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Andreas Johansson scripsit:

> I would make make a three-way distinction between to believe in
> something, to disbelieve in something, and to have no certain
> opinion on the matter. "To doubt something" could be used for the
> third alternative, but might perhaps better not, since it's usage in
> not-technical speech tend to suggest being closer to disbelief.

To take a simple concrete example:

I believe that (either there is life on Jupiter or there isn't);
it is false that I believe there is life on Jupiter;
it is false that I believe there is no life on Jupiter.

I don't think this can reasonably be called either doubt or disbelief;
rather it is simply a condition of having no opinion whatsoever.

> "To not doubt something", in normal speech, does indeed mean to believe it,
> illogical as that may be.

The participants in this debate should go and learn a loglang forthwith;
then they may still not understand what is meant, but there will be no
doubt about what is said.

> > Disbelieving is believing something does *not* exist. Doubting is merely
> > being unsure, and seeing no compelling evidence to believe.

I think that this is an unusual use of "doubt"; it is rather unbelief
but not absolute unbelief.  I doubt that there are fairies; I believe
that there are no fairies, but I am willing to be convinced by evidence
otherwise.  It would be absurd to say that I doubt that 2+2=5, and
misleading to say that I doubt there is life on Jupiter, since that
would suggest that I am weighted toward believing there is none,
which is not the case.

--
John Cowan                                <[log in to unmask]>
http://www.reutershealth.com              http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
Yakka foob mog.  Grug pubbawup zink wattoom gazork.  Chumble spuzz.
    -- Calvin, giving Newton's First Law "in his own words"