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The Problem of Knowledge. What new information would cause you to be less certain? So when we say “I’m certain that…” what are we saying?. 3 things you believe to be true—i.e. “I believe that…” Rank from most certain to least certain. What causes you to be more or less certain?.

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slide2

What new information would cause you to be less certain?

So when we say “I’m certain that…” what are we saying?

3 things you believe to be true—i.e. “I believe that…”

Rank from most certain to least certain.

What causes you to be more or less certain?

slide3

Does Ludwig have beliefs?

Does Ludwig have knowledge?

Can Ludwig justify his beliefs?

Can Ludwig have knowledge of the outside world?

Why doesn’t Ludwig realize he is just a brain in a vat?

What would the ability to “get outside” of our minds and experiences allow us to do?

knowledge
Knowledge

What is “knowledge?”

What does it mean “to know?” How is it different from believing?

How do we come “to know?”

Are there things we cannot know?

does ernest know that brenda s birthday is today
Does Ernest know that Brenda’s birthday is today?

(a) Ernest believes that Brenda’s birthday is today.

(b) Brenda’s birthday is really next week.

(a) Ernest has no opinion about when Brenda’s birthday is.

(b) Brenda’s birthday is today.

(a) Ernest randomly throws a dart at the calendar while shouting “Brenda,” and the dart lands on today’s date.

(b) Based on this, Ernest decides that today is Brenda’s birthday.

(c) Today is, in fact, Brenda’s birthday.

(a) Ernest looks at Brenda’s driver’s license and notices that today is her birthday.

(b) Ernest has no reason to doubt the accuracy of Brenda’s driver’s license.

(c) Based on this, Ernest believes today is Brenda’s birthday.

(d) It is true that today is Brenda’s birthday.

true j ustified belief
True, Justified Belief

What does it mean to say that a belief is “true?”

How do we determine whether or not a belief is “justified?”

Why must we believe the truth in order for it to be knowledge?

the problem of knowledge1
The Problem of Knowledge

Can we know?

What can we know?

How do we know?

How do we know that we know what we claim to know?

Is sense data the same thing as the thing itself? Does our sense data give us reality as it actually is?

Because everything is constantly changing, is knowledge simply memory?

Are there things we know without sense data?

slide10

Philosophy of knowledge.

The study of knowledge and knowing.

The study of the implications and significance of statements like “I know that….” (i.e. propositional knowledge)

Three questions of epistemology:

  • Is it possible to have knowledge at all?
  • Does reason provide us with knowledge of the world independently of our experience?
  • Does our knowledge represent reality as it really is?
knowledge from reason vs knowledge from experience
Knowledge from Reason vs. Knowledge from Experience

A Priori

A Posteriori

“Posterior to”—that is, knowledge that is justified by appeal to experience.

Empirical knowledge (observation, sense data, etc.)

At night, the air temperature is cooler than during the day.

CR is located south of Eureka off HWY 101.

A unicorn lives in my backyard.

“Prior to”—that is, knowledge that is justified without appeal to experience.

  • Definitions and logically necessary truths.
  • My brother-in-law in married to my sibling.
  • Ink pens are hand-held writing instruments.
  • Either it is raining outside or it is not raining outside.
what do i think page 57
What do I think? Page 57

It is impossible to ever truly know anything, for all we can ever have are merely opinions and beliefs.

or

It is possible to have objective knowledge of what reality is like in itself.

reason vs experience
Reason vs. Experience

When my reason convinces me that something must be true, but my experience tells me the opposite, I trust my experience.

or

When my experience convinces me that something is the case, but my reason tells me it is illogical, I trust my reason.

blank slate vs hard wired
Blank Slate vs. Hard Wired

When we come into the world at birth, the mind is like a blank tablet.

Or

Some ideas are directly known by the mind and are not learned from experience: a. the laws of logic; b. the basic principles of mathematics; c. cause/effect; d. concept of perfection; e. idea of God; f. moral concepts.

knowledge probability and certainty
Knowledge, Probability, and Certainty

Our knowledge of reality can never be absolutely certain. However, if a belief is true and we have sufficient evidence of its probability, we have knowledge.

or

Through reason, it is possible to have knowledge about reality that is absolutely certain.

is the problem of knowledge really a problem
Is the Problem of Knowledge Really a Problem?

If we are born “blank slates,” what obligations do we have to ensure that all have equal opportunity to gain knowledge?

If knowledge about the nature of reality is primarily a priori, how should children be educated?

If nothing can ever be known, how can anything ever be condemned, celebrated, or communicated?

If certainty is impossible, by what criteria do we claim that a belief is justified?

god and religion
God and Religion

1= I do have knowledge.

2 =Know is possible but I don’t know the answer.

3=Knowledge is impossible.

There is a God.

Supernatural miracles do not occur.

There is life after death.

One particular religion in the true one.

4-6=very confident

10-12=very skeptical

science
Science

1= I do have knowledge.

2 =Know is possible but I don’t know the answer.

3=Knowledge is impossible.

Science gives us the best information about reality.

Science can tell us about the origins of the universe.

Science can tell us about the origins of human life.

Scientists will one day be able to explain all human behavior.

4-6=very confident

10-12=very skeptical

moral knowledge
Moral Knowledge

1= I do have knowledge.

2 =Know is possible but I don’t know the answer.

3=Knowledge is impossible.

Some actions are objectively right or wrong.

The convention of one’s society determine what is right or wrong.

Pleasure is the only thing in life that has value.

Sometimes it could be one’s moral duty to lie.

4-6=very confident

10-12=very skeptical

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