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7.3.1. Belief, Knowledge, and Academic Knowledge

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Academic knowledge is the body of knowledge resulting from collective academic inquiry in academia, the communities of scholars engaged in research. It is accepted as knowledge by those employed in educational or research institutions, and students acquire it, typically through classroom instruction and textbooks. Other forms of knowledge include common sense knowledge, personal knowledge, and certain categories of traditional or religious knowledge.

Knowledge is a specific form of belief.
If I say “I know that Zeno is five feet eleven inches tall,” it has to be the case that I believe that Zeno is five feet eleven inches tall. Not all forms of belief, however, constitute knowledge. Forms of belief that do not qualify as knowledge include opinion, faith, superstition, mythology, and delusion, just to name a few. (In this discussion, “faith” refers to the belief in the truth of a proposition, not the trust in a person—as in “I have faith in you”—or a practice—as in “Zeno has absolute faith in the efficacy of crystal therapy.”)

There are two contrasts we have alluded to above. One is the distinction between knowledge on the one hand, and beliefs such as opinion and faith which may not constitute knowledge. The other distinction is between the academic and the non-academic. These distinctions results in a potential picture such as the following:

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Given this picture, a clear understanding of the nature of academic knowledge calls for an exploration of the place of academic knowledge against the backdrop of the other kinds of beliefs pointed to above.

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