Assumptions and Beliefs

Both assumption and belief refer to an idea or proposition that an individual accepts, either tentatively or with confidence, as an accurate representation of reality. Although belief and assumption tend to be used interchangeably, they are different in meaning, and the differences are significant. Of these two terms, assumption is the more important one for interculturalists. This entry will distinguish between assumptions and beliefs and relate the concepts to intercultural competence.

The Meanings of Belief

The meaning of belief has been debated by generations of philosophers and psychologists, and more recently by neuroscientists. Much of this debate need not concern the interculturalist, but some of their insights and distinctions are useful.

Belief has been distinguished from knowledge for millennia. Plato, in his dialogue Theaetetus, suggested that knowledge is ...

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