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Belief, confidence, knowledge and counting gumballs

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by Curious George, Mar 6, 2019.

  1. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    Let it suffice to say that when one earnestly discusses gumballs they are rarely just discussing gumballs.

    My questions here concern belief. What constitutes belief. How we acquire belief. How we distinguish belief from knowledge. How we distinguish belief from non-belief.

    If we are given a jar of gumballs and then asked whether we believe there an even number of gumballs most of us would say no.

    Does this then entail that we believe number of gumballs are not even? Again most would agree, no. We are at a point where the liklihood, from our perception, of either, odd or even, is equal. In that state where we believe neither, while knowing one of the two options must be true we can say we have a belief. We can say that we believe either, even or odd, is possibly correct.

    So I am curious. At what point does this change? Say we observe many different colors of gumballs but we note that we only observe two gumballs of each specific color. Is this is evidence enough to push us toward belief?

    Perhaps we are given the opinions of people we trust. Say our mother and father. Perhaps we are told that reputable and intelligent men and women believe the number to be even. Is this, paired with our earlier observation, enough for belief?

    Perhaps we are even given a demonstration where the balls are dropped one by one, though rather quickly, into the jar. After counting we reach a number, say 42. Is this sufficient?

    Now belief that something is or is not the case is mutually exclusive. Perhaps for this reason, we must add another layer of discussion. We must discuss confidence. While we often believe something is or is not the case, our confidence in such beliefs varies dramatically. Sometimes we claim absolute certainty; other times we claim justification of our beliefs rests on the preponderance of the evidence.

    Given our gumball scenario, we could say that various bits of evidence increase or decrease the confidence in our belief.

    Our confidence becomes most apparent when there are stakes. If our question of whether the number of gumballs is even, is instead viewed as a gamble, it is our confidence in conjunction with the consequence/reward that adjusts whether or not we place the bet.

    Even at equal odds if there is no detriment to guessing incorrectly, we will take a guess if the reward is appealing. As the detriment increases, our confidence or lack of confidence in our belief alters our willingness to engage in such a bet. This lack of willingness, however, bears no relation to whether we have a belief or not. Instead, it is a reflection of our confidence in our belief and the consequences/rewards of the bet.

    Is that how you see belief? What constitutes belief. How we acquire belief. How we distinguish belief from knowledge. How we distinguish belief from non-belief.
     
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  2. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Tail Wagger
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    Suppose that you are one of the founders of a new company. Do you believe you can accomplish something or not? If you don't believe you can then you cannot. Suppose you successfully built a business. You did not know that your business would succeed beforehand, but you acted as if you did in order to make it happen. If you want to build a house you must believe that you can do it. Once the house has been built then you no longer need to believe it can be built. If a thing has been realized you no longer need to believe in it. If you say that you believe you will have a successful business what you are telling me is that you don't, yet.

    If there is a prize for guessing, then you make a choice; but that is not the same as belief I think. Belief that accomplishes something is different from an arbitrary choice. Its not a whim.

    That is closer to how I see it, but confidence and belief are not the same. Belief is the power to change. You can move the mountain with a spoon if you believe you can and take enough scoops. That is different from expecting the mountain to move itself, which is not really belief since it requires no investment.
     
  3. Skwim

    Skwim Veteran Member

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    Or we could simply be saying, "I don't know."

    Belief in what?

    Pretty much depends on why these intelligent men and women believe the number to be even.

    Perhaps. It would depend on how much confidence we have in our observation.

    An acceptance of likelihood.

    .
     
  4. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    I would question why you founded a company if you did not.
    I disagree with the essence statement. Believing that you cannot or will not achieve some end does not necessitate being unable to achieve that end. (Hopefully that wasn't too many negatives to follow).

    At what point does arbitrary choice move to belief. That is what I am looking to pinpoint.
     
  5. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    Lack of knowledge is not lack of belief. The phrase "i don't know" is tossed around a lot. What exactly does it mean in this instance and in relation to belief?
    That the gumballs are even in number. Was that hard to follow?
    For whatever various reasons they do.
    You seem to think that confidence controls belief. Can you explain how?
    That is an interesting definition. What does that mean.
     
  6. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Tail Wagger
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    You may have a million dollars to invest, but if you don't think you can create a successful business then that million will not create a business by itself. It takes your creative action, and your creative action is a belief.
    I think its when you perform a creative act. You may not know what the canvas will look like, but you put the brush on it and move your hand thus believing in the painting.
     
  7. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    Beliefs are for testing to see if there is any basis for those beliefs. A belief without basis is inoperable. Confidence in a belief requires a good, sound basis for putting it to the tests, where further tests are required. Til it be known all you can do is test for it.

    I have a confident belief in some sort of spiritual nature underlying reality, but i truly dont know if this is so. Since there is no way to test my belief, and will probably never be a way to do that i have to accept never knowing for sure. I am certain i have basis for my belief though. So i live in accordance with my belief as it harms no one and it benefits me as i choose to live.

    I certainly know the consequences of being wrong, and that is that we all cease to exist someday. Knowing that, i see no harm in my belief. It fits my motivations regardless of the actual outcome, and it doesnt interfere with how i approach reality.

    Beliefs can be detrimental though. Its best for me not to make assumptions about beliefs and keep an open mind.

    I really cant pick or choose my beliefs, so i am stuck with what i got.
     
  8. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    I certainly agree with this.

    So what does it mean to believe something is or is not the case? How can we establish when we have a belief?
     
  9. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    Yes but is that creative action contingent on belief? I can throw a ball toward a hoop with a belief that I will miss. That doesn't mean I will miss.

    This is not clear. Can you explain more or differently?
     
  10. osgart

    osgart Nothing my eye, Something for sure

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    I can be totally certain in my know that something is the case, and be wrong.

    It would be just as interesting to know what the criteria is for truly knowing something.

    Belief is done on an individual basis. Others know and i only believe for or against the knowings. But a common experience of a tree is knowledge. I dont have to believe it is a tree when i know it.

    I like to stick to practicality and usefulness in a belief or a know.

    Belief is like trust and can be blind or informed.

    When someone says that they do not know and only believe i just take that at face value. They have their own criteria of establishing or denying a belief.

    My question is, Is there a standardized universally accepted method for determining when there is only belief vs.knowledge?

    I could study logic, and discipline myself that way. But there is going to be still uniqueness in how one establishes a belief as belief.
     
  11. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    That is because truth or falsity is not contingent on ones certainty.
    I agree. I think there are some threads about knowledge floating around the forums. They pop up now and again.
    Different type of knowledge. Generally there are considered 3 types of knowledge. Being acquainted is one type. Here, though I did nit make it obvious, I am discussing propositional knowledge.
    Generally something must be at least a justified true belief in order to be considered knowledge.

    If it does not meet those three points, it is not considered knowledge.
     
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  12. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Tail Wagger
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    ...nor that you will succeed either. You throw, and you either believe you will miss or not. The difference is not throwing.
    Are you asking for an opinion? I gave my opinion. What is not clear?
     
  13. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    Hence, achieving some end is not controlled by whether or not one believes.
    Yes, I am asking your opinion. What is not clear is how this distinguishes an arbitrary act from belief.

    To give context we were discussing belief in whether the gumballs were even in number. I asked you to distinguish between an arbitrary choice and belief. I am not clear how what you said does that.
     
  14. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Tail Wagger
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    I disagreed with your premise that belief was arbitrary and instead involved a creative action, an effort, a choice. Deciding on odd or even #s of gumballs is only belief if it involves a creative action, which your example of choosing gumball even/oddness does not require except the part about a bet. Making a bet is creative. At that point you have asserted some belief in an outcome. In a way you have influenced the outcome, too; and that is what belief is about.
     
  15. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    I do not think I was suggesting that belief was arbitrary at all. But you disagree whether it is possible to have a belief regarding whether the gumballs are even or odd in number unless you bet?
     
  16. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Tail Wagger
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    Yes. In my opinion simply thinking that they are even or odd does not amount to belief. It is non-committal like making an observation of an established fact.
     
  17. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    How do you square that with knowledge that is a type of belief then?

    This wound entail either a different definition of knowledge than justified true belief.
     
  18. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Tail Wagger
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    Knowledge that is not being acted upon does not count as belief. Its just knowledge. Suppose you don't see the ocean but believe you are driving towards it. That is knowledge being acted upon and shows belief in the ocean, but suppose you are staring at the actual ocean or are standing in it. Then you see it in front of you with no belief involved. Its simply there no belief necessary to reach it, yet you have knowledge of the ocean.

    Knowledge is justified through evidences, but you still might not believe it. Its like knowing that you ought to be looking for a better job but not actually doing so. You know you should, but you aren't acting on the knowledge. You don't believe it.
     
  19. MonkeyFire

    MonkeyFire Well-Known Member

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    Its something your born with. There is one inherent FAITH everyonelse must get through love and friendship.
     
    #19 MonkeyFire, Mar 6, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2019
  20. Curious George

    Curious George Veteran Member

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    Why do you think action is necessary for belief.

    You haven't really explained what kniwledge is if it is not justified true belief. You have said it is justified but that is all.
     
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