Hi, r/philosophy. My friend and I were having a discussion about belief and ultimately disagreed on what it means to have belief in something. I seem to recall some arguments in my philosophy 101 class that touched on this. Can you provide some further reading for us both?

My friend's position was that once something is proven to be true, you no longer believe it; instead, you know it. My position is that ultimately you must have a foundational belief (such as "my experiences in this world are true") and all knowledge that you gain is built upon such a foundation of belief.

To the typical way of stating, a belief is any proposition which you affirm. For example "it is raining outside." And some of our beliefs count as knowledge. The technical details of what makes a belief count as knowledge are disputed, but usually it's taken to have something to do with justification. So I have good reasons which justify my belief that "it is raining outside", then we might, accordingly, regard this as a piece of knowledge. In this case, it's both a belief and a piece of knowledge.

My friend's position is that even if this situation were to happen to him, he would remain an atheist, because even though he would know God exists, he would not believe in him.

Yeah, to the typical way of speaking, this doesn't really make any sense: presumably your friend affirms the proposition "God exists", but then he has this as a belief. It doesn't stop being a belief when it is justified (or when whatever criteria are met which we take as sufficient for knowledge, if we think this requires more or something other than justification).

According to him, "a belief is an acceptance of something as true without proof or evidence, so therefore once proof is provided it is knowledge, not belief."

Your friend can of course stipulate that a word means whatever s/he wishes it to mean, but this isn't the way we usually understand this word.

My google-fu has led me to the conclusion that this is related to epistemology, with my stance being related to foundationalism.

I think the issue here is more basic, just having to do with the definition of these terms.

Foundationalism is a theory about justification, which maintains that the truth of some beliefs is self-evident or intrinsic or indubitable, and these beliefs then provide a foundation from which to infer other beliefs--or something like this.

I'm unsure exactly where his stance is, but it seems strongly tied to rationalism or empiricism.

It seems to me that he's just using these words in a peculiar way; it doesn't really have anything to do with rationalism or empiricism.

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