Poll: When I say that I believe something, I mean that…
… I’ve got enough evidence suggesting a notion but I am unsure of its certainty.
… I am sure about the certainty of a notion regardless of what evidence may suggest.
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Believing versus believing
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25-04-2014, 07:30 PM
RE: Believing versus believing
If I have to believe in something then I believe I'll have another piece of apple pie.

I believe she said she was going to bake another apple pie but I don't believe her.

Just playing with words and attempting to use the word "believe" in the same sentence with different connotations as you proposed. I'm not sure I believe that I succeeded.

PS you express your ideas very well LT, they make interesting reading.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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25-04-2014, 08:59 PM
RE: Believing versus believing
Living thing, years ago I read a book that may be of interest to you if you care to expand this concept of believing. It's called On Being Certain and it delves into the neuroscience of believing, knowing, and being certain.

The author covers knowing that you know something, even when you can't remember. Huh It's that on-the-tip-of-my-tongue feeling when you can't quite recall information that you are certain that you possess (e.g.: answer to trivia, an old friend's name, etc.).

Another mind-bender is when the certainty is erased. He tells the story of a stroke victim who is visited by his wife. He recognizes her as looking like his wife, she acts like her and seems like her in every way. However, his sense of "knowing" that it is actually her no longer exists, so he believes that she is a very convincing imposter. Trés bizarre.

Anypoo, you seem to ask a lot of philosophical questions, so you may enjoy this read.

Here's a free ebook.

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26-04-2014, 12:08 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
(25-04-2014 08:59 PM)Jeffasaurus Wrote:  ...
Here's a free ebook.

Don't go there.

That link took me to an online game, reset my browser options and other shit I've spent the last hour cleaning up.

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26-04-2014, 12:24 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
(25-04-2014 04:48 PM)living thing Wrote:  ...
Sooooo… nothing to say about the actual topic? Big Grin
...

Other than what I said earlier? No, not really.

'Believe' is an ambiguous word and I avoid it unless the context is obvious e.g.
Them: "I'm not lying"
Me: "I believe you"

In this context, if said without sarcasm, I am saying, "I trust you (on this occasion)." Simply saying "I trust you" could imply "I will always trust you" which may not be the intent.

I think that your poll definitions disguise a hidden subtlety regarding verb vs. noun.

They could be reworded as:
1. I have evidence in order to believe
2. I hold a belief

The degree of certainty ("regardless of what evidence" or even in spite of evidence) is then a separate issue.

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26-04-2014, 04:49 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
Hello again, Dom.

Do you always wear a rain coat when you leave your house? Regardless of the time of the year, the look of the sky and how long you’re going to be out? I don’t know, maybe if you’re going to take the rubbish out on a clear blue summer day. If you do, I guess you’re obsessed with not getting wet, although I’m almost sure that you base it on your previous experiences having got annoyingly wet in a variety of situations outside your house. But if you don’t wear a rain coat when you take the rubbish out on a clear blue summer day, that probably means that you are judging it most likely that you will not get wet during the short operation, based on the circumstances.

What about inside the house? Are you worried of getting wet inside your house? If you don’t wear your rain coat inside the house, that probably means that you do not judge it necessary, based on the fact that there are walls and a roof around you that will stop any rain outside from reaching you.

You know yourself better than I do; in fact, I don’t know you at all, only a little of your opinion. So if you say that you sometimes make decisions based on absolutely no evidence, all I can do is wish you good luck, because you’ll need it. However, if you base your decisions on any sort of evidence (including what you know about yourself, about the speed at which the weather can change in your surroundings, etc.) then you are basing your decisions on an amount of evidence that is sufficient, in your view, to make certain assumptions.

When you said that if you claim to believe that you are going to the store later, you mean that you think you will, I took it as meaning that there is something that makes you think so (maybe you’ve just run out of something, or you like the person who works there, or whatever) although there are other factors to be considered which might cause you not to go to the store; otherwise, if you knew you had the need/desire and the ability to go, you might have said “I know I’m going to the store later”, although you might have been lying, because our immediate future is always unknown. I might say to a friend “yes, yes, I know I’m going to the party, I’ll pick you up on my way” and then have a heart attack, and not pick up my friend on my way anywhere, despite all my purported knowledge.

Nevertheless, if your view of the word “belief” is that of a notion that is taken as a truth based on disputable or no evidence, then I can agree with your view; many people hold their beliefs based not on evidence, but on their confidence in an authority. “I don’t understand what this means”, someone might think, “but I’ll take it as a truth because X says so, and he/she probably knows”. Yeah, I think that happens too.

I’m not sure we’re disagreeing in the notions we’re describing, just on the words we use to describe them. In any case, I thank you for the exchange.

Have a hopefully dry day, but not too dry; we all need water.
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26-04-2014, 05:30 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
Hello Full Circle, thanks for joining us. How are you?

(25-04-2014 07:30 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  If I have to believe in something then I believe I'll have another piece of apple pie.

I believe she said she was going to bake another apple pie but I don't believe her.

Just playing with words and attempting to use the word "believe" in the same sentence with different connotations as you proposed. I'm not sure I believe that I succeeded.

(...)
Well, I thank you for your kind remark, but I'm not sure I've managed to express exactly what I wanted to.

If I have to believe in something then I believe I'll have another piece of apple pie.

The meaning I extract from the first usage is that of considering a notion as a truth. The second use is more ambiguous, it may follow from the first (you may consider it a truth that you will have another piece of apple pie because you have set the premise that you have to believe in something), or it may be that some evidence points to that outcome (you're hungry, or whatever) but you're unsure of its feasibility (maybe you don't know if there is any pie left). Or it may mean something entirely different, you tell me.

