Definition of belief (was Re: virus: atheism and agnosticism)

David McFadzean (
Mon, 15 Apr 1996 10:54:25 -0600

At 03:58 AM 14/04/96 +0200, Marek Jedlinski wrote:

>In fact, belief is only possible AS LONG AS there is no possibility
>of knowing. If we could KNOW whether there is a God, we would no
>longer have to BELIEVE; indeed -- belief would be no longer an option.

I'm not sure if I agree with your definition of belief here (that certain
knowledge is different from and obviates belief). Let me know if my own
(admittedly informal) definition differs from your idea:

To hold a belief X is to act as if X is true.

The reason I like this definition is that it encompasses unconscious
and dispositional beliefs as well as explicit beliefs.

In a previous message you said:

... I believe [handy English phrase for "I think I know"...]
that what we "know" to be true are but fuzzy approximations ...

This statement seems to use "belief" in a manner more consistent with my
definition than your latest one (hence my confusion).

David McFadzean       
Memetic Engineer      
Merak Projects