KNOWLEDGE

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					KNOWLEDGE
 What is it?                   How do we acquire it?
 How does it differ from       What is its scope – how
  belief?                        far does it extend?
 What is the relationship
                                Is it necessary to be able
                                 to convince someone
  between knowledge and          else that what I claim as
  truth?                         an item of knowledge is
 These are the concerns          more than mere belief?
  of epistemology
Knowledge
Definitions (1)

[1] How about knowledge as something more
  certain than mere belief? When we are in an
  infallible state of mind?
But, there are counter-instances where despite
  being convinced we are later shown to be
  wrong by newly emerging facts.
Should we therefore ground knowledge in
  objective reality not subjective belief?
You can always count on a Greek
for a point of view in philosophy

 And usually this
 is PLATO
Knowledge
Definitions (2)

[2] Have knowledge and belief different objects?
  Plato at one point held something like this.
  Later he seems to say that to know something
  is to believe it and provide an adequate
  account – an analysis or definition of essential
  features.

 So, is knowledge equal to belief plus
 understanding?
Mind you, Plato isn’t the only top
Greek philosopher

 There is always
 Aristotle if you
 are looking for a
 second opinion
Knowledge
Definitions (3)

   Whereas Plato seemed not to be interested in
    justification or certainty, Aristotle perhaps was.
   Aristotle (uncritically) recognised the given of
    sense-data and the notion of causes as
    certain. Knowledge of a particular thing
    presupposes a quest for an explanation or
    ‘ultimate’ cause.
Knowledge
Definitions (4)

   A.J. Ayer (1910-89) holds along with many
    modern philosophers that knowledge and belief
    have the same objects.
   His definition:
    Knowledge is justified true belief.
TRUTH
theories about truth

   Several views are current on the issue of
    ‘Pilate’s question’

   PRAGMATIC THEORY
   COHERENCE THEORY
   CORRESPONDANCE THEORY
   REDUNDANCY THEORY
PRAGMATISM


   US philosophers Charles Pierce (1839-1914) &
    William James (1842-1910).
   “True ideas are those that we can assimilate,
    validate, corroborate and verify. False ideas
    are those we cannot.” - James
   “it is useful because it is true….it is true
    because it is useful” - James
American pragmatists were all the
rage at the turn of the century

 This is Charles
  Sanders Pierce
 You should be
  aware too of the
  importance of
  John Dewey and
  of William James
Mind you, not everyone was a fan
of pragmatism

                    For example our
                     own, our very
                     own, Bertrand
                     Russell.
PRAGMATISM
objections

Many of these made by Bertrand Russell:
 The notion of ‘works for me/us’ is ambiguous.
 In everyday discourse we distinguish between
  ‘useful’ & ‘truth’. James is redefining these
  terms in his identification of one with the other.
 ‘Working for us’ is problematic because it is
  almost impossible to determine the
  consequences of holding a particular belief.
Back in the 19th cc Idealists were all
the rage

                      One of the top
                       men was the
                       unique figure of
                       George Hegel
                       whose writings are
                       not always
                       transparent!
COHERENCE


 Advocated      by 18th&19th cc idealists
  such as G.W.F.Hegel & F.H.Bradley.
 A statement is true if it ‘coheres’ or
  ‘fits in’ with other statements thereby
  forming a complete system.
COHERENCE
Critical remarks

   There is more than one possible coherent system.
   Coherence requires the notion of logical
    consistency which in turn requires the notion of
    logically prior truth and falsity (as more than
    defined by coherence theory).
   Internally coherent systems cannot say anything
    about the relation of the system to the world.
   COHERENCE MAY BE A TEST OF TRUTH BUT
    IT CANNOT TELL US WHAT TRUTH MEANS.
CORRESPONDANCE
1

 Russell argued that any theory of truth must
  satisfy these three criteria:
[1] It must admit of its opposite - falsehood.
[2] Truth and falsity must be properties of beliefs
  and statements.
[3] These properties depend on the relation of
  these statements to something outside those
  beliefs.
CORRESPONDANCE
2

   If a belief is true it must correspond to a fact of
    some kind which ‘exists’ in the world.
   One objection is that it is the meaning of
    statements or beliefs which count, and this is
    what a proposition (p) is. Propositions rather
    than beliefs carry truth or falsity. I should say “p
    is true and I believe it” rather than “I believe p”.
CORRESPONDANCE
3

   This view entails the need to be very specific
    with propositions to avoid the charge that p can
    sometimes be true and sometimes false.
   The second difficulty is in the question, ‘Can
    propositions be distinguished from the facts
    that they are supposed to correspond to, and if
    so, how?’ ie. How do we get outside of our
    language? cf. Wittgenstein.
Wittgenstein is viewed by many as
the greatest 20th cc philosopher

                    Encouraged by
                     Russell to get stuck
                     into philosophy at
                     Cambridge, he was
                     later to eclipse the
                     old man, who
                     reacted, it is
                     rumoured, with a
                     touch of jealousy!
CORRESPONDANCE
4

   An objection to Russell’s account (Problems of
    Philosophy XII) is that propositions have a
    funny sort of existence between ourselves and
    the supposed ‘outside world’. Might not a true
    proposition be a fact itself? Why the distinction,
    which is needed if the correspondance is
    possible? What is meant by ‘objective
    existence’ here?
CORRESPONDANCE
5

   According to Russell there is a correspondance
    between a belief and a fact when (a) there is a
    complex unity of object terms and an object
    relation, and (b) when the order of these terms
    and relations is ‘in the same order as they have
    in the belief’. The judgement having a ‘sense’
    or ‘direction’.
   How do we get outside our language?
REDUNDANCY
1

   Originally proposed by F.P. Ramsay and later
    modified by P.F. Strawson. Utilises what
    J.L.Austin called ‘performatives’. Hence in
    Strawson it is the Performatory theory.
   We make the notion of truth redundant by
    saying that when we say that x is true, we do
    no more than to say that we agree to accept x.
   Will this do? How do we know what to accept?

				
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