Faith and knowledge of knowledge

Knowledge is either (a) known to be in oneself or (b) imputed to another. Knowledge is thus a quasi-genus with subset (a) being knowledge and (b) being faith or trust. Examples of (b) are asking someone where the bathroom is and believing he knows what he’s talking about or trusting that your algebra teacher knows who to cancel.

So faith is in one sense opposed to knowledge as its contrary and in another sense it is a subset or species of it. This sort of thing happens all the time: dog is sometimes used as the opposite of puppy even while we say that a puppy is a dog; by coffee we usually mean something other than the beans even while we call the beans coffee. The distinction in play here seems to be that faith is what we might call knowledge secundum quid and knowledge (a) is what we call knowledge simpliciter. The difference between the simpliciter and secundum quid being usually the difference between the perfect and the less perfect rationes of something.

Both (a) and (b) have criteria and gradations of certitude. One can come to know things more clearly, more deeply, and with greater precision and he can also grow in trust that another knows something. Given their order, (a) will always have more perfectly the character of knowledge than knowledge, which is why it gets the name as a quasi-species. In this sense (a) is always more certain or precise (or any other perfection of knowledge) than (b.) Nevertheless, this does not rule out a greater certitude in (b) than (a) so long as we believe that the one to whom we are imputing knowledge is more in a position to know something than we are or ever could be.

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