Knowledge claims
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KNOWLEDGE CLAIMS. Tests for truth. Coherence test ‘Does this fit with what I already know?’. You test the truth of an assertion based on what you already know

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Knowledge claims


Tests for truth

Coherence test does this fit with what i already know
Coherence test‘Does this fit with what I already know?’

  • You test the truth of an assertion based on what you already know

  • Example – evidence at a criminal trial. Or assessing a claim (such as ‘There is a tiger down at Hidden Falls’). Is this claim possible? (or ‘A guy on the bus gave me that $100.00’)

  • Is it consistent with what I know , or what others mean?

  • We apply this test simply by thinking

  • Your examples

Problem cannot exclude outlandish beliefs
Problem – cannot exclude outlandish beliefs

  • Devise absurd but coherent explanations for the following:

    -The movement of the sun across the sky


    -The price of stocks and shares

    -Global warming

    -the variety of species on the planet

Correspondence test go and check
Correspondence test – go and check

  • Demands that the knowledge claim match or correspond with what really happens in the world, as you know it.

  • Seems obvious, but demands that a proposition is true because of how things are in the world, not because an authority or your feelings say it is true. (Enlightenment!)

  • One examines what is being claimed, with attention to the language, and observe yourself, or check others’ observations.

  • Your examples

Do the following correspond to facts about reality
Do the following correspond to facts about reality?

  • The cat is on the mat

  • All metals expand when heated

  • Pigs do not have wings

  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in summer 1914

  • Random torture is wrong

  • The Mona Lisa is a beautiful painting

Pragmatic test does it work
Pragmatic test – does it work?

  • A proposition is true if it is useful or works in practice

  • Ej. If a bridge does not fall down, the principles behind its construction must be right.

  • One can accept an assumption based on this – we may not be able to prove our existence to someone, but find it useful to assume that we do, and move on.

  • We accept methods that work in areas such as the sciences and applied sciences (the airplane does fly , or infectious diseases do spread , or algorithms do enable code to be written)

Dangers of pragmatism
Dangers of pragmatism?

  • A statement can be useful and not true, and true but not useful (group think in Nazi Germany, self delusions about talent or attributes)

  • This truth tests allows for contradictory truths (religious dogma, or belief in a leader?)

  • Circular reasoning (A statement is true if it is useful-A statement is useful if it enables you to cope with reality- A statement enables us to cope with reality if it is true)


  • What problems result from accepting what works, and calling it truth?

  • What problems can you identify in establishing truths on the basis of sufficient evidence?

  • Identify some problems which can arise with using a body of beliefs already held…to judge a new knowledge claim?

Another table this one to be turned in on 4 17 14
Another table…this one to be turned in on4/17/14

  • List out the classes you are in

  • 3 columns – one for coherence tests, one for correspondence tests, and one for pragmatic tests

  • Fill in specific examples of each for all your 6 classes…use descriptive detail…if you cannot come up with an example, cite WHY that truth test is not used in that field of study.

    At the bottom, write about what is missing in the truth tests. If someone says ‘I believe it’, why should we NOT accept it as true? When do you accept it, from others, and yourself?