Knowledge is not a kind of belief, II (or, belief is not the genus of knowledge, part II)

-If belief is the genus of knowledge, then to know something means to believe it. But I know things by simple apprehension that I do not believe: I know the word “rose” but I don’t believe the word rose- to use belief in this way is a error in syntax- like saying “I campaign the word rose”.

-An adequate description includes the genus of a thing. But the adequate description of knowledge does not include the genus belief, for knowledge is to be another as other; whereas belief connotes assent or trust, not being another as other.

-If knowledge is a kind of belief, then the synonyms of knowledge and belief should have the same relation. But awareness is a synonym for knowledge, and trust or confidence is a synonym for belief. But awareness is not a kind of confidence or trust.

-Another point can be made if it is pointed out that sense knowledge is knowledge: for many animals can sense, but belief of disbelief only seems to belong to human beings. Besides this it is wrong to say that smelling something is believing it.

1 Comment

  1. Jeff G said,

    October 30, 2006 at 7:35 pm

    As I intimated in the previous post, nobody denies that one can have know-of (knowledge by acquaintance) or know-how without belief, for the mere reason that such objects of knowledge are not propositional in nature.

    Know-that, however, is a species of belief.

    So, yes you are right, but in a way in which nobody has ever really disagreed.

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