The Difference Between Believing and Knowing

From Logic

"I don't believe, I know!"
- Carl Jung, when asked about his belief in 'god'


 1 a : to have a firm religious faith b : to accept as true
2 : to have a firm conviction
3 : to hold an opinion


 1 a : to perceive directly : have direct cognition of 
b: to have understanding of
c: to recognize the nature of : DISCERN
(1) : to recognize as being the same as something previously known
(2) to be acquainted or familiar with
(3) : to have experience of
2 a : to be aware of the truth or factuality
b : to have a practical understanding

Believing is holding an opinion. Knowing is to have direct experience, to understand, and to have a practical understanding of some concept.

To further delineate the two different terms, it is important to realize that while one can "make- believe", one cannot "make-know".

Main Entry: [1]make-be┬Ělieve

pretending to believe

One can pretend to believe, because in order to believe, one does not need factual knowledge. You just make it up.

Of course, I suppose it is true that you can "pretend know" - but we usually call this lying.

When one maintains in an argument: "I don't believe, I know", without actually possessing direct cognition of, or evidence for, their proposition, they are in fact using a persuasive defintion (i.e. one that is misleading, which we otherwise refer to as lying. (Literally, pretending to know)

Those following along the Course in Logic 101 should proceed to the next section: Hans Eysenck's Rules of Argument


  • Merriam-Webster Dictionary
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