PHLA10H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: A Priori And A Posteriori, Foundationalism

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Published on 3 Feb 2013
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PHLA10 Lecture 11 Notes November 6th and 8th, 2012
Knowledge and Reliability
Chapters 14
The Reliability Theory of Knowledge
Chapter 14: Pages 170-179
Problem with Descartes’ Foundationalism
Descartes argues that knowledge is internally certifiable
o Premises are either true by a priori or introspection
But knowledge isn’t ever considered in his arguments
(1) I believe that p
(2) My belief that p is clear and distinct.
(3) Clear and distinct ideas are true
(4) P
o Premises (1) and (2) are internally certifiable through introspection, not knowledge
There are three elements of Descartes’ Foundationalism
1. Subjective premise: Describes what is going on in the subject’s mind
2. Objective conclusion: Claim about the world outside of the subject’s mind
3. Linking premise(s): Subjective premise is necessary for objective conclusion
o But there is a link required between the inside and outside world (of subject’s mind)
Reliability Theory of Knowledge (RTK): Knowledge requires particular linking premise to be true
not through introspection or a priori reasoning. The subject doesn’t need to know it is true; it
just has to be true.
Thermometer Analogy
Mercury column is the representation of the outside world, in other words, the subject’s mind
Reading of the temperature is what is being represented of the outside world, in other words,
the actual outside world
Reliability states that is isn’t enough to only right once since could be by chance, but that there
is a necessary connection between the inside and outside worlds of the subject
o If reads n, then it must be n
Reliability is an objective feature. In certain cases, the thermometer can be reliable and in
another not due to a set of circumstances.
1. Must be used in the right environment for it to be reliable
2. The internal makeup of the device has to be right (not broken)
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