PHL232H1 Study Guide - Final Guide: Coherentism, Coherence Theory, Correspondence Theory Of Truth

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Published on 27 Apr 2018
School
UTSG
Department
Philosophy
Course
PHL232H1
Professor
PHL232: Knowledge and Reality, Final Study Notes
Scepticism
- External World Scepticism is the view that for any proposition P it is not the case that we can
know whether p is true.
The Sceptical Challenge:
- Two-part structure:
1. We begin with the assumption that for any sceptical hypothesis H, we do not
know H to be false.
2. We then show that we do not know some proposition about the external world.
- Structure of the Argument:
Proposition p= I am currently in a philosophy exam
- P1: I know that if I am in philosophy lecture, then I am not a brain in a vat.
- P2: If P1 is true, then: if I know that I am in a philosophy lecture, then I also know that I
am not a brain in a vat.
- C1: Therefore, If I know that I am in a philosophy lecture, then I also know that I am not
a brain in a vat.
- P3: I do not know that I am not a brain in a vat.
- C2: Therefore, I do not know that I am in philosophy lecture.
- The Logic of the Argument:
Whenever a true conditional has a false consequent the antecedent must also be false.
Truth table for the material conditional listed in the
argument above.
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The Tripartite Analysis
- Knowledge as Justified True Belief
S believes that P
Ss belief that P is justified
P is true.
- Foundationalism about Epistemic Justification:
A theory about what it takes for a given belief to be a justified belief.
- Some beliefs are basic beliefs: whether or not such beliefs are justified does not depend
upon whether any other beliefs happen to be justified as well.
- A belief is justified if it is either a basic belief or can be derived from a set of basic
beliefs.
- Argument for Epistemic Foundationalism: The Regress Argument
P1 Subject S knows that P iff S has a justified true belief that P.
P2 Supposing all justification is inferentialist justification, when we say one is
inferentially justified in believing that P, we mean that one is in possession of a valid
argument leading to the conclusion P.
P3 An argument for the conclusion that P is only justified if S is antecedently justified
in believing the premises of that argument
P4 Taken in conjunction P2 and P3 generate an infinite regress
P5: P2 and P3 entail:
C1: There are no justified beliefs.
C2: There is no knowledge.
- Comments on this arguments:
This argument presupposes that all justification is inferentialist
Does a regress need to be harmless?
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What are some basic beliefs?
- That I exist? (infallible beliefs)
- I am hungry now (beliefs that I have direct access to?)
Coherentism about Epistemic Justification
- An argument justifies subject S in believing its conclusion iff in accepting the argument and
establishing its conclusion S increases the overall coherence of her system of beliefs.
- What is coherence?
For our purposes we say that it is stronger logical consistency.
- Correspondence vs. Coherence
Correspondence theory states that a Proposition P is true if it corresponds to the facts.
What are facts? What does it mean to correspond to them?
1. A fact is a state of affairs, a configurations of objects and properties in the world. A fact
would obtain just in case the objects that figure in the fact actually have the features the fact
at issue represents them as having. i.e. fact that I am sitting corresponds to the property of
sitting.
2. Suppose we say a proposition (the kind of thing that can be believed) is a configuration of
mental symbols
3. Given this, we can say that a proposition corresponds with the fact just in case the fact that is
isomorphic with the proposition at issue obtains.
Coherence theory the truth of a proposition consists in coherence with a specific system of
beliefs
- Whose system of beliefs exactly?
- Coherence theory is preferred over correspondence theory
According to correspondence theory, the truth of our belief lies in it corresponding to the
facts, this makes it independent of its justification. A belief can be true, yet unjustified.
The gap between truth and justification that occurs under the correspondence theory allows
scepticism to be possible.
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Document Summary

External world scepticism is the view that for any proposition p it is not the case that we can know whether p is true: the sceptical challenge: Two-part structure: know h to be false: we begin with the assumption that for any sceptical hypothesis h, we do not, we then show that we do not know some proposition about the external world. Structure of the argument: proposition p= i am currently in a philosophy exam. P1: i know that if i am in philosophy lecture, then i am not a brain in a vat. P2: if p1 is true, then: if i know that i am in a philosophy lecture, then i also know that i am not a brain in a vat. C1: therefore, if i know that i am in a philosophy lecture, then i also know that i am not a brain in a vat.

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