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Thought Experiment Tuesday: Do we know what knowledge is?

Mercurial

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Traditionally, epistemologists (philosophers who study the concept of knowledge) believed that in order for you to know something, you must have a justified, true belief.

A belief is justified if you have good reason to hold it, but some justified beliefs can nevertheless turn out to be false. (For example, a child may be justified in believing that her pet dog has gone to live on a farm, because she has been deceived by her well-meaning parents.)

A belief is true if it corresponds to the actual facts of the world, but not all true beliefs are justified. (For example, someone who wins the lottery may have believed that he would win before he bought the ticket - while this turned out to be true, it wouldn't have been a justified belief).

Here is an example of a "Gettier case" - named after the American philosopher Edmund Gettier. Gettier cases challenge this traditional account of knowledge:

Bob, a farmer, looks out the window of his house to check on the whereabouts of his favourite cow, Daisy. In the field beyond, Bob sees a black and white shape that looks like Daisy, and so Bob forms the belief that Daisy is indeed in the field.

Bob heads off to milk Daisy, only to discover that what he had thought was daisy, was in fact a large piece of black and white paper that had got caught on a bush. Behind the bush, however, he finds the real Daisy, having a nap.
Does Bob know that Daisy is in the field when he looks out his window? It seems not - his belief is based on the mistaken impression that the paper on the bush was Daisy.

Note however, that Bob's belief turned out to be true (Daisy was in the field) and justified (Bob had good reason to assume that the shape he saw in the field was Daisy - it looked exactly like her from a distance, let's say, and Bob had never encountered any rogue cow-shaped paper in his field before).

If this is right, then Bob had a justified true belief, but Bob didn't have knowledge.

So what is knowledge?
 


talkingshop

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Note however, that Bob's belief turned out to be true (Daisy was in the field) and justified (Bob had good reason to assume that the shape he saw in the field was Daisy - it looked exactly like her from a distance, let's say, and Bob had never encountered any rogue cow-shaped paper in his field before).

If this is right, then Bob had a justified true belief, but Bob didn't have knowledge.

So what is knowledge?
No, that is sleight of hand here. Bob's belief did not turn out to be true - he believed what he saw was a cow, in fact it was a piece of paper.
 

silverharp

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All I see here is a case of human's inbuilt mechanism of pattern recognition based on past experience or expectation. Scientific knowledge on the other hand ought to be testable, taking into account that the tester might have limitations, think Newtonian physics versus Relativity.
 

Toland

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Replace the word "justified" with "well-founded" and the paradox disappears, imo.

His belief that Daisy was in the field may by at least one definition have been justified (i.e. based on reasonable inference), but it certainly wasn't well-founded as it was based on the incorrect belief (however reasonable) that what he saw was Daisy in the distance, and not a piece paper in the shape of Daisy.

So knowledge is true and well-founded belief.
 

RodShaft

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Traditionally, epistemologists (philosophers who study the concept of knowledge) believed that in order for you to know something, you must have a justified, true belief.

A belief is justified if you have good reason to hold it, but some justified beliefs can nevertheless turn out to be false. (For example, a child may be justified in believing that her pet dog has gone to live on a farm, because she has been deceived by her well-meaning parents.)

A belief is true if it corresponds to the actual facts of the world, but not all true beliefs are justified. (For example, someone who wins the lottery may have believed that he would win before he bought the ticket - while this turned out to be true, it wouldn't have been a justified belief).

Here is an example of a "Gettier case" - named after the American philosopher Edmund Gettier. Gettier cases challenge this traditional account of knowledge:



Does Bob know that Daisy is in the field when he looks out his window? It seems not - his belief is based on the mistaken impression that the paper on the bush was Daisy.

Note however, that Bob's belief turned out to be true (Daisy was in the field) and justified (Bob had good reason to assume that the shape he saw in the field was Daisy - it looked exactly like her from a distance, let's say, and Bob had never encountered any rogue cow-shaped paper in his field before).

If this is right, then Bob had a justified true belief, but Bob didn't have knowledge.

So what is knowledge?
Who cares?



Does it work? Grand.


Can I make money at it? Fantastic.


I don't give a flying fúck how many angels are on the head of a pin. Or whether you call it a pin or a needle. Does it fúcking do something useful?
 

RodShaft

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Do we know what knowledge is?

