Is belief a condition of knowledge? | INFJ Forum

Is belief a condition of knowledge?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by AUM, Aug 27, 2010.

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  1. AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    I'm taking epistemology this semester, and although I would not usually say this to a philosophy class, I hate it. And there's this specific question that has been driving me nuts mainly because Richard Feldman(the writer of our textbook) is asserting which is "in order to have knowledge, there must be belief", I don't quite agree with his statement and here's why:

    For the past three years I've considered myself to be an agnostic atheist. Agnosticism and atheism are two different concepts, one is about belief and the other about knowledge. I don't think that there is sufficient evidence to approve or disapprove the existence of a god, therefore that makes me an agnostic. However, from looking at various religions and their gospels plus all their reasoning behind the existence of a god, I personally don't believe in any of their claims.



    If Mr. Feldman was correct with his statement that knowledge requires belief, then that would imply that both are inseparable from one another. But my case is that you don't need belief in order to have knowledge. For example, lets look at the statement " I believe my name is X" vs. " I know my name is X". To me, there are quite different statements. They have different "intensities" of assertion that make one more true than the other.

    Any thoughts?
     
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  2. Wyote

    Wyote Meka Istaqa
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    My college philosophy teacher had a phrase he liked to pull out when things like this verged on the ridiculous.

    I believe in peanut butter! He would say, which is an absurd statement, which proves the point that something does not have to be believed in order to exist. Peanut butter exists, in some philosphical manner whether you believe it or not.
     
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    AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    Haha, yeah, it's one of those things that make me want to pull my hair for sometimes. Of course, there are also good arguments that proves that in order to know something, you need to believe it. But to say that that's the truth of it all is just absurd.
     
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  4. Gaze

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    Yeah, pretty much.
     
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  5. Wyote

    Wyote Meka Istaqa
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    And anyway, concerning epistemology - a much more interesting topic is whether any knowledge can be obtained a priori or a posteriori.

    Oh how I do love philosophy <3
     
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    AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    An a priori claim: I know the sun will come out tomorrow.

    Can you really know that?

    Epistemology sounds to me like nothing is knowable, and everything you take for granted are mere illusions. There's something so pessimistic in all of that, yet so intriguing. Lets see how it goes
     
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  7. deadred

    deadred Community Member

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    Isn't it really the other way around? Belief requires knowledge, in my mind, or it's little more than vague supposition. This is how I see it: information>knowledge>understanding> wisdom, and then belief. According to The Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy, the definition of epistemology is:
    "Defined narrowly, epistemology is the study of knowledge and justified belief. As the study of knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the following questions: What are the necessary and sufficient conditions of knowledge? What are its sources? What is its structure, and what are its limits? As the study of justified belief, epistemology aims to answer questions such as: How we are to understand the concept of justification? What makes justified beliefs justified? Is justification internal or external to one's own mind? Understood more broadly, epistemology is about issues having to do with the creation and dissemination of knowledge in particular areas of inquiry".
    I would put epistemology into Google and about the 3rd or 4th entry you will find the article that outlines this and discusses the concepts.
     
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  8. Wyote

    Wyote Meka Istaqa
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    That is a false a priori claim, unless you know the future.

    The sun is shining outside right now is a better example. I am inside.
     
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    AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    I would say that understanding would come before knowledge because you could have all the information in your hands but if you don't understand it, then how could it become knowledge?

    Or how do you see it?
     
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    AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    I always thought that a priori claims always involved some sort of deductive reasoning that are not backed up by facts.


    You can actually verify that the sun is shining outside and it will instead be an posteriori assumption, wouldn't it?

    However, if I say that the sun is going to come out tomorrow, there will be no way of knowing if that's true or not. I'm deducing that it will because it always has, and I have no reason to doubt that it wouldn't tomorrow.

