A Conversation for Defining Terms of Belief

Definitions, belief and reality

Post 1

only asking

Our views regarding belief, faith, certainty and the like are all founded on AGREEMENT. For instance, belief will always be a subjective term because it involves disagreement. Correctness, can be qualified because we all agree to initial ground rules eg:

1 is a base therefore 1 plus 1 equals 2; agreed.

That is a certainty. If not we must redefine and agree to another set of ground rules...then we may count.

To say that this is not a certainty is to say that nothing is a certainty and that reality is in fact TOTALLY subjective. In other words, defining objective reality is really, impossible.

Belief cannot be verified. It is not a thing which can be labelled or qualified. If it matches the ground rules that we all agree upon, THEN we may say that it is a certainty. Even then as we have just said, it will still be a subjective interpretation in the strict sense of the word.

Is an object that hits your head a certainty? Only if we agree that it is.
Perhaps we could do better by equating certainty with reality?

An interesting post concerning definitions of spirit and belief.

A short extract:

'Endorsing both ends of the spectrum, material/spiritual, logical/illogical helps us gather a more complete understanding of the cosmos. That’s where scientists and atheists can fail in their understanding of the spirit - its experiential aspect does not respond to any of the experimental designs of science. They wish to make that which is spiritual, physically apprehensible so they can find it but are trying to apply qualitative and quantitative measurements to something that cannot have these things applied to it.'

Definitions, belief and reality

Post 2

Gone again

smiley - huh I think *disagreement* is a defining characteristic of such things as belief and faith, isn't it? Certainty, to me, makes a strange bedfellow for 'belief' and 'faith'.

I think belief is a subjective term because it describes a subjective thing. smiley - winkeye That is, something that is dependent for its truth on the person(s) who believe whatever it is. Something objective - leaving aside human's inability to objectively verify an objective statement - is not dependent for its truth on those who believe; if it *is* true (correct), then it is true for everyone and everything.

The result of adding one and one is *defined* to be true, within the definitions of the terms "one", "two", the process of addition and the concept of number. Certainty doesn't really apply here, does it?

Yes, that's about the long and short of it, although I consider that an unhelpful way of expressing it. I suppose one could *define* objective reality: the concept is not difficult to grasp. But if one is human, graced with perception that is not objective, then one has no (objective) means of verifying an objective claim. And if you can't *verify* an objective truth....

This confuses me a little. I have observed in my life in the real world that people believe things. In this sense, I have verified belief; people have and display it. As to *what* they believe, well I expect that if I investigated the things people believe, I would agree with (believe in) some of them, but not others.

In most cases, 'belief' describes a situation where someone choses to accept something as true when there is no conclusive evidence one way or the other. It is not subject to 'verification', that is to confirmation (or not) of its (objective?) truth. I see no problem in labelling or qualifying either belief or the thing which is believed, although how useful it would be to do these things I'm not sure. smiley - smiley

So consensus makes certainty? Odd that. Only a few hundred years ago, the people of the world were united in their belief that the world is flat, so it must have been certain. smiley - doh So reality itself must've changed in line with our discovery that the world is round. Remarkable! smiley - biggrin Perhaps, as the probability functions collapsed, and the new world coalesced from the chaos, we actually invented and created the universe in which we now believe? smiley - winkeye

Subjective certainty? Sorry, try as I might I can squeeze no sensible meaning from that. smiley - erm 'Oxymoron' is the word that springs to mind! smiley - smiley

No, it's an object. You can't be hit on the head by a concept ("certainty"), only by an instance of such a concept, such as an apple or a brick. And if such a thing should bounce off your skull, I doubt you would require agreement in order to recognise the fact. Certainty is the belief that one is correct beyond any possibility of doubt or inaccuracy. Reality is the place we live in. What have they in common?


"Who cares, wins"

Definitions, belief and reality

Post 3

only asking

I don’t think so. If somebody says that 1+1 does not equal 2, then we can only say that they are incorrect from the definition of our ground rules.

If we can’t apply certainty to something that we all agree upon as a definition of reality then what can we apply certainty to? …Factual circumstance perhaps? That is still only made from verification with regard to subjective definitions already agreed upon.
Because reality is subjective, (personally interpretable) as such, there must be definition first before we can use the concept of certainty. Otherwise we are saying that certainty is a universal absolute inherently known by all things. What this implies is that certainty could therefore be the basis for determining objective reality. That being the case, we would then have to assume that; reality can be equated with certainty. Other than that, I say that only through definition (agreement) can we create the concept of certainty.
This implies that to be certain about something you must have the ground rules setup firstly to define benchmarks of correctness i.e. agreement.

