Key Differences Between Belief And Knowledge – Expand Your Mind

There are important differences between beliefs and knowledge, which is a very interesting topic since a belief may or may not be true. However, knowledge reveals the truth to us.

A belief is an idea or thought that is assumed to be true while knowledge is a justified true belief. That is, as long as a particular belief is justified, it is considered to be knowledge.

Below you will see in a table the main differences between belief and knowledge.

Difference Between Belief and Knowledge

Belief Knowledge
It is not provable. It can be proven.
Beliefs refer to assumptions and ideologies. Knowledge refers to factual propositions and understanding.
It does not require a truth condition. It must satisfy the truth condition.
Based on evaluation judgment. Based on an objective fact.
It cannot be evaluated. It can be evaluated or judged.
Beliefs are influenced by personal experiences or cultural and institutional sources. It is something true that can be proved without outside influence.

Go from belief to knowledge

We can find ourselves with justified beliefs in something that is not true or true belief without justification. Knowledge appears when the belief can be justified and there is evidence that it is true.

Unlike knowledge, belief refers to the subjective mental acceptance that a statement is true. It is possible to be firmly convinced that a belief is correct when it is not, other times our beliefs are true but we cannot offer evidence for them.

The most dangerous beliefs are those that we strongly believe in even though they are not true known as limiting beliefs. They are convictions that can keep us away from the truth, as Friedrich Nietzsche said:

“Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.”

Although beliefs can be true or false, false knowledge is not possible.

In order to move from belief to knowledge we must question what we believe. Some beliefs will seem more reasonable than others, and there is a big difference between informed belief and mere belief.

However, knowledge begins when a belief is put to the test through research, observation, experience and study, and can be discarded or become a justified truth.

That is why it is said that knowledge is composed of three elements:

  1. Belief.
  2. Truth.
  3. Justification.

This is how we go from believing in something to knowing for sure that it is so.

Example of belief and knowledge

Who has not believed in Santa Claus at some time in his life? This is a common belief in children, for them Santa Claus is real and exists until the day we must inform them that this belief is not true and that we only tell it to keep a tradition alive and give them a day of happiness and surprise.

Many children begin to question at an early age if Santa Claus really exists and begin to see with disbelief how it is possible for an older man to be able to bring so many gifts to so many children in one night.

However, it is a good belief, we can say that it is a “good false belief” that makes our day and that we would love to believe it for life. But false beliefs can also be perverse, keeping us limited and even making us live in fear.

A classic example of a belief is when the earth was believed to be flat, it was even thought that it was perched on a giant turtle or elephant. This belief instills immense fear in going out to explore the world, it kept us limited, because it was thought that if you went out to explore there would come a point where you would fall into the abyss.

That belief was not provable, no one had gone to the end of the earth to see if there really was an abyss, it was simply believed that it was flat. Until, at one point in time, some thinkers questioned the idea that the earth was really flat, until they could prove with facts that the earth is actually a sphere.

Today we have the knowledge and certainty that the earth is round. We change from false belief to true knowledge.

The same thing happened when thinking that the sun revolved around the earth were beliefs without a scientific basis, until once again science disproved another belief.

It is easy to be fooled by what we see through the five senses, like the example that the sun revolves around the earth, it is easy to think that the sun is really the one that moves and not the earth, if we do not stop to think and analyze if what we see is really true.

Beliefs are like that, sometimes we let ourselves be fooled by what we see and hear without questioning whether it is true or false. While knowledge helps us find the truth. And we must always seek knowledge and truth, especially when false beliefs limit us.

final thoughts

René Descartes was a philosopher, mathematician and physicist considered the father of analytic geometry and modern philosophy, he did an interesting experiment that has to do with beliefs and knowledge.

Descartes tested all the thoughts and ideas that he had in his mind to search for the truth. What he wanted to do was eliminate all thoughts and ideas that he could doubt were true, even if he had the slightest doubt.

He wanted to discover what would be left after eliminating everything that he had even the slightest doubt was not true.

If Descartes had any doubts about whether it was really true, then he couldn’t believe it with any certainty. He concluded that the only thing that seemed to be true after performing this experiment was the mathematics, the numbers, this was the opinion of Descartes.

Imagine doing this experiment with topics like politics, economics, lifestyle, etc. The interesting thing about the experiment is the approach it gave to find an answer.

Sometimes we are sure that what we believe is the truth, but the most intelligent people like scientists and philosophers who have been remembered for centuries, did not seem so sure of their beliefs and ideas and questioned everything, in search of the truth.

And there are very intelligent people today who use this same point of view, to be able to question everything and look for new answers, except for certain things like the laws of physics.

True knowledge has helped us to progress and to be certain of something to advance in that direction, the human being continues in a relentless search for knowledge in order to remove the false beliefs that limit us to evolve.

We keep moving in search of knowledge and truth.

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