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Lecture 7

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Dwayne Moore

 Epistemology  Greek: Episteme = knowledge  Greek: logos = thought  Humans have beliefs: "I believe that Santa wears green" and "I believe that Montreal is east of Toronto".  Question: Do I know these two things?  Humans have true beliefs: I believe that Montreal is east of Toronto, and it's true that Montreal is east of Toronto  Question: Do I know that Montreal is east of Toronto  No. We could've gotten it right by luck. If I spin until dizzy and say "Montreal is that way", and this is true, do I have knowledge?  Knowledge involves: (1) a belief that (2) is true and that (3) is justified/proven  Ex: belief: Montreal is east of Toronto  True: It is true that Montreal is East of Toronto  Justification: I have knowledge of maps, and compasses and Canadian geography, and three truck drivers have told me it's true  Question: Do I know that Montreal is east of Toronto?  Yes and No.  We can have a justified, true belief, but still be uncertain of our belief and/or lack experiential knowledge of our belief  Ex: First kiss, jury testimony  Two types of knowledge:  Knowledge by acquaintance: a justified, true belief that is justified based on first-hand knowledge  Ex: I know that kissing is good because I believe it, it is true, it is justified by my own experience of kissing  Problem: can't we have knowledge of things we have never experienced?  Ex: Columbus sailed the ocean in 1492. Hitler existed.  Knowledge by description: a justified, true belief that is not necessarily justified based on first-hand knowledge  Ex: I know that Montreal is east of Toronto because three truckers have told me, and I have seen Canadian maps  Question: How is a true belief justified?  Two answers:  Rationalism: reason justifies true belief  Empiricism: experience justifies true belief  Rene Descartes  Descartes' Methodological Skepticism  We are often skeptical of things (magic, tall tales, something amazing)  But Descartes suggest we should be skeptical (i.e., doubt the truth of) everything  His purpose: doubt everything until something presents itself as undeniably true, and that thing is so self-evident that know it as true  Once we know something as certainly true, we can built our knowledge based upon this sturdy foundation  Doubts about sense experience  "I find two completely diverse ideas of the sun in my mind; the one drives its origin from the sense; according to this idea the sun seems to be extremely small; but the other is derived from astronomical reasoning… in accordance with it the sun appears to be several times greater than the earth"  Descartes, Meditation 3  The Dream Argument  "I remind myself that on many occasions I have in sleep been deceived… I see so manifestly that there are no certain indications by which we may clearly distinguish wakefulness from sleep."  Descartes, Meditation 1.5  Doubts about mathematics  "How do I know that I am not also deceived each time I add together two and three"  Descartes, Meditation 1.9  Doubts about the existence of God  "is there not a God, or some being, by whatever name I may designate him, i who causes these thoughts to arise in my mind? But why supposed such a being, for it may be I myself am capable of producing them?"  Doubts about memory  "I believe that none of those objects which my fallacious memory represents ever existed" - Descartes, Meditation 2.2  The Evil Daemon (The Evil Genius)  "But there is I know not what being, who is possessed at once of the highest power and the deepest cunning, who is constantly employing all his ingenuity in deceiving me." - Descartes, Meditation 2.3  Descartes' Foundationalism  Descartes searches for a strong foundation of indubitable knowledge, but everything is subject to doubt. Is there any foundation for knowledge?  "Doubtless, then, I exist, since I am deceived; and, let him deceive me as he may, he can never bring it about that I am nothi
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