is a 'form' of knowledge, so to speak, but it's not exactly synonomous with the word knowledge.
     
  4. Apr 4, 2010 #3
    Re: knowledge/belief

    No. The best of our scientific knowledge is a series of hypotheses that have provided predictions that could be tested empirically, where the results of those tests prove absolutely 100% in accordance with the predictions.

    The last part of your post appears to be a rehashing of the solipsism position regarding knowledge. All this means, however, is that you need to add a proviso to your knowledge: Assuming x is true, we can know that y is also true. You can build a perfectly sensible, secure and complete foundation for knowledge in this way without needing to resort to the idea that it is 'only a belief'.
     
  5. Apr 4, 2010 #4
    Re: knowledge/belief

    the terms themselves are sort of what i'm questioning, to religious people, their faith is "the truth" and therefore belief is treated as knowledge, to others, it is "just a belief". It's possible i'm just thinking in circles, but it is something I think, should be thought about
     
  6. Apr 4, 2010 #5

    DaveC426913

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    Re: knowledge/belief

    One of the components that often separates the two: testability.

    It is knowledge if an independent entity can repeat the test and corroborate the results.
     
  7. Apr 4, 2010 #6
    Re: knowledge/belief

    I understand what you are trying to say but I don't think it's exactly true to what the OP is asking.

    Scientific knowledge certainly does have to be tested very vigorously not just by an independent entity but by many such entities. However it is still a belief, it's not faith though (in most cases...) Science never sets out to prove things and all things held true in science are all beliefs. They can definitely change though and there is definitely substantial reasoning behind such beliefs. Faith on the other hand is different and I'm not sure if the OP is asking to distinguish faith or just belief and knowledge.

    A belief is just something that is held as true and the 'attitude' that goes along with accepting that it is true. I do believe that the world orbits around the sun, that is a belief... it is also knowledge though.

    The reason I said earlier that belief is not synonomous is because you can have knowledge that you hold no beliefs over.
     
  8. Apr 4, 2010 #7

    DaveC426913

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    Re: knowledge/belief

    I don't understand how any of this addresses my point.

    All I'm saying is that knowledge is information that can be retested. A belief is something that would an anathema to retest.
     
  9. Apr 4, 2010 #8
    Re: knowledge/belief

    What about qualia? Are you telling me I don't know how blue looks to me? I do, you know. :smile: It may not be public knowledge, but it is knowledge to me, is it not?
     
  10. Apr 4, 2010 #9

    DaveC426913

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    Re: knowledge/belief

    How do you get that from what I said? How did I imply you didn't know how blue looks?
     
  11. Apr 4, 2010 #10
    Re: knowledge/belief

    Qualia are an example of knowledge that cannot be tested, is all. There is public knowledge and there is private knowledge, and private knowledge is not something that can be tested, let alone retested.

    It's relevant, I think, because religious people will often assert that their religious beliefs are a kind of private knowledge. It can be hard to disabuse them of this notion because such a thing as private knowledge does exist.
     
  12. Apr 4, 2010 #11
    Re: knowledge/belief

    Beliefs that are accurate or true are said to be knowledge. The problem is, it is impossible to verify anything about the external world to make sure your belief is true. The only type of belief that can be verified is the axiomatic type... we can prove that, given certain rules, 2+2=4. We also may be able to prove certain subjective things, like "I exist."

    "Testability" doesn't help us at all. It is impossible to verify any belief through testing. The notion of verification was abandoned for falsification - the idea that we can't prove things right but we can prove them wrong. Even falsification has been abandoned at this point, since it has been shown that no claim of falsification can be conclusive either.
     
  13. Apr 4, 2010 #12
    Re: knowledge/belief

    Not true, all beliefs regardless of if they can be tested or not are knowledge. People very well do gain knowledge from their religious experiences with out testing it one time.

    Regardless that's not my point at all, my point is that beliefs ARE knowledge and you are making it out to seem like they are two seperate entities. This is just not true, go to the standford page I linked earlier and tell me how you can say that what a person has belief in is not knowledge to that person.
     
  14. Apr 4, 2010 #13
    Re: knowledge/belief

    I recommend Quine's "The Web of Belief" for an answer more in line with what you're asking... how we form beliefs, what we are justified in believing, and also what the difference between belief and knowledge is. It's a good introduction and still 99% relevant.

    https://www.amazon.com/Web-Belief-W-V-Quine/dp/0075536099
     
  15. Apr 4, 2010 #14
    Re: knowledge/belief

    doesn't that mean that the only difference between belief and knowledge is a different point of view?
     
  16. Apr 4, 2010 #15

    DaveC426913

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    Re: knowledge/belief

    So it really comes down to us agreeing on the definition of knowledge. We all seem to have our own definitions.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2010
  17. Apr 4, 2010 #16

    Evo

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    Re: knowledge/belief

    Knowledge doesn't mean it's true. False knowledge is knowledge, it's just worthless if you believe it, even worse, it can be harmful. Perhaps that is what you were inferring?
     
  18. Apr 4, 2010 #17

    DaveC426913

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    Re: knowledge/belief

    No, I was just saying we don't agree on the definition itself of exactly what constitutes knowledge and what does not. Not much point in proceeding unless we can agree on that.
     
  19. Apr 4, 2010 #18
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
  20. Apr 4, 2010 #19
    Re: knowledge/belief

    http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/P059 [Broken]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  21. Apr 4, 2010 #20
    Re: knowledge/belief

    Quite true and this is specifically what I was referring to.

    However the problem is that all beliefs are true by virtue of them being what is believed in. So something being a belief it is necessary thought to be true to that person. This implies that all knowledge is true but knowledge is not true to everyone. This has been what I've said in all my posts the entire time, lol.

    EDIT: Actually I've noticed that they have some counters to what I was thinking about when I had said that it is possible to have knowledge without belief. So maybe I should withdraw that statement :tongue:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2017
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