The Difference Between Believing Something To Be True And Faith
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05-01-2014, 05:22 AM
RE: The Difference Between Believing Something To Be True And Faith
(05-01-2014 04:53 AM)DLJ Wrote:  Let's face it, it's a term ripe for equivocation.

True. The two strands that get confused are the epistemic aspects of belief and the psychological/emotive aspects of belief.

Quote:I hope I won't be poisoned and I hope the building will not collapse.
I base my unconscious decision (my unspoken risk avoidance strategy) to eat or dwell, on my knowledge of health and safety standards or when younger, on my trust in my parents who eat and dwell there too.

Hope is a psychological state not an epistemic position. You hope because you don't know.

Quote:I'm OK with evolution because I trust the scientific method and the evidence of my own eyes.

Trust too is a psychological state and it appears when we don't know. If you know you have no need for trust.

Quote:Hope and trust.

Call it belief if you like but faith - belief without evidence? Nah.

Hope and trust are cousins of faith. None are epistemic positions; rather they are dispositions that occur because we lack knowledge but have some other reason to believe that things will turn out as we expect them to. When you purchase from an ebay seller that has no history you are exhibiting faith/hope/trust. You have no evidence that the contract will be honoured, you transact in good faith.
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05-01-2014, 05:23 AM
RE: The Difference Between Believing Something To Be True And Faith
WindyCityJazz - I strongly advice you to read
A Manual for Creating Atheists Paperback by Peter Boghossian (and his other papers & books on critical thinking) His analysis answers your question precisely by distinguishing FAITH as an epistemological position - a way of knowing the world distinguished from HOPE or CONFIDENCE or PROBABILITIES.

Eg
Quote: Windy:No, there are certain things that I do have faith about. I have faith in my friends when they tell me something, or that they will not hurt me. I have faith in my family being there when I need them. I don't have anything that shows 100% proof that these things will happen.

You have HOPE or CONFIDENCE (or TRUST)that your friends will not hurt you. You have HOPE or CONFIDENCE for your family being there.

DO NOT EQUIVICATE HOPE or CONFIDENCE or TRUST with FAITH-NEVER NEVER NEVER

There is a big difference.
Hope/confidence are emotional dispositions & presuppose uncertainty - they are not knowledge claims [epistemic justified claims]
Faith is a knowledge claim - a way of making sense of the world other than evidence or logic.

It is reasonable & rational to have confidence or hope as an emotional disposition to uncertain events. It is never reasonable to have faith.

See the difference in the sentences to clarify what I am saying:

A christian says "I have faith Jesus walked on water." = a knowledge claim about Jesus.
They do NOT say "I hope Jesus walked on water"
They do NOT say "I have confidence/trust jesus walked on water"
Because the above are emotional predispositions & presuppose doubt and uncertainty i.e they are not knowledge claims but emotional responses to uncertainty.
FAITH CLAIMS CERTAINTY WITHOUT EVIDENCE. HOPE/CONFIDENCE/TRUST DO NOT CLAIM CERTAINTY

Hope/trust/confidence (or any other emotional disposition) can work on probabilities - eg your family is very unlikely to stab you in the back. This is based on evidence from your previous interactions with them, their values, your behaviours to them, knowing they are not psychopaths etc. You might be wrong, but you are making an inductive logical conclusion that your family wont stab you in the back. You don't need 100% evidence but you certainly don't need faith. What you have is hope, trust & confidence they wont stab you in the back.
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05-01-2014, 05:35 AM
RE: The Difference Between Believing Something To Be True And Faith
Quote:
Quote:Windy:No, there are certain things that I do have faith about. I have faith in my friends when they tell me something, or that they will not hurt me. I have faith in my family being there when I need them. I don't have anything that shows 100% proof that these things will happen

OddGamer I would argue you don't have faith in your friends or family. You've observed their behavior (that they help when you're having troubles, don't steal from you, etc) and are extrapolating that they'll do similar in the future. This is evidence based. And if they do betray you, you'll re-evaluate the situation. Evidence is not just about what is, but also about forming predictive models that work. To believe something without evidence. or rather (as I think most theists do) in spite of the evidence, is something we do only in little bits

I would agree here that you are free to evaluate the evidence of your family + friends interactions with you and instead of using the wrong phrase "faith" use "I have hope" or "I have confidence or trust" - DO NOT EQUIVICATE THESE WITH FAITH.

If your family betrayed you, your trust level may go down due to contrary evidence. Its not faith !
If your family betrayed you, Your hope may still remain high based on your desire for a close family bonding - its not faith because the hope presupposes uncertainty and in some cases very low likelihoods of being true. Very different to faith.
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05-01-2014, 05:50 AM
RE: The Difference Between Believing Something To Be True And Faith
Another example from my work:

I work in a hospital intensive case unit and I can often tell a pretty disastrous medical case eg someone has already gone into renal & liver failure.

I can have HOPE they will survive. - some do and the probabilities might be very low. Hope can take the probability into account - it might be 1% or 90% - It can still be rational to have hope Even if its 1% I can hope that this patient is the 1%. Nothing to do with faith.

