Knowledge Essay, Research Paper
When discussing the concept of knowledge it must be made clear what type of knowledge is being discussed. Three types of knowledge are proposed in philosophy; object knowledge, know-how knowledge, and propositional knowledge. Object knowledge involves a person, place, or thing. For example saying that I know my friend Antony is object knowledge, implying that I have had personal contact with him and it could also imply that I know facts about him. Know-how consists of abilities such as knowing how to ski. An Olympic skier who goes to the slopes every day to practice has know-how knowledge of skiing. Meanwhile a scientist, who studies the physics of skiing, the physiological make up of the skier and has never skied before, has the third and final type of knowledge, propositional knowledge. This form of knowledge deals with something that is either true or false, in other words the is a proposition stated as the category of propositional knowledge indicates.
Propositional knowledge is the most debatable of the three and involves more in depth ideas to it, therefore I will spend my words on this form of knowledge. Basically knowledge demands two things, truth and belief. Belief in the persons mind that what they know is true and truth is self-explainable. But, when it comes down to it knowledge requires more. People can be fooled into believing things, true or not, by other people. These persons have a true belief in what they were told to believe but they don?t actually have knowledge of the subject. This where justification comes into play. If I am justified in knowing that my car is red I have evidence to support my claim, I and others have viewed the red paint on the car and my registration has red
written as the color of the car. My knowledge is strengthened by the supporting evidence behind my claim. The JTB theory suggests that knowledge consists of true belief and that it is justified. This leads into the argument on what definition of justification is required for knowledge. There is highly reliable evidence and there is infallible evidence. I have highly reliable information that my car is red, but there are variables that could account for the car to appear red in my evidence and actually be pink in true color. Consequently, I can?t be sure that my knowledge is purely infallible, in turn weakening my claim.
There are three counterexamples to the JTB theory. One argument is that a person may have justified true belief that something will happen, and their justification is highly reliable. Then have the end result of the prediction come true, but not the knowledge about how it came to be the result. For example I may learn that the weather channel has predicted a 90% chance of rain tomorrow. I then conclude that since my car is outside and the weather channel is highly reliable source on weather patterns, my car will get wet tomorrow. The next day it may turn out that the weather channel has had a miss calculation and the storm clouds pass over without releasing a drop of rain, yet my car is sprayed with water by a neighbor watering his flowers. I had good justification in my true belief that my car was going to get wet, but I lack the knowledge about the more specific outcome of the prediction. This is similar to the philosopher Edmund Gettier?s counterexample. Another counterexample came from Bertrand Russell, which contemplates a highly reliable clock. While passing by the clock, a man stops to note the time given by the clock. It indicates that the time is 9:55, so the man walks on with the justified notion that this clock is reliable and has given him the correct time. Unknown to the man the clock had stopped dead
exactly 24 hours ago. So the man has a justified true belief that the time is 9:55, but he doesn’t
know that this is the right time. A third counterexample was proposed by Elliott Sober. He explains a fair lottery. 1,000 tickets are sold in this lottery and I have bought ticket number 452, with the odds being 1 in 1,000 that I will be the winner, I make the logical assumption that ticket 452 will not win. As it turns out 452 didn?t win and my supposition was correct. My belief was true and I had good reason to believe that my chances of winning were small, but after all I had no definite knowledge of the outcome of the lottery. Using these counterexamples we can see that justified true belief?s just aren?t enough to affirm knowledge.
The ideas proposed here lead to the determination that we don?t have real knowledge of anything. This is considered the concept of skepticism. Senses can lead us to evidence of what the world is, some think this to be knowledge. Senses however can be deceived, so no matter what we can?t be absolutely positive that our evidence is infallible, again leaning towards skepticism of knowledge. From these views the skepticism argument seems to be deductively valid, but then according to these concepts we can never know whether this is absolutely certain either.