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Week 9 Notes

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William Seager

Notes Week 9 class 1 and 2 Knowledge and Reliability Internal certifiability - knowledge is internally certifiable if (1) there is an argument which shows that P must be true and (2) the premises of that argument are knowable a priori or by direct introspection - Descartes demanded that all knowledge be internally certifiable - In most cases of knowledge there is an argument with (1) a subjective premise (2) an objective conclusion and (3) a linking premise Internal Certifiability - ex. I know that grass is green - why: because grass looks green (subjective premise) and if grass looks green it is green (lining premise) - problem: I have to know the linking premise o how can I know this? o Danger of a regress ( I know the linking premise only because I know something else) - maybe I dont need to know the linking premise - maybe the linking premise merely needs to be true - this is the idea behind the reliability theory of knowledge What is epistemic reliability? - analogy: a reliable thermometer - the thermometer produces representations of temperature, that can be accurate or inaccurate - a reliable thermometer is one which produces accurate readings in the conditions for which it is designed to operate o consider the difference in reliability in an oven thermometer when used in an oven if used to take a persons temperature o an oven thermometer is not meant to read humans Is there a skeptical style argument against reliability? - is the thermometer unreliable because there are situations in which it does not work properly? o All instruments are unreliable in some situations o So therefore no instrument would ever be reliable o That doesnt seem right - is a thermometer unreliable if we dont know whether it is in a situation in which it is reliable? o Say we dont know if thermometer X is broken or not o Does out lack of knowledge make X unreliable o It seems not whether X is reliable or not depends just on X and its situation; it does not depend on us The analogy between reliability and knowledge - a person is like thermometer, except where the thermometer measures temperature, the person measures truth The RTK - S knows P if 1. S believes P 2. P is true 3. S is reliable about P (ie. Under the circumstances, if S believes P then P must be true) - note the must in clause (3) o this is the concept of necessity o why is it needed here???
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