belief, in philosophy, commitment to something, involving intellectual assent. Philosophers have disagreed as to whether belief is active or passive; René Descartes held that it is a matter of will, while David Hume thought that it was an emotional commitment, and C. S. Peirce considered it a habit of action. Compared to faith and probability, the concept of belief has received little attention from philosophers.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.