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Lecture 12

Lecture 12 - Inferential Knowledge

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University of Ottawa
Daniel Kofman

Oct. 24, 2013 Can animals have inferential knowledge? -they have knowledge, but they can make false assumptions -inferential, yes. Propositional, no. Midterm as on syllabus 1. Armstrong’s classic statement of externalist view; the thermometer model: about non- inferential knowledge (nik) such as some perceptual knowledge or introspection (‘I know that I am thinking’, ‘I am having a red sensation’). 2. Pessimists – nik only of introspected states Optimists – nik of perceived objects Moderates (Armstrong) – nik of some perceived objects Nomic reliability – “there must be a law-like connection between the state of affairs Bap and the state of affairs that makes ‘p’ true such that, given Bap, it must be the case that p.” (Bap  a believes that p) 3. Thermometer model: term reading not corresponding to temperature of environment is like non-inferential false belief. When corresponds: like true belief. So correspondence central to model. 4. Accidents ruled out by reliability – “therm” must work all the time Note: parallel with causal theory, but nomic reliability not necessarily causal – allows wider nomic possibility. 5. (i) p (ii) There is some property H such that [a is H and there is a law-like connection in nature such that for all H, then if something (someone) is H, then (if he believes p, then p)] nd 2 order nomic connection: If good thermometer, then if says T degrees, T degrees 6. Thermometers, thermostats, computers, and knowledge: Searle’s Chinese room – does man in room know Chinese? Imagine I’m inside a box and I’ve been given a manual to feed into a slot. Cards with Chinese symbols. Input, check manual, tells you what output to use. I can administer this program – communicate with a Chinese speaker without knowledge of Chinese. Point – implementing the program does not mean you know Chinese. Analogy – a computer which gives the appearance of knowing something should not be given the assumption of knowing. 7. Some questions: 7.1 – Do externalists and internalists talk past each other (Chisolm)? Note: Nozick’s conditional theory is externalist: S needs to believe p when p and not when not p But what her own reasoning process is not specified. All that’s necessary is that the two subjunctive conditions hold. They eliminate luck by requiring covariance, but no requirement about internal justification, thus no requirement that S knows that S knows that p. 1. Appeal of externalism: 1.1 – eliminates accidents (by stipulating co-variance) 1.2 – eliminates complications viz internal justification (e.g. K-K) 1.3 – permits possibility of ascription of knowledge to unsophisticates (animals, etc.) -don’t possess self-awareness, beliefs about beliefs, etc. 1.4 – ‘naturalises’ epistemology 2
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