    I may be wrong, but I'm still learning about this stuff lol
     
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  11. deadred

    deadred Community Member

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    How can you understand something before you have the data (knowledge) in front of you? This is what a priori means...it is logically impossible to draw legitimate conclusions about phenomena until you can obtain the knowledge and understanding of the data. Logical analysis of any concept requires you make obvservations first and then sort the logic out. The subjective is indeed discussable and pertinent., but that isn't the point quite yet.
     
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  12. Wyote

    Wyote Meka Istaqa
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    Well it is debateble. I don't consider it knowledge nor do I find it as interesting, since you don't know the future. I can't see the Sun, so it's a priori until I go check. Even still, maybe the Sun has been replaced by an alien mother ship, how can I prove or disprove this?

    Maybe the Sun has always been an alien ship, I mean we've never actually been to the core have we? Should I believe scientists who claim it's "just a star" or do I need to fly up there and take a look to be certain? =)

    It's like what deadred is talking about. It's all about what is justifiable. I may believe the Sun is a mothership, but is that really a justifiable claim?
     
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  13. deadred

    deadred Community Member

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    Hey Wyote, I apologize for not PMing you and will probably do so this evening. It's finally cooled down here in Ft. Smith and I'm ready to watch the Hogs kick some major ass this season. I enjoy your points in discussions, and look forward to some interesting conversations with you! Rick (deadred)
     
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  14. OP
    AUM

    AUM The Romantic Scientist

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    Data:



    Data is not knowledge. You could be given lots of data, but that doesn't mean that you understand it. Information is the data. For example, when you get a burn because you placed your hands on the stove, that burn is the data(information) that travels to your brain that tells you that putting your hands on the stove resulted in you getting burned(understanding). A combination of those two inputs resulted in knowledge of what not to do the next time you see a fire.

    And I'm getting so confused with your definition of what a priori means. According to some sources, a priori assumptions are "known independent of experience" in where you don't have to make any experiments or observations to assume something to be true.

    Maybe you could talk about that a bit more if you have time.
     
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    #14 AUM, Aug 27, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2010
  15. deadred

    deadred Community Member

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    Seeker, let's start with this: Say you have a giant pile of nuts, bolts, tires, a gas tank, wheels, etc, etc, that is like data. It's nothing but a pile of whatever until you put it together. The pile of parts is like information (data) in a sense because you have to analyze it and put it all together. As you go through this process, the information (data) becomes understanding as you learn how the parts fit together and how everything works. Put it together and you have a car. So data has evolved into knowledge and then into understanding. You can drive it, but you need to learn the laws and rules of the road to drive legally and safely. This is where understanding becomes wisdom over time.
    Think of "a priori" as "without facts". It is really drawing conclusions without obtaining critical data and doing a logical analysis of that data (information).
     
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  16. birdshit

    birdshit Newbie

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    without reading the rest of the thread, i'll say this

    personally i don't see how i can claim something isn't true when i can see it with my own eyes, when it's been confirmed by evidence which has been proven reliable, etc. knowing something requires it to be consistent with the rest of what i know as objective reality. because perception is subjective i can not know for sure that what i know as "objective" is truly so, but i believe it's possible to know something within the confines of my subjective perception of "objective" reality, and that's far enough to say that i can know something while accepting that i can't be certain i know it objectively. basically, absolute knowledge isn't possible but uncertain knowledge is, and that's good enough for most of us as mere human beings. (geez, does this make any sense)

    in order to know something, don't you have to believe it is true? not as a cause and effect thing. it's like more of an "if x and y are both true, then z is true." x is belief, y is evidence/proof, and z is "knowledge"-- not absolute, as it's impossible for it to be.

    i don't know where the quote's from, but so far it makes some sense to me. /lolsemantics
     
  17. Faye

    Faye ^_^
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    Belief is a condition of knowledge in the sense that there must be belief in order to contrast with knowledge or else both words become meaningless. At least, that is the linguistic interpretation.

    Beyond that, I have no clue.
     
  18. NeverAmI

    NeverAmI Satisclassifaction
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    Ah but the question isn't whether it exists, but whether you know it exists. So in order for you to know, you would have to acknowledge its existence, in other words, believe it exists.
     
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