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belief in

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


P hilosophy of religion Traditionally, “belief in” is seen to be an evaluative attitude to a person, whether human or divine, while “belief that” is a cognitive attitude to a proposition. “Belief that” is also called propositional belief. The standard modern analysis of belief suggests that the object of belief is a proposition P and that all belief can be reduced to “belief that,” for “I believe P” amounts to “I believe that P is true.” In line with this program there has been an attempt to eliminate the distinction between “belief in” and “belief that.” But this turns out to be difficult. “Belief in” includes “belief that,” but possesses an additional proattitude. That “I believe in God” not only implies that “I believe that God exits,” but also involves commitment or trust toward God. “Belief in” in such cases is identical with faith. While “belief that” can be corrected or removed easily, “belief in” is often unshakeable by counter-experience. Whether this approach to reducing “belief in” to “belief that” can succeed is still a matter of dispute in epistemology. “The question whether belief-in is or is not reducible to ‘belief-that’ is by no means trivial, nor is it at all an easy question to answer.” Price, Belief ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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