Skip to content

On Belief



The next three articles will cover the subjects belief, knowledge and truth. These subjects are inextricably related and intertwined with one another, and it can be difficult to discuss one without mentioning the other. Nonetheless, we will try to discuss them separately in order to nail them down properly. However, we may see a considerable amount of overlap across these three subject areas.

Man is what he believes.” Anton Chekov

Man prefers to believe what he prefers to be true.” Francis Bacon

Believing is something we do.  Joseph kelsay

A belief is something we own.  Joseph Kelsay

Believing and Beliefs

We all possess a number of beliefs; hundreds perhaps thousands, many of which we are not consciously aware of. We live our daily lives based upon the beliefs we hold. We operate every day under the guidance of those beliefs. Beliefs direct our every action, our every thought; they provide us the ability to navigate our day, much like a compass. Belief and knowledge, as a matter of fact, are closely related to one another; they are tightly intertwined with one another. Beliefs are based upon what we assume we know, what we assume to be true. “But do we all know all we think we know?”(Morris 53). Is our every belief based upon true knowledge? Is every belief, every assumption we possess really true?


For the sake of the purposes of this website and for the targeted niche audience I am aiming for, I may noy use the typical philosophical parlance in getting my points across. Howver, I believe thqt I can write weel and cohesively enough to get my point across.

The Believe-thats’:

‘I believe that when I’m outside while it is raining I will get wet.’

‘I believe that when I leave milk unrefrigerated it will sour.’

‘I believe that if I stay out in the summer sun too long my skin may burn.’

‘I believe that 15 + 25= 40.’

This type of believing is equivalent to the notion that believing is something we do. It is, for the most part, instinctual, perhaps even innate. These types of beliefs, or claims, are rooted not only in a proposed innate rational knowledge, but knowledge gained from life-experience, as well. In philosophy these types of “belief/knowledge,” are classified as either a priori (a belief/knowledge/claim that is learned rationally or known innately and is independent of sense experience; (rationalism) or a posteriori (a belief/knowledge that is dependent upon sense experience; (empiricism) e.g. feeling wet in the rain, tasting soured milk, experiencing the pain of sunburn or learning a variety of other life maxims through sense experience that, for instance 15+25=40 (Woodhouse 31-45).

Remember though that these belief/knowledge statements often overlap each other, and can contain both rational knowledge (a priori) and experiential knowledge (a posteriori) claims.

As we can see clearly see, once again, belief and knowledge are closely related. These two types of claims to knowledge (a priori and a posteriori) are hotly contested among philosophers and at times are difficult to qualify. If this is confusing or overwhelming, fear not. We will learn much more about knowledge claims, rationalism, empiricism, a priori and a posteriori, as we cover these terms and their implications in the next article.

‘The Beliefs-in’:

‘The Beliefs-in’ concept noted above are the types of beliefs or claims that are more deeply seated in our psyche, our inner-core beliefs, an almost faith type of belief. This kind of belief/knowledge has also much to do with our sense of self identity, defining the particular person we are.

Examples of ‘The Beliefs in’:

‘I’m of the belief that Sally is the best candidate for the job. She has strong leadership skills and the character traits worthy of a true leader.’

‘I’m of the belief that God has a unique plan for each of us to follow, a plan that will fulfill us and allow us to be the best human being we can be.’

‘I’m of the belief that cruelty to animals is of much larger issue that each of us should be aware of.’

‘I’m of the belief that the current Presidential candidate is a man of great integrity, a man of truth and trust and is the bet man fit for the job.’

I’m of the belief that we all need to be involved with the homeless.

This concludes our short synopsis on belief and claims to belief.

In the next article we shall discuss the issue of knowledge.

Important: Remember this commonly stated philosophical maxim that we wil look at in the next article’

Knowledge = Properly Justified True Belief. (Morris 45).


a priori: A belief/knowledge that is learned rationally or known innately and is independent of sense experience.

A posteriori: A belief/knowledge that is dependent upon sense experience.


Morris, Thomas V. PhD. Philosophy for Dummies.IDG Books IDG Books World Wide 1999

Woodhouse, Mark B. A Preface to Philosophy. Wadsworth Publishing 1980.

Study Thoughts:

Name a belief/knowledge/claim in your life:

Name/review beliefs/claim/knowledge in your own life that are are both a priori and a posteriori

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: