Knowledge requires belief – and it doesn’t? On belief as such and belief necessary for knowledge

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ABSTRACTDoes knowledge entail belief? This paper argues that the answer depends on how one interprets ‘belief’. There are two different notions of belief: belief as such and belief for knowledge. They often differ in their degrees of conviction such that one but not both might be present in a particular case. The core of the paper is dedicated to a defense of this overlooked distinction. The beginning of the paper presents the distinction. It then presents two cases which are supposed to back up the claim that there is an important distinction here; I also offer some explanations concerning the structure of these cases. Finally, I add further considerations in support of the core thesis, and discuss objections. The distinction is important as such but also has interesting implications concerning the much discussed ‘entailment thesis’ according to which knowledge entails belief. It is argued here that even if knowledge entails belief-for-knowledge, it does not entail belief-as-such. This constitutes an interesting middle position and compromise in the philosophical debate about the entailment thesis. One further implication of this paper is that the discussion about the entailment thesis needs to take degrees of conviction seriously. Still another implication is that epistemic contextualists can deal very well with the relevant phenomena.
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Archival date: 2019-03-11
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