With this lesson, we begin a new unit on epistemology, which is the philosophical study of knowledge claims. In this first lesson on epistemology, Dew and Foreman discuss some of the basic issues raised in the study of epistemology and then discuss the nature of knowledge itself. They consider questions such as, “What do we mean when we say we know something? ” “What exactly is knowledge? Tasks View and take notes of the presentation, “What is Knowledge? ” ?Describe the 3 different ways we use the term know. 1. Knowledge by acquaintance 2. Knowledge as competency (skills) 3. Propositional knowledge.
(pg. 20) ?Explain the traditional definition of knowledge from Plato. Plato’s understanding of knowledge is justified true belief. After rejecting 2 accounts of knowledge (knowledge as perception & knowledge as true belief) , defined as KNOWLEDGE IS SOMETHING SIMILAR TO JUSTIFIED TRUE BELIEF. (PG. 20) ?Know what each aspect of the traditional definition means. 1. Belief (pg. 22) 2. Justification (pg. 22-24) 3. Truth (pg. 24) PHIL 201 Read Chapters One, “What is Epistemology? ” and Two, “What is Knowledge? ” of How Do we Know? ” As you do, make sure you understand the following points and questions:
?What are the kinds of questions arise in the study of epistemology? 1. What does it mean to say that we know something? 2. How do we come to know various things? 3. What is truth and how do we find it? 4. What does it mean to have epistemic justification, and is this necessary? 5. What are epistemological virtues, and are they help for us? 6. How reliable are out perceptions? 7. Can we have certainty. (pg. 10) ?Know the kinds of questions that preoccupy epistemologists. Pg. 10 ?Know the basic reasons why the study of epistemology is important. 1. It is unnatural and unfruitful to avoid epistemological questions.
Cuts off natural and needed intellectual growth. It’s natural. Some jobs require specific kinds of knowledge or a particular set of skills (college or trade school) – limit our ability to fail to pursue these. 2. Foolish not to seek the best possible answers and information available. Could have dire consequences. Ex: Murder case (Pg. 10-12) PHIL 201 ?What are the different ways that the word know might be used? Knowing someone by acquaintance. Knowing a skill by competency.
Knowing whether a claim has truth value (T or F? ) (pg. 20) ?How did Plato define knowledge?something very similar to justified true belief. (pg. 20-21) ?Know the difference between true opinion and knowledge. Both believe a given proposition, both affirmations are in fact true, but knowledge has justification and true opinion does not. (pg. 21) ?What are some of the basic problems/concerns with JTB? 1. Criteria used to justify – getting beyond just saying it’s true. Also the difference between criteria of justification and truth are vague. (pg. 24) 2. Gettier problem – where all 3 criteria are met, but knowledge does not result.
JTB might give us a sense of knowledge but it does not give us complete understanding. (pg. 28 ?What is the Gettier Problem? Gettier contends that the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief “does not state a sufficient condition for someone’s knowing a given proposition. ” He argued that JTB fails as a sufficient condition for knowledge. Justification could be faulty or mistaken. (pgs. 25-26) PHIL 201 ?What are some of the common strategies for resolving the Gettier Problem? 1. Add a 4th criterion – defeasibility condition (pg. 28) 2. Not by adding to JTB, but to making alterations to it.
Ex: reliabilist account of knowledge where someone has knowledge of something she believes is true, it is in fact true, and the belief of its truthfulness was formed under reliable forming processes. (pg. 29) ?Is JTB of any value to us after the Gettier Problem? Gettier’s examples remind us that it is possible for our justification to be weak or poorly formed, but this does not mean that JTB is of no help to us in thinking about what it means to know something. (pg. 30) Where it fails is usually odd and unusual instances. (pg. 29)
JTB does seem to give us a sense of what is knowledge is and can still be thought of as a necessary condition for knowledge. (pg. 29) Terms Make sure you can explain the following terms and concepts: PHIL 201 ?Epistemology- a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature & sources of knowledge and develops a theory of knowledge. Study of knowledge. (pg. 10) ?Traditional Definition of Knowledge- possessing 3 distinct parts or criteria: justification, truth and belief. (pg. 20) ?Justified, True, Belief- 3 parts/criteria of knowledge (pg. 20- 23) ?Gettier Problem-Set forward 2 cases where all 3 criteria are met, but knowledge does not result (pg. 25).
Gettier contends that the traditional definition of knowledge as justified true belief does not state a SUFFICIENT CONDITION for someone’s knowing a given proposition. (pg. 26) He argued that JTB fails as a sufficient condition for knowledge. (pg. 26) ?Necessary Condition- a condition required for something to be the case but might not itself guarantee that something will be the case. Ex: Oxygen is necessary for fire, but by itself, oxygen is not sufficient to have a fire. (pg. 26) ?Sufficient Condition- a condition, if met, will guarantee that something will be the case.
Ex: If it rains, the street will be wet. (pg. 26) ?Knowledge by Aquaintance-speak of being “acquainted” with someone. Ex: “I know Bill. ” (pg. 20) ?Knowledge as Competency- the word knowledge is sometimes used to describe a skill. Ex: “I know French. I know how to play the trumpet. ” In this book, this is not the kind of knowledge we are studying. (pg. 20 ?Propositional Knowledge- Knowledge as a truth claim, whether it is true or false. We refer to this as propositional knowledge because it comes in the form of a proposition. (pg. 20) ?True Opinion-Both true opinion & knowledge believe a given proposition and both affirmations are in fact true. True opinion does not have justification. Knowledge does.
(pg. 21 ?Belief- something we hold to be true. 1st step to knowledge. Basic component of knowledge. We cannot know about things we do not believe in. (pg. 22) ?Justification-offering some rationale for claiming what is claimed. Beliefs can be wrong, so beliefs must be justified before we can claim to have knowledge. (pg. 22-23) ?Truth- For claims to count as knowledge, a person must have belief and justification, and, in the end, the claim must be true. (pg. 24) ?Reliabilist Accounts of knowledge.
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Topic: PHIL201 Study Guide Lesson 10
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