To believe is to believe true


  • Howard Sankey University of Melbourne



It is argued that to believe is to believe true. That is, when one believes a proposition  one thereby believes the proposition to be true. This is a point about what it is to believe  rather than about the aim of belief or the standard of correctness for belief. The point that  to believe is to believe true appears to be an analytic truth about the concept of belief. It  also appears to be essential to the state of belief that to believe is to believe true. This is  not just a contingent fact about our ordinary psychology, since even a non-ordinary believer  must believe a proposition that they believe to be true. Nor is the idea that one may accept a  theory as empirically adequate rather than as true a counter-example, since such acceptance  combines belief in the truth of the observational claims of a theory with suspension of belief  with respect to the non-observational claims of a theory. Nor is the fact that to believe is to  believe true to be explained in terms of an inference governed by the T-scheme from the belief  that P to the belief that P is true, since there is no inference from the former to the latter. To believe that P just is to believe that P is true.

Author Biography

Howard Sankey, University of Melbourne

Associate Professor, Philosophy 


van Fraassen, Bas, The Scientific Image, Oxford University Press, 1980