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8 Feb 2011
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Philosophy Week 8 Notes
Sobers example adds depth to one of the principles
-one can be justified in believing P, even if P is not certain to be true
- sobers example suggests this principle:
One is justified in believing P if P is extremely likely to be true
The lottery ex. Shows that this principle will not generate knowledge
-if this principle is wrong, then how can we know anything, since almost all of our beliefs are not
absolutely certain to be true
-is the correct principle: one can be justified in believing P only if it is impossible for you to be wrong
about P
-this leads to the problem of scepticism
What is Scepticism?
-the philosophical position which asserts that we have no knowledge (various forms are possible)’
an argument for scepticism
1. we can know only what we can be absolutely certain of
2. we can be certain of (almost) nothing
3. therefore we know (almost) nothing
sceptics argue for their premises
-illusion argument
- dreaming argument
- brain-in-vat argument
We think we know a lot but what is wrong with simply assigning higher or lower possibilities to our beliefs
-instead of saying that I KNOW my name is, I can say I assign an extremely high probability to the
proposition ‘my name is
-but is my probability assignment justified?
-Scepticism might lead to the view that we have no more reason to believe P then to believe not-P for any
proposition
Descartes and Foundationalism
-Descartes used an architectural metaphor for knowledge
-To build a great tower needs very firm foundation
-Similarly, knowledge depends on foundation of propositions known as absolute certainty
Euclid’s two reasons
1.the axioms are ‘self-evidence
-- cannot be false
--are absolutely certain
2. the theorems follow from the axioms
- follow by pure logic
- inherit certainty
Descartes methods of Doubt
-use to discover the foundation of knowledge
- for any proposition, consider if there is any way (any way at all, no matter how weird) to put it in some (any at
all, no matter how small) doubt
- ex. Stephen Harper is prime minister
-Can we find a way to doubt this?
www.notesolution.com
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Document Summary

Sobers example adds depth to one of the principles. One can be justified in believing p, even if p is not certain to be true. Sobers example suggests this principle: one is justified in believing p if p is extremely likely to be true, the lottery ex. 3. therefore we know (almost) nothing sceptics argue for their premises. Scepticism might lead to the view that we have no more reason to believe p then to believe not-p for any proposition. Descartes used an architectural metaphor for knowledge. To build a great tower needs very firm foundation. Similarly, knowledge depends on foundation of propositions known as absolute certainty. Are absolutely certain: the theorems follow from the axioms. For any proposition, consider if there is any way (any way at all, no matter how weird) to put it in some (any at all, no matter how small) doubt. Can we find a way to doubt this? www. notesolution. com.

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