What is belief?

Known unknowns and unknown unknowns!

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Londoner
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Re: What is belief?

Post by Londoner » Mon Sep 12, 2016 7:38 pm

A Human wrote:
Londoner wrote:It would be like saying 'I am both uncertain and certain'.
This can be valid (not commenting on the specific content of your post outside of this)

A person can be completely certain about being uncertain. They can operate on different logical levels so they can co-exist....of course, formal logic has an issue with evolved logic, go figure that.
Fair point. Indeed, I am certain that there is no example of a synthetic a priori, therefore I am certain that all beliefs are ultimately uncertain. (However, like the baby, I still manage to live in that state).

Though here I was suggesting that 'belief' is being to describe two different things; the thing believed in and the person doing the believing.

When Fred says 'I believe X' , for Fred that is justified if X is the case. If we say 'Fred believes X', for us that is justified if it describes Fred's thoughts.

But 'I believe X because I have faith' seems to try to combine the two. I do not think that can be done while retaining meaning. For example, what could justify or falsify such a proposition?

creativesoul
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Re: What is belief?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:10 am

All belief consists entirely of mental correlations drawn between objects of physiological sensory perception and/or oneself. For a speaker to claim that s/he holds no belief is either to kid oneself, and/or have a gross misunderstanding of what counts as belief, for the very claim itself is nothing other than a statement of belief.

Many folk equate belief to religious conviction, and/or other belief(s) where the holder of the belief cannot justify and/or offer any reason for holding the belief. That does not make it equivalent to religious belief. Rather, that is also the case where the believer has no reasons/justification known to themselves for having formed and/or held the belief in question. That is not the case for all belief. It is only the case for unexamined belief, or for belief that is taken on faith alone. "Faith" here is not religious faith, which is about having certainty in some religious teaching or another despite any and all argument and/or evidence to the contrary. That amounts to a deliberate and willful utter refusal to question the veracity/truth of the belief(unshakable conviction). Rather, "faith" here means having indubitable trust in the truthfulness of a source(which entails religious faith but also accounts for any and all unexamined belief as well). We all have that during language acquisition... there are no exceptions.

For one to say I believe X because I believe X is simply to make an unjustified claim. That is not indicative of all belief, for not all belief is unjustified. Since it's been skirted around recently, it is well worth noting here that just because a belief is justified does not make it true. A belief can be both, justified and false.

I strongly agree with Terrapin here regarding the notion that every human forms and holds a literally unquantifiable number of beliefs. We can understand this by virtue of 'looking' at how language acquisition works...

Learning that that is(called) "a tree" necessarily requires believing that something is there(wherever there may be). One cannot learn how to use the word "tree" without the attribution of meaning. Attributing meaning to a word requires drawing a correlation, association, and/or connection between the word/vocalization - "tree" - and an object of physiological sensory perception(the thing being pointed at - hopefully a tree in this case).

There are other cases quite easy to understand. Think about a lost item... One does not search in places that they do not believe it could be. We're not over at our neighbor's house looking through the wife's top dresser drawer. We're not looking on top of our roof. We're not looking in places like that, but we are looking. We are looking in places where we do believe the item may be.

Infants do much the same thing when groping for lost items in a crib.
Last edited by creativesoul on Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:14 am

Londoner wrote:But 'I believe X because I have faith' seems to try to combine the two. I do not think that can be done while retaining meaning. For example, what could justify or falsify such a proposition?
That is equivalent to 'i believe x because i believe x'. It is a short circle of reasoning.

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:25 am

creativesoul wrote:All belief consists entirely of mental correlations drawn between objects of physiological sensory perception and/or oneself. For a speaker to claim that s/he holds no belief is either to kid oneself, and/or have a gross misunderstanding of what counts as belief, for the very claim itself is nothing other than a statement of belief.
Do you have any beliefs you maintain when you are sleeping?

creativesoul
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Re: What is belief?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:27 am

A Human wrote:
Londoner wrote:But 'I believe X because I have faith' seems to try to combine the two. I do not think that can be done while retaining meaning. For example, what could justify or falsify such a proposition?
That is equivalent to 'i believe x because i believe x'. It is a short circle of reasoning.
'I believe X because I have faith' is not equivalent to 'I believe X because I believe X'. You're conflating belief with religious faith. They are not the same.

