Knowledge and Belief

  • Robert J. Ackermann
Part of the Problems in Philosophy book series (PRPH)


In order to facilitate discussion of the relationship between knowing that and conscious or rational belief, we now explicitly introduce a prefix Ka which will have similar syntactic properties in formulae abstracting knowledge claims as the prefix Ba has for formulae abstracting belief claims. Having introduced such an operator, we can see immediately that the following pair of formulae do not abstract logical truths for any pair of claims, where p abstracts some factual sentence:
  1. (1)


  2. (2)


That (1) is false for rational human belief is sufficiently obvious given our previous discussion. But we may well raise the question whether (2) should be considered as a postulate in defining a relationship between knowledge and belief for rational agents. According to the partial analysis of knowledge offered in the last chapter, if it is true of a rational agent that he knows that p, then he will also believe that p, since he can answer any relevant non-metaphysical objection to p and therefore has sufficient reason to believe p. (2) is then true of a rational agent given what we have said about knowledge and belief to this point. That (2) is true of a rational agent seems to be agreed by most of the philosophers who have proposed any analysis of knowledge.


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Copyright information

© Robert John Ackermann 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Ackermann
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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