What are the differences between knowledge and Belief? How do these apply to claims about existence of objects?

Essay by suzanna_pUniversity, Bachelor'sC-, October 2003

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To most, knowledge is what we 'know' through learning and general knowledge. But to sit down and explore the idea of knowledge and the idea of belief brings up some philosophical questions; what is knowledge? If it is what we have learnt, how do we know it is definite, if it is scientifically proven, then is it science that navigates and has the final say in what can be classed as 'knowledge?' Belief is what we have all been told, since childhood we have been told things such as there is a heaven and an earth, our bodies need food to grow. Whether it be religious or just general information, whether we be told of this by our parents, or our friends, our schools, or our churches, what is it exactly that is classed as 'knowledge' or 'belief', and what are the differences between the two? This has been of great interest to many, especially philosophers who spend their lives exploring such questions.

These questions will be explored here.

Knowledge and belief are different concepts. Knowledge is a true belief. Here inevitably enters the question, what makes something real? To some, science and empirical testing proves beliefs true. To others it is the feeling inside, the strong belief, usually religious, that does not need to be 'proved,' it is unquestionable, or at least to those who believe in such metaphysical entities as God, believe so. So truth has two principles: the scientific side and the religious side. A belief is, according to Plato, that which can be proved false, or that which has insufficient evidence to prove itself (Bowie 2000 p.229). Knowledge is more than an idea or inkling. The claim to 'know' something should have secure foundations and should be scientifically testable. Only once this belief withstands testing, it's...