creativesoul
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Re: What is belief?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:29 am

A Human wrote:
creativesoul wrote:All belief consists entirely of mental correlations drawn between objects of physiological sensory perception and/or oneself. For a speaker to claim that s/he holds no belief is either to kid oneself, and/or have a gross misunderstanding of what counts as belief, for the very claim itself is nothing other than a statement of belief.
Do you have any beliefs you maintain when you are sleeping?
Depends upon what counts as maintaining beliefs... I could imagine a construct where such a thing would make sense(in light of the framework), however it seems to me that talking about maintaining anything while one is sleeping is fraught...

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:38 am

creativesoul wrote:
A Human wrote:
creativesoul wrote:All belief consists entirely of mental correlations drawn between objects of physiological sensory perception and/or oneself. For a speaker to claim that s/he holds no belief is either to kid oneself, and/or have a gross misunderstanding of what counts as belief, for the very claim itself is nothing other than a statement of belief.
Do you have any beliefs you maintain when you are sleeping?
Depends upon what counts as maintaining beliefs... I could imagine a construct where such a thing would make sense(in light of the framework), however it seems to me that talking about maintaining anything while one is sleeping is fraught...
The belief generating and maintaining system seems to start up when we wake up.

The X causes Y which means Z system seems to be absent when we sleep.

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:48 am

creativesoul wrote:
A Human wrote:
Londoner wrote:But 'I believe X because I have faith' seems to try to combine the two. I do not think that can be done while retaining meaning. For example, what could justify or falsify such a proposition?
That is equivalent to 'i believe x because i believe x'. It is a short circle of reasoning.
'I believe X because I have faith' is not equivalent to 'I believe X because I believe X'. You're conflating belief with religious faith. They are not the same.
Um, no. It's the same sort of reasoning. Each time you say something is true here because you believe it to be true you're making the same sort of circular reasoning error.

(adding 'i have faith that it is true' doesn't change this)

creativesoul
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Re: What is belief?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:55 am

A Human wrote:
creativesoul wrote:
A Human wrote:
Do you have any beliefs you maintain when you are sleeping?
Depends upon what counts as maintaining beliefs... I could imagine a construct where such a thing would make sense(in light of the framework), however it seems to me that talking about maintaining anything while one is sleeping is fraught...
The belief generating and maintaining system seems to start up when we wake up.
Well, strictly speaking, on my view all thought and belief is comprised entirely of correlations drawn between 'objects' of physiological sensory perception and/or oneself. Dreaming, it seems obvious enough, is nothing more than that as well. So, I would have to say that not all thought/belief is formed and/or maintained while in an awakened state. I just find that talking about maintaining belief while one is asleep would be just as odd as maintaining knowledge in the same conditions... just doesn't make good sense to talk like that.

The X causes Y which means Z system seems to be absent when we sleep.
Yeah, I took note of the strong claim you've made regarding all belief 'following' such a construct. I find it lacking. I would disagree that all belief is of that form. Some... sure. All... nope. As a matter of fact, the form requires two distinct beliefs. X causes Y is itself a belief. X causes Y which means Z, is two separate but interconnected ones.

creativesoul
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Re: What is belief?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:03 am

A Human wrote:
creativesoul wrote:
A Human wrote:
That is equivalent to 'i believe x because i believe x'. It is a short circle of reasoning.
'I believe X because I have faith' is not equivalent to 'I believe X because I believe X'. You're conflating belief with religious faith. They are not the same.
Um, no. It's the same sort of reasoning. Each time you say something is true here because you believe it to be true you're making the same sort of circular reasoning error.

(adding 'i have faith that it is true' doesn't change this)
Anyone who says that something is true because they believe it doesn't understand what it takes for something to be true. However, saying that I believe X because I have faith is not saying that something is true because I believe it to be true. Now, I'm not at all claiming that one is more or less justified/warranted than the other. I'm merely pointing out that they do not mean the same thing.