I think what I should have said, was ‘beliefs’ rather than the definition of belief itself. As in what we believe ‘in’. So I think what you’ve written in reply is what I am trying to say!

(Initial aside: That’s not such a mad idea believe it or not. The quantum ‘Cat in the box’ theory says that the state of the cat inside the box is indeterminate until we open it. I mean that’s *science* talking! not a spiritualist like myself.)

Yes, consensus does define certainty, but not reality. I think that you are trying to say that certainty is an absolute concept rather than a subjective one. The world was perceived to be flat and that idea was then, a certainty. It was from our perspective now however, not a reality.

How can it be anything else? Again, we cannot assume that certainty is an absolute concept, which is why I regard it as being founded on agreement. My interpretation of what you are trying to say is that certainty is a concept that needs no fundamental agreement in its foundation. My contention is that we need to go through the logical ground rules needed to satisfy the prerequisites of certainty to begin with before we initiate any belief associated with it. That is where we encounter subjective definitions. If you do not go through this process then you may remove the aspect of certainty to leave only a belief. In other words, without agreement in its constitution, certainty will be rendered a redundant concept. Certainty and belief are not interchangeable in a general sense.
Eg: In the two statements:

I am certain that this brick is red.
I believe that this brick is red.

The first is subjective. We need to define red to begin with and red will then always have our subjective interpretation applied to it. Colour blindness will prove this or animals that see only black and white (if we could talk to them).
The second would require no agreement because belief itself needs none. We do not even need to know what red is for this to still be a valid statement. It could even be ‘I believe that this brick is a rock’ and we still need no agreement.

I’m not expressing what I want to say correctly here. You’re correct. What I meant to say is:

‘Is an object that hits your head certainly real?’ Only if we agree upon what certainty is
i.e. only if we agree upon the definitions that certainty has been constructed from.

To substitute your definition then:

I believe that this brick is red and that I am correct beyond any possibility of doubt or inaccuracy. -->Needs no agreement --> Certainty has been rendered redundant

Certainty (to be strict 100% certainty) is a concept that contains agreement in its foundation and is a metric for definition of reality.

Reading your conversations simply lead me to pose the question that perhaps equating certainty with reality might be better than that of belief and certainty.
If something is an actuality then we can be certain that it exists. If it exists then it forms part of reality. Certainty (rather than belief of something’s certainty) can then be intrinsically associated with reality.

smiley - smileyI admit that I do not translate what I am thinking perfectly smiley - ermand this type of site helps our abilities, mine with expressing myself with more clarity quickly. smiley - hugI found another person who showed me this by the way they dissected my ideas. I must admit however that errors and quick typing of thoughts happen in these conversations.smiley - ermsmiley - blush

Definitions, belief and reality

Post 4

Gone again

Although the definition of many words that we use is open to interpretation, I thought that 'certainty' was mostly agreed upon. smiley - sorry

It's becoming clear that your definition of certainty is not the same as mine. It also appears that the dictionaries to which I have access are not in harmony with you either. Sorry, I can't see how I can continue this discussion, when your idea of certainty is so different from what I have been writing about.

Don't you think I knew that when I wrote it? Did you think it was a huge coincidence that my silly idea suddenly appeared barely plausible? Give me a little credit, if you please? smiley - winkeye


"Who cares, wins"

Definitions, belief and reality

Post 5

only asking

This is called learning!smiley - wahsmiley - biggrin

We all have ideas that cannot be expressed properly because we use different personal conatations and definitions.smiley - erm That's why a dictionary is a basis for relation.smiley - hug

As I've said, I do not express myself nearly as clearly as I would like to but relating and seeing other people's ideas allows me the opportunity to increase the resolution of my ideas person to person and from a different perspective.smiley - cheers

My hope is that I can help you somehow increase the translational effectiveness of your ideas from mind to communication. It is more than likely that your ideas, like mine, have internal cohesiveness but this is not protrayed in the way we express ourselves.

On the other hand, other people translate perfectly what they wish to say however they lack spurious initiative or inspiration of higher mind. They can get involved in sticking to current theories and ways of thinking.smiley - scientist

A strictly dictionary correct set of definitions may not provide us with any greater understanding of concepts outside of its realm. It will enhance our ability to converse ideas more effectively but we still need to translate our higher thoughtssmiley - magic and ingenuity back to the real world, a hard thing.smiley - erm

I think your works are good.smiley - cool Keep going!smiley - ok

Key: Complain about this post

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more