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Belief as an English word has been used in various ways. In religious contexts it means "faith," whereas in philosophy, cognitive psychology, and most ordinary contexts, "belief" means something broader: something like "accept as true." (Analytic philosophers actually sometimes distinguish belief from acceptance, however.) Accounts of belief also depend on the object of belief. While usually propositions are taken to be the objects of belief, we sometimes also speak of "believing in" a deity (accepting that the deity exists), a person (trusting in the person's reliability), and a cause (supporting a particular value-laden, e.g., political, system of beliefs).

In religious contexts, the word is often restricted to mean religious beliefs, and in such cases the use of the word often implies that what is believed cannot be justified conclusively, but still holds personal and/or social value as valid. See faith and faith and rationality.

In philosophy, historically, attempts to analyze the nature of belief have been couched in terms of judgment (this does not imply "value judgment," however--it means any sort of judgment). David Hume and Immanuel Kant are both particularly well-known for their theories of belief and judgment.

Some beliefs can be propositional knowledge.

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