Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences Between Belief and Knowledge

Belief vs Knowledge

Perhaps you wondered why during your philosophy class the subject matter for trying to differentiate trivial things occurred. Even if the topic was not debatable, it became an issue in philosophy. Maybe that is how things work out. Even simple things become complicated when you relate it through philosophy. Hence, in this article, we will be differentiating two terms which are also often used in philosophy – “belief” and “knowledge.”

Without digging deeper into the meaning of each term, we can define “belief” as “one’s principles” while “knowledge” can be defined as a set of facts. However, if you try to pound your brain more, we can infer that knowledge can originate from a set of justified beliefs. So how can we differentiate between “belief” from “knowledge”? Let’s find out.

According to my research, a belief is the subjective requirement for knowledge. This means that a belief is a biased and personal judgment. However, if we have laid proof or evidence, this belief can be considered as knowledge. In other words, a belief can be a certain knowledge. In the Belief-Knowledge Continuum, there are varying levels of belief. If the “belief” has reached a +10, it will now be considered as certain knowledge. If it does not, it will only stay as a belief.

There are three kinds of belief – vague, well-supported, and beyond a reasonable doubt. We can say that a belief is vague when there are no concrete, supporting statements. For example, “Eating nuts can make you smart.” If we will look at the statement alone, this is just a vague belief – no concrete, supporting statements can help prove that eating nuts can make a person smart. In a well-supported belief, you cannot rule out a certain notion. For example, you believed that the test was hard since you got a failing mark. We cannot rule out that the test was hard since you got failing marks. As for the belief beyond a reasonable doubt, we cannot say it’s a fact unless we’re the ones who experienced it ourselves. For example, “The lady saw the World Trade Center collapse.” It was a fact, but we’re still not certain.

So what is knowledge? “Knowledge” is defined as “justified, true belief.” In order to “know,” we have our emotions, reason, perception and knowledge. According to Plato’s Theory of Knowledge, there will be knowledge as long as there is a justifiable truth and belief. We can say that Plato’s Theory of Knowledge and the Belief-Knowledge Continuum coincide with one another. Truth is the objective requirement for knowledge. However, if you just believe that something is true, it does not always make what you believe true.

As we continue to grow, we always gain secondhand knowledge. This secondhand knowledge can be derived from our cultural traditions. In our own culture, there are certain things we must know and learn. Other sources of secondhand knowledge are: school, Internet, expert opinions, and the news media. As long as they are around, our knowledge will continue to stack and pile.


  1. A belief is the subjective requirement for knowledge.

  2. “Knowledge” is defined as “justified true belief.”

  3. In other words, a belief can be considered knowledge as long as it is a justified truth. This notion is also supported by the Belief-Knowledge Continuum and by Plato’s Theory of Knowledge.

  4. There are three types of belief – vague belief, well-supported belief, and belief beyond a reasonable doubt.

  5. Truth also plays an important role in the justification of belief. “Truth” is defined as “the objective requirement for knowledge.”

  6. As long as a particular belief is justified, it is considered to be knowledge.


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  1. belief is perspective-based, knowledge transcends personal/cultural/religious perspectives and is fact.

  2. Belief in the religious sense generally means Blind belief without supporting certified facts. It appears that most people cannot or will not get past this point, either through successful indoctrination or fear. Plus there is the comfort factor which backscup the belief. Freud called this Wish fulfillment!
    Those fortunate to apply critical thinking plus logic, get past this point and embrace life with a new energy and enjoyment.
    To throw off the shackles of indoctrination is empowerment indeed!

  3. Thanks for the explanation

  4. 1. Why is the philosophical definition of belief differ from the common academic version?
    2. Why does the same seem to equate knowledge with truth (which is different from the common definition)?
    3. Why is knowledge equated with justification?

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