Prof Maria Rosa Antognazza will be presenting a paper this evening at the Aristotelian Society on The Distinction of Kind between Knowledge and Belief. The presentation, which will be hosted on Zoom, will be available later as a podcast. Both a draft of the paper and a link to the podcast are available here.
The Distinction of Kind between Knowledge and Belief.
Drawing inspiration from a well-attested historical tradition, I propose an account of cognition according to which knowledge is not only conceptually and ontologically prior to belief; it is also, and crucially, not a kind of belief. In turn, believing is not some sort of botched knowing but a mental state fundamentally different from knowing, with its own distinctive and complementary role in our cognitive life. I conclude that the main battle-line in the history of epistemology is drawn between the affirmation of a natural mental state in which there is a contact between ‘mind’ and ‘reality’ (whatever the ontological nature of this ‘reality’), and the rejection of such a natural mental state. For the former position, there is a mental state which is different in kind from belief, and which is constituted by the presence of the object of cognition to the cognitive subject, with no gap between them. For the latter position, all our cognition is belief, and the question becomes how and when belief is permissible.