Chapter 5 :Epistemology
TYPES OF KNOWLEDGE
Although philosophers may differ on how many
different types there are they agree that we claim to have knowledge of
different things. What they may have in common that make them knowledge
then becomes the issue.
Here is one schema for different types of
What are these about ? Why make these distinctions?
Consider that you probably would claim to know the following
There are three sides to a
triangle. The sum of their
angles is 180 degrees.
There is a computer in front
of you right now.
23 + 11= 34
A bachelor is an unmarried
If a is more than b, and b
is more than c, then a is more than c.
These sentences all make claims that can be
determined to be either true or false. They are sentences that
express propositions. They are claims about which you can come to a
judgment as to whether or not they are true. You probably know that
they are true. Now how is it that you come to know these things? Obviously you
come by this knowledge in different ways.
This relates to the idea of the different types of knowledge.
There is a knowledge that is the result of the
understanding of the relationship of ideas to one another.
There are the rules or laws of logic that permit claims to
knowledge that are further statements of ideas consistent with the rules
and the ideas already accepted.
Here is another example where you do not need
to know what I am talking about because you know the relationships
All gazintz are gazatz
All gazatz are garingers
Therfore, all gazintz are
You can claim to know that
: If A and B are
true, then C is true as well. This
you know by LOGIC.
There is knowledge that is the result of
learning the meaning of words. Knowledge
of words is knowledge of definitions.
Such definitions are set in dictionaries.
So bachelors are unmarried males.
You know this. People
acknowledge this. You can
look it up.
(Are newborn baby boys Bachelors????????
Do people say to the new mother in the hospital nursery: "Oh what a beautiful bachelor you have there Ms Jones!"
examples 1 and 3
There is knowledge of Mathematics and Geometry, which is the result of learning a system of words, or symbols and how they relate to one another and the rules of operating in that system and then any claims made that are consistent with those definitions and rules is called knowledge.
There is a knowledge that comes through our senses. This
knowledge is empirical knowledge. Science
is the best example of a method for ascertaining the accuracy of such
knowledge is a result of the practice of the method :
Observation, abduction of a hypothesis, careful observation,
refinement of hypothesis, deduction of test for hypothesis, testing and
experimentation, confirmation or falsification of the hypothesis.
What do these four types of knowledge have in common?
One of the most popular theories of knowledge of the twentieth
century holds that KNOWLEDGE does imply a Belief.
Belief does not Imply Knowledge.
Wherever people claim to know that something is true they believe
that it is so. When people
claim to believe that something is so they donít always claim to know
that it is so.
What kind of a belief is
To begin with it must be true.
You can not know something that is false, that is not so.
It must be true and you must claim to know it
and it be true not by accident or coincidence but because there is
evidence to support and enough to warrant or justify the claim to know.
= JUSTIFIED TRUE
WARRANTED TRUE BELIEF
EVIDENCE is NEEDED for JUSTIFICATION
VIEW: Knowledge as Justified True Belief
WARRANTED TRUE BELIEF may not be knowledge if
true by ACCIDENT.
January 1, 2001 the claim is made: I know
that the GIANTS are going to win the SUPERBOWL in 2001!
It turns out that several weeks
later they did win.
Can I claim that I knew it on January 1st or was it just a lucky
guess or a well informed guess?
How does a person gain the warrant or the justification
for the belief?
Well, depending on the type of belief that it is there are different kinds of warrants.
Warrants found in the rules of Logic.
Follow them and the claim is warranted.
Warrants are found in the dictionaries. Use
them, be consistent with them and the claim is warranted.
Warrants are found within the system (Math or
Geometry) follow the rules be consistent with the definitions and rules
and the claim is warranted.
Warrants are found with evidence.
How is the evidence to be gathered, examined and evaluated?
Ther will be m
Ther will be more on this under the topic of TRUTH
There are four types of beliefs
when considering truth and warrants:
1. warranted true beliefs : This type is called KNOWLEDGE
2. warranted false beliefs: This type cannot exist at all.
3. unwarranted true beliefs These are lucky guesses or coincidences and not
4.unwarranted false beliefs These are just wild
unsupported claims or wishes that are not true .
Why Knowledge is Justified True Belief; JTB.
Justification , Warranty comes in degrees!
How much evidence is needed in order to
determine whether or not someone knows something or not?
How much evidence is needed in order to determine whether or not someone has sufficient warrant to make a claim to know something or not?
How much is needed depends on what is riding on
the outcome of the claim. For
simple matters of little consequence humans appear to accept fairly small
amounts of evidence. For
important matters much more evidence is needed.
How old is someone?
If someone claims to know how old John Smith or Mary Doe is we
probably accept the claim on their word if it is just gossip. However, if there were a $10 bet on it we would ask for
evidence. We might go to the
person and ask them to confirm the claim.
If it were $100 we might want a driverís license.
If it were $1000 we might want a birth certificate.
For $10, 000 we might want to go to the official registry and check
the official documents ourselves.
The highest consequences on claims to know:
Human Life. At a criminal
trial, a capital homicide case, what is the standard of proof? It is
evidence that is convincing beyond a reasonable doubt.
NOT beyond all doubts. But
beyond reasonable doubts, meaning beyond all doubting or questioning of
the evidence that we have reason to doubt or question.
Scientists have their reputation riding
on their claims to know things. The
standard for the warrant in Science sis that heir claims be supported by
evidence that other scientists can examine, experiments that others can
repeat and get the same result and equations that others can examine to
check against errors.
So, claims to know may be accepted
depending on amounts of support that may vary in the type and amount
depending on the type of claim that it is.
However, to know something that which you claim to know must be
TRUE and truth does not have degrees: because a statement p is either true
or it isn't
will be examined in the next
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© Copyright Philip A. Pecorino 2000. All Rights reserved. Web Surfer's Caveat: These are class notes, intended to comment on readings and amplify class discussion. They should be read as such. They are not intended for publication or general distribution.
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