Santini wrote:. . . is not the definition of "fact" that you use in these kinds of discussions what is?
I'm not sure what you mean by "these kinds of discussions". This particular discussion is specifically about the nature of knowledge, belief, evidence and fact. In most other discussions a broad range of things are accepted as facts so that the discussion doesn't get bogged down in endless qualification. I will also refer to a lot of things I have no personal knowledge of as "facts" in the spirit by which others use the term "fact" so as to not compound the difficulty of such arguments.
IOW, I agree to postulate many commonly-accepted facts without argument for the convenience of the topic being debated - unless, of course, such "facts" are simply asserted as a means to win the argument by an appeal to common belief.
However, when one is specifically arguing about the nature of knowledge, evidence, belief and facts, a more critical examination of those terms is required. In this discussion, which is about how people come to beliefs and knowledge, I hold a more critical definition of the term "fact", which one can find at dictionary.com:
dictionary.com wrote:3: a truth known by actual experience or observation; something known to be true
Santini wrote:You don't need a reason to "adopt" a belief because no one consciously "adopts" beliefs in the first place.
You're wrong. I do.
Beliefs are merely propositions that one considers to be accurate descriptions of the world. No one decides consciously to adopt the belief that the world is flat, for example. One either believes that the proposition "The earth is flat" accurately describes the world or not.
That may be how you come to your beliefs, but since I don't base my beliefs on evidence, I'm free to believe whatever I wish. Here's an example of a belief I invented: whenever I spend money in good faith and it appears to be wasted, it will return to me in some fashion six fold.
However, I agree that most people do not choose what they believe because most people don't have free will; they are programmed automatons that believe whatever their program dictates.
It's just a plain fact that you either have the belief that, for example, Abraham Lincoln was the 16th president of the US or you don't. I'll bet that you do have that belief even though you might deny it for obvious reasons.
When information which sufficiently contradicts your view is simply waved away as either a lie or mistaken, one is exhibiting confirmation bias.
While in normal conversation or debate I don't bring such things up because it would probably derail the conversation, I have a fairly strict personal formula when it comes to truth, knowledge, facts, and beliefs.
1. Knowledge, truth, and facts only refer to things I directly experience.
2. Belief is adopting a particular functioning, practical perspective about the unexperienced qualities, nature or conditions of those things I directly experience.
3. Evidence is a logical interpretation of and inference from facts used to support one's beliefs. Some of my beliefs can be supported via evidence and some cannot, but none of my beliefs (that I'm aware of) are held because
evidence convinced me.
Please note that for most people, belief is something they consider to be "true", but in my philosophy, truth is a commodity that can only apply to directly experienced phenomena, so when I "believe" something, it isn't because I hold it as true, but rather because it serves some practical function in my life to interpret experienced phenomena that way.