One doesn't have faith in a belief. One has faith in a source. So, saying that "I believe it is true because I have faith" is akin to saying I believe that it is true because I have unquestioned trust in the truthfulness of the source(of the belief).

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:06 am

creativesoul wrote:Yeah, I took note of the strong claim you've made regarding all belief 'following' such a construct. I find it lacking. I would disagree that all belief is of that form. Some... sure. All... nope. As a matter of fact, the form requires two distinct beliefs. X causes Y is itself a belief. X causes Y which means Z, is two separate but interconnected ones.
Well noticed!

The difference regards awareness of beliefs and the ability to examine them and consider.

Consider this...you can teach a rat that pressing on a lever (X) causes food(Y) to be provided.

The rat can 'understand X causes Y', it has no meaning that we can detect.

Us humans add another layer to this. We generate 'Z', thinking about what happened, 'we got food' for example.

Here is a distinction.....does the rat have a BELIEVE process where it thinks ABOUT X causes Y or does it just respond to the X causes Y scenario?

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:22 am

A Human wrote:
creativesoul wrote:Yeah, I took note of the strong claim you've made regarding all belief 'following' such a construct. I find it lacking. I would disagree that all belief is of that form. Some... sure. All... nope. As a matter of fact, the form requires two distinct beliefs. X causes Y is itself a belief. X causes Y which means Z, is two separate but interconnected ones.
Well noticed!

The difference regards awareness of beliefs and the ability to examine them and consider.

Consider this...you can teach a rat that pressing on a lever (X) causes food(Y) to be provided.

The rat can 'understand X causes Y', it has no meaning that we can detect.

Us humans add another layer to this. We generate 'Z', thinking about what happened, 'we got food' for example.

Here is a distinction.....does the rat have a BELIEVE process where it thinks ABOUT X causes Y or does it just respond to the X causes Y scenario?
Another way of putting it...we appear to be a time-sensitive goal seeking species...we can consider X causes Y and create hypothesis as Z in relation to that and then put plans into action...if our pets could do experiments with thinking/modeling ABOUT 'X causes Y which (would) mean Z' we'd be in very serious trouble. Instead, we're lucky that pets do not construct beliefs, they just do the X causes Y part. Stimulus-response without the consideration of it, Z

creativesoul
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Re: What is belief?

Post by creativesoul » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:28 am

A Human wrote:
creativesoul wrote:Yeah, I took note of the strong claim you've made regarding all belief 'following' such a construct. I find it lacking. I would disagree that all belief is of that form. Some... sure. All... nope. As a matter of fact, the form requires two distinct beliefs. X causes Y is itself a belief. X causes Y which means Z, is two separate but interconnected ones.
Well noticed!

The difference regards awareness of beliefs and the ability to examine them and consider.

Consider this...you can teach a rat that pressing on a lever (X) causes food(Y) to be provided.

The rat can 'understand X causes Y', it has no meaning that we can detect.

Us humans add another layer to this. We generate 'Z', thinking about what happened, 'we got food' for example.

Here is a distinction.....does the rat have a BELIEVE process where it thinks ABOUT X causes Y or does it just respond to the X causes Y scenario?
Good question. Yes, rats have thought/belief, albeit rudimentary. No, rats do not think about X causes Y because that is to think about thought/belief, which is metacognition. Rats have no metacognitive ability/tools.

I would disagree that the rat has no meaning that we can detect. In fact, if the rat intentionally presses the lever in order to get fed, then it has drawn a correlation, association, and/or connection between it's own behaviour and getting fed. That association requires the attribution/recognition of causality, which in turn requires future expectations... damned be Hume's purported 'problem' of induction. Rats think/believe. With the sheer number of domesticated rats around the world, I would be willing to bet that they could be taught that getting food follows a certain sound. That is, they could be taught that a certain sound means getting fed. I would go on to say that that would be verifiable on many levels, including but not limited to their holding future expectation upon hearing the sound. I know my cats do. Rats? Dunno, but I 'hear' their fairly intelligent for a little creature as well.