I can also have TRUST that my knowledge in medicine, other health professionals, specialized equipment, renal dialysis machines etc can do their jobs properly. There is no faith here. Uncertainty is presupposed because renal dialysis machines can fail, people including myself can make mistakes, our medical research is very highly evidence based & peer reviewed but still fallible.

I can also have CONFIDENCE that the health professionals are well trained based on passed experience working with them, the machines are working after being tested etc - again - nothing to do with faith.

THERE IS NO FAITH IN THE ABOVE. Everything is either based on evidence and when evidence is lacking it is based on an emotional response to uncertain probabilities. Yes multiple power cuts could occur and the backup generator make the renal dialysis machine malfunction.

FAITH claims on the other hand are potentially abusive and misleading - they claim knowledge about things which don't have evidence - this is dangerous, especially in medicine. I have seen people die from "faith healing" a number of times for conditions which were treatable with conventional medicine. I call this negligence.

WE MUST REMOVE "FAITH" as being seen as something virtuous. Its an appalling and terrible way of making sense of the world.
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05-01-2014, 05:56 AM (This post was last modified: 05-01-2014 06:05 AM by Baruch.)
RE: The Difference Between Believing Something To Be True And Faith
Chippy

My replies to windy make a distinction between FAITH and emotional, psychological dispositions such as hope, confidence & trust.

I just read your post and you put faith into the psychological dispositions rather than faith claims being epistemic claims and a way of knowing the world (other than evidence, reason, logic, scientific method etc)

I disagree - this is not how faith is used by believers in Christianity or other faith based religions.
Faith is being used as an epistemic claim eg they don't say "As a Christian I hope Jesus walked on water"
The claim of faith is AS IF IT IS A HISTORICAL FACT - just lacking evidence.

No Christian claims a 10% reliability that Jesus might have walked on water and call this faith - I,e faith is used as if is certainty in an epistemic claim, a special access to knowledge perhaps via divine intuition or holy ghosts - but lacking in corroborating evidence. If there was evidence it would not be called faith.
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05-01-2014, 05:59 AM
RE: The Difference Between Believing Something To Be True And Faith
(05-01-2014 05:23 AM)Baruch Wrote:  WindyCityJazz - I strongly advice you to read
A Manual for Creating Atheists Paperback by Peter Boghossian (and his other papers & books on critical thinking) His analysis answers your question precisely by distinguishing FAITH as an epistemological position - a way of knowing the world distinguished from HOPE or CONFIDENCE or PROBABILITIES.

I don't agree with Boghossian's distinction between hope/trust/confidence and faith.

Hope, trust, confidence and faith are all emotive states and they all occur when we are in an epistemically weak position. If the NT were true then those that witnessed the miracles did not need faith because they had first-hand knowledge. Faith enters when there is an absence of knowledge.

Quote:There is a big difference.
Hope/confidence are emotional dispositions & presuppose uncertainty - they are not knowledge claims [epistemic justified claims]
Faith is a knowledge claim - a way of making sense of the world other than evidence or logic.

No, faith is not a knowledge claim. Consider the hypothetical example of the witnesses of the miracles of the NT, they would not have had any need for faith in relation to the miracles they (allegdly) witnessed. Faith is demanded of Christians because they haven't seen the miracles of the NT at first-hand--because they lack knowledge.

Quote:It is reasonable & rational to have confidence or hope as an emotional disposition to uncertain events. It is never reasonable to have faith.

This is a false distinction.

Quote:A christian says "I have faith Jesus walked on water." = a knowledge claim about Jesus.

When a Christian says that they are implicitly acknowledging that they didn't see Jesus walk on water and are expressing their trust that the NT is a historical document.

Quote:They do NOT say "I have confidence/trust jesus walked on water"

Yes they do and when they do they are saying something about their belief in relation to the historicity of the NT.

Quote:Because the above are emotional predispositions & presuppose doubt and uncertainty i.e they are not knowledge claims but emotional responses to uncertainty.

That is untrue. Those that are taken by con-artists are still said to have placed their trust in the con-artist. The con-artists victims experienced trust because they lacked knowledge of his real intentions and future behaviour.

Quote:
FAITH CLAIMS CERTAINTY WITHOUT EVIDENCE. HOPE/CONFIDENCE/TRUST DO NOT CLAIM CERTAINTY

Hope/confidence/trust can be just as misguided as faith, e.g. when people lose their life's savings to a con-artist.

Quote:Hope/trust/confidence (or any other emotional disposition) can work on probabilities - eg your family is very unlikely to stab you in the back. This is based on evidence from your previous interactions with them, their values, your behaviours to them, knowing they are not psychopaths etc. You might be wrong, but you are making an inductive logical conclusion that your family wont stab you in the back. You don't need 100% evidence but you certainly don't need faith. What you have is hope, trust & confidence they wont stab you in the back.

