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SOCIOL 1 Study Guide - Comprehensive Final Exam Guide - David Hume, Epistemology, Cognitive Dissonance


Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOCIOL 1
Professor
Chuck O' Connell
Study Guide
Final

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SOCIOL 1

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Soc Core: Week 0 Lecture #1
Naturalized Epistemology
David Hume and Descartes are both skeptics, concerned with how we can be sure that
we know anything at all. But they approach these issues in a very traditional way.
Knowledge and Belief
There is a distinction between knowledge and belief. The ancient greeks distinguished
between knowledge and opinion.
What makes knowledge better than belief or opinion? Opinion is simply what you
believe. Everyone has opinions, opinions are cheap.
Plato wrote on this extensively. In his dialogue Theaetetus, Plato had Socrates argue
that knowledge was true belief with logos (logic, reason, WORD, explanation,
justification). Knowledge has to be true and has to be believed.
Do I agree with this? Does knowledge have to be known, to be in existence?
Does knowledge has to be true?
The distinction between explanation and justification. Knowledge is true belief that is
explained or justified.
MIDTERM: The distinction between the two: Explanation is a kind of description.
Justification is a kind of prescription, it tells you what you ought to do.
The soap story...he was able to explain, to describe what he had done,
but he was unable to justify do it. Explanation is easy, justification is
harder. Justification is the reason why you did what you did, as where
explanation is simply an account of what happened.
It seems like Descartes lacks justification, but explores simple explanation
in depth. He explains why he believes in God, but lacks a sound
justification as to why.
Philosopher have for the most part settled on knowledge as true rationally justified
belief. This is called the standard account of propositional knowledge.This may not be
quite right but this is the standard account.
The distinction between knowing how and knowing that.
When you ride a bicycle...most people know how to ride a bike, but don’t know
what they’re doing while they’re riding it. Knowing how is instinctual and natural
but knowing that is propositional knowledge.
I know how to call someone (instinctual) but don’t know what they’re phone
number is (propositional).
Knowing how: natural instinct, intuition, learned behavior.
Knowing that: true rationally justified belief
People believe a wide variety of things
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Flat Earth: people believe this due to diction used in the bible.
Charles Johnson worked as an engineer and was the president of the flat earth
society. He argues with reason, we would feel the spin, or we would fall of, if we
were on a spherical planet.
The standard account of propositional knowledge
Agent X knows proposition P if and only if: MIDTERM (each component is
considered necessary, and is sufficient for knowledge)
X believes P
P is true
X has rational justification for believing P
Rational justification must be based on a reliable process to be
considered.
So what does it take to justify something?
Suppose someone wanted to know whether Barack Hussein Obama II was born in the
United States. What would it take?
Belief, rational justification, and truth...short-form birth certificate not enough, long
form birth certificate a lot harder to fake but still not guaranteed.
Suppose I believe that Obama was born the US but the next president says he
was not. Should that undermine my belief?
Is it still possible to doubt? Sure...conspiracy, matric experience, evil demon.
Does this mean we can have no knowledge whatsoever? Knowledge is very
narrow if these things can interfere with rational justification.
The limits and structure of knowledge
Rational justification and the persistent skeptic - what’s your rational justification for
believing that the long and short term birth certificates are authentic? Should one try to
reply to the persistent skeptic, and if so, how? If one tries to reply, three things will
happen:
If one tries to reply to the persistent skeptic, one of three things will happen:
one might (1) find the foundations of knowledge, (2) get involved in an infinite
regress, (3) get involved in circular justification
A foundationalist with respect to rational justification aims for (1).
A coherentist with respect to rational justification is willing to settle for (2) or (3)
Occam’s razor???
Important: there is a good argument that it is impossible to satisfy the
persistent skeptic.
Descartes was striving to unravel (1), but perhaps he fell into (3).
Rene Descartes
Born in Descartes, France
Taught by the Jesuits. They emphasized education.
He joined the army of Maurice of Nassau in 1618 and fought in the thirty years war.
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