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Explain This #1: Belief vs. Knowledge
Explain This #1: Belief vs. Knowledge
Note: This is a challenge thread. For reference to what this is about, click here.

Basically, I ask a question or a set of questions in the OP, and you try to come up with your best answer to the question(s). While each member is allowed just one attempt per thread, your answer can span more than one post. As part of the game, give kudos to any post that you believe is a great answer to the question (you decide for yourself which posts deserve your kudos, but try to be sparing with your provision of kudos points). A week or two from now, answers will be evaluated based on the number of kudos given to each post. The answer with the most kudos given will be declared the best answer. In case of a tie, all the equally top answers will be declared best answers.

Not all attempts will be evaluated, however. I will use some judgement and discount any answer that is clearly not a serious answer or that is clearly not the member's work. Obviously, I can't make any one of you play by the rules of the game, but I want to see how this all turns out. So think of this as a trial thread of some sort.

Now, for the topic question:

What is the difference between belief and knowledge? Does one say they know the sun will rise tomorrow, or can they only reasonably say they believe the sun will rise tomorrow? Is there even a difference? I find this a little confusing. Please explain.
RE: Explain This #1: Belief vs. Knowledge
I'd say a belief is a choice among options, while knowledge, whether you are right or wrong about the thing you "know," is singular: you do not think there is another sensible choice with regard to the thing you know.
RE: Explain This #1: Belief vs. Knowledge
Belief correlates with what we wish things to be, knowledge correlates with what is. Lemme 'splain.

I do a lot of woodwork.  In many cases, I've processed the wood myself from harvesting to finished product.  As a result of this, I know that trees are made of wood.  I might believe them to be made of cheese, chalk, or chocolate, but such a belief wouldn't qualify as knowledge, since it doesn't correlate with what trees are actually made of.

As to the 'sun coming up tomorrow' example, there is something epistemologists call 'the reasonable expectation of results'.  All of my life, the sun has risen in the east.  Even when I haven't witnessed it, I have reliable reports that it has risen in the east.  Ever single human being in the history of our species who has taken the time to comment on this mentions that the sun rises in the east, and does so on a daily basis.  With such overwhelming evidence, it would be perverse to hold any other position.  This, 'the sun will rise tomorrow' qualifies as a statement of knowledge.  Statements such as 'the sun will not rise tomorrow' or 'the sun will rise in the west' are expressions of belief, since such expectations are neither reasonable nor supported by observation and evidence.

‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
RE: Explain This #1: Belief vs. Knowledge
Belief is a faith based position which requires no evidence to justify it. A belief can actually be true though without any evidence for it it remains just a belief. Knowledge is a fact based position
Facts by definition are non falsifiable which makes the knowledge in question objectively true. Belief cannot be demonstrated. Knowledge can. That is the fundamental difference between them

Sometimes the word believe is used as a synonym for think so does not mean believe in the faith sense. That is the only context in which I use the word. For example : I  believe it will rain tomorrow
is exactly the same as saying : I think it will rain tomorrow. Unlike the faith based definition of belief however there will be a justifiable reason for saying this such as the weather forecast for example
RE: Explain This #1: Belief vs. Knowledge
Oooh!  My specialist subject!  Yay!

No doubt others can provide the fillysofical definition of 'knowledge' as "justified, true belief" and that's all well and good but it doesn't reduce well to the operational (brain chemistry) level.

Here are some 'best practice' definitions that work pretty well in practice (not just theory):

Data is quantitative... defined as numbers, characters, strings of characters, images or other sensory input ...  the conversion of  physical quantities into symbols, in a very broad sense.

Information is defined as a message received and understood. In terms of data, it can be defined as a collection of facts from which conclusions may be drawn.

Knowledge can be defined as information combined with experience, context, interpretation and reflection.
My preferred shorthand for this comes from a friend of mine who 'wrote the book' on information security... "Knowledge is actionable information."

Wisdom is defined as the ability to make correct judgements and decisions.
Thus it encompasses 'governance' ("doing the right things; doing things right").

Given that governance requires cognitive abilities i.e. comprehension but management does not (it requires competence), wisdom happens at the VM level that we call 'consciousness'.  

Knowledge does not require comprehension but does require pattern recognition and memory.

Here's a useful pic:

[Image: dikw.jpg]

Data, Information and Knowledge can be stored / automated.  Wisdom can not.

When wisdom can be automated ... yeah... Skynet and shit!  Sad

Note that 'Belief' does not appear in the diagram.  That's because it's irrelevant to information management.  However, a baseline (previously authorised version / state of affairs / model of reality) stored in memory is required to help assess risk; do cost/benefit analysis etc.

So it's quite easy to see a 'set of beliefs' as forming the baseline from which decisions can be made.  

If this baseline is fluid (easy to change) then the organism or organisation can adapt quickly to new stimuli / data.  An example being Scientists using the scientific method to continually update the best models (theories).

If the baseline is rigid it becomes a filter that does not allow new data to enter the system if that data contradicts existing 'beliefs'. Then, y'know, entropy in a closed system and stuff.

In a rigid belief-system (or policy system, at the superstructure level) if new data/information does penetrate but does not fit existing models ... then ... cognitive dissonance i.e. alarm bells ring.

Therefore, 'a belief' could be described as a component of said baseline (set of beliefs or policies).  The whole baseline could be said to be 'one's perspective' or 'worldview' or in another context, 'company policies', "the way we do things around here" or 'law'.

Here's another DIKW diagram that I rather like:

[Image: image.png]

The four main human memory systems:
- Cultural memory (traditions etc.)
- Central Nervous System
- Immune System
... all feed into this process.

Note that wisdom, though, only occurs for creatures who have uploaded the consciousness App.  

Thumb up
The PURPOSE of life is to replicate our DNA ................. (from Darwin)
The MEANING of life is the experience of living ... (from Frank Herbert)
The VALUE of life is the legacy we leave behind ..... (from observation)
RE: Explain This #1: Belief vs. Knowledge
^^^^^ /thread
If you get to thinking you’re a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else’s dog around.
RE: Explain This #1: Belief vs. Knowledge
[Image: i3.png]
RE: Explain This #1: Belief vs. Knowledge
There is no such thing as knowledge. We believe in everything. We describe something as knowledge as soon as it is too unlikely that it will not happen.
What is it you most dislike? Stupidity, especially in its nastiest forms of racism and superstition.” 

~ Christopher Hitchens
RE: Explain This #1: Belief vs. Knowledge
I know the sun is shining ineffectually, and it's fucking cold out. No belief needed.
 The granting of a pardon is an imputation of guilt, and the acceptance a confession of it. 

RE: Explain This #1: Belief vs. Knowledge
To believe something is to be able to announce a statement even to yourself in your own head when no one else is looking, and you 100% honestly mean that statement sincerely. Thus, you will act on it whether someone is around or not. Because all belief is genuine (if you don't genuinely believe something then you don't believe it at all) and genuine behavior therefore follows belief.

Knowledge is justified true belief. You have to believe something, that something has to be true... and you can't just be right about it by sheer accident.

The so-called Gettier problem involves an analogy that is supposed to illustrate cases where even JTB isn't knowledge. However, it simply commits the equivocation fallacy. JTB is knowledge.

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