That is untrue. You don't always have the knowledge to make an inductive leap but we still use the terms hope/trust/confidence.
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05-01-2014, 06:19 AM
RE: The Difference Between Believing Something To Be True And Faith
(05-01-2014 05:50 AM)Baruch Wrote:  I can have HOPE they will survive. - some do and the probabilities might be very low. Hope can take the probability into account - it might be 1% or 90% - It can still be rational to have hope Even if its 1% I can hope that this patient is the 1%. Nothing to do with faith.

This is an equivocation. Hope is slightly different in that it expresses a wish that something will turn out in a particular way--it expresses a wanting. That is why we say things like, "I hope he succeeds but I doubt that he will". On your account of hope that sentence would be incoherent.

Quote:I can also have TRUST that my knowledge in medicine, other health professionals, specialized equipment, renal dialysis machines etc can do their jobs properly. There is no faith here. Uncertainty is presupposed because renal dialysis machines can fail, people including myself can make mistakes, our medical research is very highly evidence based & peer reviewed but still fallible.

There is faith there. The faith is that the contingencies will not eventuate. If you had knowledge that a particular contingency was to occur you would take action to prevent it from occuring.

Quote:I can also have CONFIDENCE that the health professionals are well trained based on passed experience working with them, the machines are working after being tested etc - again - nothing to do with faith.

But this assumes an (almost) ideal epistemic positon--you have knowledge so you obviously don't experience faith. It is easy to envisage a situation where you know nothing of the people or the state of the equipment.

Quote:Yes multiple power cuts could occur and the backup generator make the renal dialysis machine malfunction.

And in relation to these you have faith that all will be well.

Quote:FAITH claims on the other hand are potentially abusive and misleading - they claim knowledge about things which don't have evidence - this is dangerous, especially in medicine. I have seen people die from "faith healing" a number of times for conditions which were treatable with conventional medicine. I call this negligence.

Any form of misplaced trust or confidence is "potentially abusive and misleading".

Quote:
WE MUST REMOVE "FAITH" as being seen as something virtuous. Its an appalling and terrible way of making sense of the world.

This is tilting at windmills.
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05-01-2014, 06:20 AM (This post was last modified: 05-01-2014 06:28 AM by Baruch.)
RE: The Difference Between Believing Something To Be True And Faith
Chippy -
I still disagree with you about how the word faith is used compared to emotional-psychological dispositions such as hope, trust & confidence.

When someone uses the word faith they often claim a type of intuition or holy ghost speaking to them or special access to KNOWLEDGE CLAIMS. Just read the posts here on this blog by those inspired by holy ghosts eg Alla.

This is different to emotional dispositions to uncertain events like my analogy with the medical intensive care unit prognosis - I can hope the person survives even it its 1% but that's different to faith.

In any case I think Peter Boghossian does have a legitimate point that "Faith" is often used as an epistemological claim for justifying knowing things without evidence. Obviously as Wittgenstein discusses these words have been used interchangeably and as per language games may not have single absolute meanings but depends on context and cultural usage. So we could be quibbling over semantics.

In Judaism "Faith" does generally translate better as "trust" - there is evidence for this is scripture (the word Emunah). The concept of "blind faith" - faith without evidence comes about much later and was glorified and made into a virtue mainly through Christianity (and made much worse by concepts such as the leap of faith by kierkegaard )
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05-01-2014, 06:24 AM (This post was last modified: 05-01-2014 06:31 AM by Baruch.)
RE: The Difference Between Believing Something To Be True And Faith
Quote:
Quote:FAITH claims on the other hand are potentially abusive and misleading - they claim knowledge about things which don't have evidence - this is dangerous, especially in medicine. I have seen people die from "faith healing" a number of times for conditions which were treatable with conventional medicine. I call this negligence.

Any form of misplaced trust or confidence is "potentially abusive and misleading".

AGREE.

Quote:
WE MUST REMOVE "FAITH" as being seen as something virtuous. Its an appalling and terrible way of making sense of the world.

Quote:This is tilting at windmills.
Long time since I heard this phrase !
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05-01-2014, 06:31 AM
RE: The Difference Between Believing Something To Be True And Faith
(05-01-2014 05:56 AM)Baruch Wrote:  No Christian claims a 10% reliability that Jesus might have walked on water and call this faith - I,e faith is used as if is certainty in an epistemic claim, a special access to knowledge perhaps via divine intuition or holy ghosts - but lacking in corroborating evidence. If there was evidence it would not be called faith.

That is untrue. Swinburne is widely considered to be one of the best Christian philosphers and he uses Bayes' Theorem in his books (refer The Existence of God and The Resurrection of God Incarnate). Swinburne doesn't assign a probability of 1 to any of his arguments.

You are generalising badly about Christianity. Not all Christians claim that they know because of the Holy Ghost. Certainly some do--e.g. charismatic congregations--but by no means all of them. And those that do claim gifts from the Holy Spirit do say that they know because of some first-hand experience of charisma. The onlookers say they have faith that they are witnessing charisma because they are not themselves experiencing the Holy Ghost.
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