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What is the difference between the statements "I believe x is true" and "I suspect x is true"?

To my mind they are both statements about what is known. However, the former seems to rely on faith to bridge the gap between our limited certainty and the complete certainty we often think is required to know something, whilst the later eschews faith.

So my questions are:

  • Are suspicions distinct from beliefs?
  • Does a justified true suspicion count as knowledge?
  • Which philosopher's works can I read to learn more about a theory of knowledge based on suspicions, not beliefs?
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What is the difference between the statements "I believe x is true" and "I suspect x is true"?

a simple answer would be that belief implies conviction, whereas suspicion is a consideration that something may be the case while withholding judgement.

Are suspicions distinct from beliefs?

if i was in conversation with someone, would it be the same thing to say 'i believe you' and 'i suspect you are telling the truth' ? would the placebo and nocebo effects function the same if it were the case that people merely had a suspicion they had been cured/poisoned?

Which philosopher's works can I read to learn more about a theory of knowledge based on suspicions, not beliefs?

i can think of none, however what you describe does sound close to a skeptical theory of knowledge

also welcome :)

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  • Yet when we say "I strongly suspect that..." it seems conviction can apply to suspicions too. Granted suspicions differ to normal beliefs, but my question is really are they a peculiar type of belief (perhaps the beliefs of Pyrrhonian skeptics that they have witheld assent for?) or not beliefs at all? Thanks for the response & the link. Jun 26 '12 at 2:43
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I suspe...

I presume the closet type of reasoner who would use "I suspect x is true" is Peculiar Reasoner. As the article notes:

A peculiar reasoner believes proposition p while also believing he or she does not believe p. Although a peculiar reasoner may seem like a strange psychological phenomenon (see Moore's paradox), a peculiar reasoner is necessarily inaccurate but not necessarily inconsistent.

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Suspicion is oriented toward questioning beliefs and, as such, is closely related to criticism. It points to uncertainty, in a way this may be considered a kind of knowledge, but it is a sort of "negative" knowledge without positive answers. Maybe some critic work may end up breeding new propositions, but it is not immune to suffering what it has done to others.

Paul Ricoeur considered that Marx, Nietzsche and Freud could be grouped in what he called "hermeneutics of suspicion". You may find an article on this subject here: http://ptw.uchicago.edu/Leiter11.pdf

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