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Is accepting a proposition the same thing as believing it? Whilst there is no general distinction signalled by the words, philosophers have been led to distinguish acceptance from belief for various reasons. The lottery paradox may be approached by saying that whilst one accepts that an arbitrary ticket will not win, one cannot be said to believe that it will not, thereby avoiding the pitfall of having an inconsistent set of beliefs. In the philosophy of science a variety of anti-realist positions may counsel one to accept a scientific theory, for instance in order to predict and control nature, or in the spirit of open-minded conjecture, without going so far as to believe it. The central difficulty in such recommendations is defining exactly what one is supposed not to do; in other words, saying what is distinctive about belief as opposed to the supposedly lesser and legitimate acceptance. See constructive empiricism.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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