It was mentioned above, but deserves further explanation. It seems to me that when talking about belief, and being aware of one's own belief, if we do not draw and maintain the crucial distinction between cognition and metacognition(between thought/belief and thinking about thought/belief) we're doomed to an ill-conceived understanding. Rats do not have written language. Written language is required for metacognition. Rats do not have metacognition. Thus, rats cannot be aware of and/or think about their own thought/belief - nor can cats.

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:39 am

creativesoul wrote:
A Human wrote:
creativesoul wrote:Yeah, I took note of the strong claim you've made regarding all belief 'following' such a construct. I find it lacking. I would disagree that all belief is of that form. Some... sure. All... nope. As a matter of fact, the form requires two distinct beliefs. X causes Y is itself a belief. X causes Y which means Z, is two separate but interconnected ones.
Well noticed!

The difference regards awareness of beliefs and the ability to examine them and consider.

Consider this...you can teach a rat that pressing on a lever (X) causes food(Y) to be provided.

The rat can 'understand X causes Y', it has no meaning that we can detect.

Us humans add another layer to this. We generate 'Z', thinking about what happened, 'we got food' for example.

Here is a distinction.....does the rat have a BELIEVE process where it thinks ABOUT X causes Y or does it just respond to the X causes Y scenario?
Good question. Yes, rats have thought/belief, albeit rudimentary. No, rats do not think about X causes Y because that is to think about thought/belief, which is metacognition. Rats have no metacognitive ability/tools.

I would disagree that the rat has no meaning that we can detect. In fact, if the rat intentionally presses the lever in order to get fed, then it has drawn a correlation, association, and/or connection between it's own behaviour and getting fed. That association requires the attribution/recognition of causality, which in turn requires future expectations... damned be Hume's purported 'problem' of induction. Rats think/believe. With the sheer number of domesticated rats around the world, I would be willing to bet that they could be taught that getting food follows a certain sound. That is, they could be taught that a certain sound means getting fed. I would go on to say that that would be verifiable on many levels, including but not limited to their holding future expectation upon hearing the sound. I know my cats do. Rats? Dunno, but I 'hear' their fairly intelligent for a little creature as well.

It was mentioned above, but deserves further explanation. It seems to me that when talking about belief, and being aware of one's own belief, if we do not draw and maintain the crucial distinction between cognition and metacognition(between thought/belief and thinking about thought/belief) we're doomed to an ill-conceived understanding. Rats do not have written language. Written language is required for metacognition. Rats do not have metacognition. Thus, rats cannot be aware of and/or think about their own thought/belief - nor can cats.
Rats (appear to be) missing something that metacognition requires, a Digital NOT.

To think ABOUT requires a language system that has a true/false (digital) NOT.

Us humans, having a system as part of our neurology are able to construct X causes Y which means Z (NOT something else)

So, from my viewpoint, a belief is talk ABOUT X causes Y which means Z. If it's just X causes Y then we're talking about stimulus-response, not belief.

(i do value highly what you are communicating, this is about exchange of ideas for me, not competition)

A Human
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Re: What is belief?

Post by A Human » Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:48 am

creativesoul wrote:I would disagree that the rat has no meaning that we can detect. In fact, if the rat intentionally presses the lever in order to get fed, then it has drawn a correlation, association, and/or connection between it's own behaviour and getting fed. That association requires the attribution/recognition of causality, which in turn requires future expectations... damned be Hume's purported 'problem' of induction. Rats think/believe. With the sheer number of domesticated rats around the world, I would be willing to bet that they could be taught that getting food follows a certain sound. That is, they could be taught that a certain sound means getting fed. I would go on to say that that would be verifiable on many levels, including but not limited to their holding future expectation upon hearing the sound. I know my cats do. Rats? Dunno, but I 'hear' their fairly intelligent for a little creature as well.
I train cats as well as many other living creatures. They respond a bit differently than dogs, they're more like dolphins. They learn more socially than directly.

For example, you won't find cats out in the wild stuck in trees. When one cat climbs up and gets 'stuck', another cat will climb the tree a bit and then go down. The 'stuck' cat' will observe this and then leave the tree.

The cats who have been brought up alone, in homes, are the ones who get stuck after climbing up trees.

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