I know stuff!
I told you before, I'm not paying you a red cent. That wasn't me in those pictures!
 

Half Nelson

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All this was extensively covered in the Atheist thread, where a few unholy cows were shown to be made of papier-mâché.
 

Mercurial

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Who cares?



Does it work? Grand.


Can I make money at it? Fantastic.


I don't give a flying fúck how many angels are on the head of a pin. Or whether you call it a pin or a needle. Does it fúcking do something useful?
If you don't care, you could always just not reply to the thread.
 

GDPR

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Traditionally, epistemologists (philosophers who study the concept of knowledge) believed that in order for you to know something, you must have a justified, true belief.

A belief is justified if you have good reason to hold it, but some justified beliefs can nevertheless turn out to be false. (For example, a child may be justified in believing that her pet dog has gone to live on a farm, because she has been deceived by her well-meaning parents.)

A belief is true if it corresponds to the actual facts of the world, but not all true beliefs are justified. (For example, someone who wins the lottery may have believed that he would win before he bought the ticket - while this turned out to be true, it wouldn't have been a justified belief).

Here is an example of a "Gettier case" - named after the American philosopher Edmund Gettier. Gettier cases challenge this traditional account of knowledge:



Does Bob know that Daisy is in the field when he looks out his window? It seems not - his belief is based on the mistaken impression that the paper on the bush was Daisy.

Note however, that Bob's belief turned out to be true (Daisy was in the field) and justified (Bob had good reason to assume that the shape he saw in the field was Daisy - it looked exactly like her from a distance, let's say, and Bob had never encountered any rogue cow-shaped paper in his field before).

If this is right, then Bob had a justified true belief, but Bob didn't have knowledge.

So what is knowledge?
Facts V opinion (belief)
Look at any thread, it'll be 90% + opinion, the rest facts, such is life.
The problems come from some (quite a lot of) people believing their opinion IS fact and they can't tell the difference.
 

RodShaft

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If you don't care, you could always just not reply to the thread.

I'm amazed at you, Merc. Thinking so practically.

Did it hurt?
 

Mercurial

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No, that is sleight of hand here. Bob's belief did not turn out to be true - he believed what he saw was a cow, in fact it was a piece of paper.
He believed that what he saw was a cow (which isn't true) but because of that, he believed that Daisy was in the field (which was true).
 

RodShaft

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Jan 29, 2016
Messages
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Traditionally, epistemologists (philosophers who study the concept of knowledge) believed that in order for you to know something, you must have a justified, true belief.

A belief is justified if you have good reason to hold it, but some justified beliefs can nevertheless turn out to be false. (For example, a child may be justified in believing that her pet dog has gone to live on a farm, because she has been deceived by her well-meaning parents.)

A belief is true if it corresponds to the actual facts of the world, but not all true beliefs are justified. (For example, someone who wins the lottery may have believed that he would win before he bought the ticket - while this turned out to be true, it wouldn't have been a justified belief).

Here is an example of a "Gettier case" - named after the American philosopher Edmund Gettier. Gettier cases challenge this traditional account of knowledge:



Does Bob know that Daisy is in the field when he looks out his window? It seems not - his belief is based on the mistaken impression that the paper on the bush was Daisy.

Note however, that Bob's belief turned out to be true (Daisy was in the field) and justified (Bob had good reason to assume that the shape he saw in the field was Daisy - it looked exactly like her from a distance, let's say, and Bob had never encountered any rogue cow-shaped paper in his field before).

If this is right, then Bob had a justified true belief, but Bob didn't have knowledge.

So what is knowledge?

What I want to know is, where is Alice?

It's all very cryptic.
 

Mercurial

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Replace the word "justified" with "well-founded" and the paradox disappears, imo.

His belief that Daisy was in the field may by at least one definition have been justified (i.e. based on reasonable inference), but it certainly wasn't well-founded as it was based on the incorrect belief (however reasonable) that what he saw was Daisy in the distance, and not a piece paper in the shape of Daisy.

So knowledge is true and well-founded belief.
Can you explain why his belief wasn't well-founded? Above, you say it wasn't well-founded because it was based on a false belief, but if that's what it means for a belief to be well-founded, it looks like you're saying that knowledge is just true belief (but that's implausible).
 

RodShaft

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What was the paper cow's name?
 


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