I believe she said she was going to bake another apple pie but I don't believe her.

I find this sentence easier to understand, because it doesn't have a conditional premise and the verb objects are more explicit. You have enough reason to suspect that she's announced her intention to bake another pie (you've heard her say some words that seemed to convey such a notion, although you realise that you might have misunderstood them), but you nevertheless don't take it as a truth that she will fulfill those intentions, although I am not sure why. Maybe you've hidden all the apples, or something.

Can I please ask you to rephrase your sentences without using the verb "believe", see if I can learn the different connotations you give it? Thanks!

The difference I am trying to depict is between using the verb as a declaration of suspicion or as a declaration of purported knowledge.

Have a good time. Enjoy your apple pie!
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26-04-2014, 05:33 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
(25-04-2014 08:59 PM)Jeffasaurus Wrote:  Living thing, years ago I read a book that may be of interest to you if you care to expand this concept of believing. It's called On Being Certain and it delves into the neuroscience of believing, knowing, and being certain.

(...)
Hello Jeffasaurus, thanks for the hint. I'll try to read about it, although now I'm not sure I want to click on the link; I'll see if I can find it by other means.

Thank you anyway!
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26-04-2014, 06:06 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
(26-04-2014 12:24 AM)DLJ Wrote:  'Believe' is an ambiguous word and I avoid it unless the context is obvious e.g.
Them: "I'm not lying"
Me: "I believe you"

(...)

I think that your poll definitions disguise a hidden subtlety regarding verb vs. noun.

They could be reworded as:
1. I have evidence in order to believe
2. I hold a belief

The degree of certainty ("regardless of what evidence" or even in spite of evidence) is then a separate issue.
But the noun most likely derives from the verb, beliefs are the notions that are believed, so if I use the noun in order to try to define the verb, I end up in an endless loop.

"When I say that I believe something I mean that I have evidence in order to believe". But that doesn't really explain what you mean by "believe", does it?

Similarly, "when I say that I believe something I mean that I hold a belief (i.e., that I believe something)". Once again, that doesn't really explain what you mean by "believe", does it?

In my view, if we are trying to clarify the meaning of an ambiguous word, the least helpful option is basing our clarification on the same ambiguous word. Instead, I would find it more helpful if we tried to convey the same notions without using the word we are trying to clarify.

That's why I choose the words "suspicion" and "knowledge" as candidates for perceived synonymy. When people say "I believe X" they sometimes mean that they wouldn't be surprised if X turned out to be true, but they don't have the knowledge of it actually being true". However, other people (or other times) they behave as if they knew that X is actually true. When people nail themselves to sticks because they think some magic guy went through something similar some two thousand years ago, they don't seem to be conveying a suspicion; I wouldn't be surprised if they thought they know their "facts" to be true.

But something makes me think that we are both describing the same basic notions, even if we both choose different words to describe them. Although I don't know.

In any case, I do thank you for your interesting view.

Have fun!
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26-04-2014, 06:57 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
(26-04-2014 05:30 AM)living thing Wrote:  Hello Full Circle, thanks for joining us. How are you?

The meaning I extract from the first usage is that of considering a notion as a truth. The second use is more ambiguous, it may follow from the first (you may consider it a truth that you will have another piece of apple pie because you have set the premise that you have to believe in something), or it may be that some evidence points to that outcome (you're hungry, or whatever) but you're unsure of its feasibility (maybe you don't know if there is any pie left). Or it may mean something entirely different, you tell me.

I believe she said she was going to bake another apple pie but I don't believe her.

I find this sentence easier to understand, because it doesn't have a conditional premise and the verb objects are more explicit. You have enough reason to suspect that she's announced her intention to bake another pie (you've heard her say some words that seemed to convey such a notion, although you realise that you might have misunderstood them), but you nevertheless don't take it as a truth that she will fulfill those intentions, although I am not sure why. Maybe you've hidden all the apples, or something.

Can I please ask you to rephrase your sentences without using the verb "believe", see if I can learn the different connotations you give it? Thanks!

The difference I am trying to depict is between using the verb as a declaration of suspicion or as a declaration of purported knowledge.

Have a good time. Enjoy your apple pie!

LT, These weren't the best thought out sentences but let me see if I can clarify and rephrase.

I believe think she said she was going to bake another apple pie but I don't believe trust her. (Maybe because she has said this before and then didn't bake the pies).

If I have to believe in something then I believe think I'll have another piece of apple pie. (Here the first use of believe was done for comedic reasons and means to me faith) in a religious context.

Anyway, the word "belief" carries different meanings depending on how it is used and in what context. In my estimation (vs it is my belief) that I could probably eliminate the word from my vocabulary altogether and not miss it, replacing it with words like: trust, estimation, think. The only time I would need to use it would be when referring to the adherence of a notion without proof, but even then I could say "My friend is under the impression that a deity is looking out for him" vs "My friend believes in a personal god".

Fun exercise.

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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26-04-2014, 07:10 AM
RE: Believing versus believing
(26-04-2014 12:08 AM)DLJ Wrote:  
(25-04-2014 08:59 PM)Jeffasaurus Wrote:  ...
Here's a free ebook.

Don't go there.

That link took me to an online game, reset my browser options and other shit I've spent the last hour cleaning up.

Huh ...Consider Huh
Perhaps you have a porn virus.

The link goes to a page on ebookee.org that I pasted directly off of my browser address bar.

Here is the address:
http://ebookee.org/On-Being-Certain-by-R...27283.html

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