knowledge is merely one of faith's children

  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Epistemology
  3. » knowledge is merely one of faith's children

Get Email Updates Email this Topic Print this Page

Reply Thu 8 Jan, 2009 09:06 pm
Please help me analyze this concept! Maybe it is old hat, I don't know...

Whatever I call "knowledge" is one or another form of faith.

Whenever I say that "I know something," I am actually saying, "I believe something to be true."

Whatever I claim to "know," is a claim based upon trust in something.

Example: "I know that the earth is round."

Translation: "I have faith that the sources of information available to me, which tell me that the earth is round, are trustworthy." "I have reviewed the information that has been presented to me concerning the shape of the earth, and, based upon my logical analysis of that information, I believe it." "I trust the scientific evidence, the mathematical formulae, the professors, the authorities who say, 'the earth is round'."
 
Khethil
 
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 07:22 am
@Dichanthelium,
Yea, I'd say so (at least insomuch as I trust the basis on which this statement lies Smile )

These two concepts you bring up (knowledge and trust or faith), I believe, are more interrelated than is traditionally thought. I think we all like to neatly pigeon-hole seemingly different concepts into absolutes. But this is a good example of how such a conceptual dynamics work. These two concepts in particular, are like two wrestling snakes; sometimes difficult to tell them apart.

My view on this has changed (due much to the exposure this forum has given me to divergent ideas), but remains essentially this:[INDENT]The difference between Faith (or I prefer to term it Belief) and Knowledge is a judgment I make based on the amount of available information, evidence and logic. That point, in my mind where I say "I know" is never 100% sure, nor is Faith in something completely void of any 'facts'. That breakpoint that determines which word I use is different for everyone.
[/INDENT]Anyway, barring anything I've missed here, I'd say you're spot on with how I look at it. I started a thread a while ago on this issue; and although it was driving at a Theism/Atheism discussion, I think it's relevant to anything where there's the question of Knowledge or Faith (Link Here).

Good thread starter,
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 08:31 am
@Khethil,
Thanks for the feedback and reference. I looked at your post and part of the thread, and I will go over it more carefully to see where some of the thinking goes.

I should probably clarify a couple of points in the concept I am struggling with.

First, I am assuming I can only speak about my own experience. I can say, "I know there's a supermarket on Elm Street, because I have experienced it via my senses." That's fine, though I still need to define "know" (I would argue) as having a basis in some kind of faith--in this case, my personal sensory experience. If I say, for example, "I know there's a supermarket on Elm Street, because John Doe told me so," I'm still only speaking about my experience--in this case, I experienced John Doe. If I say "Everybody knows there's a supermarket, etc." I'm still only talking about my experience--in this case, I experienced the testimony of "everybody."

Second, I am definitely speaking of "faith" in a generic sense, not with any special religious connotation. I'm inclined to think (at least at this preliminary stage of my inquiry) that no matter what I say I know, it always depends, in the final analysis, on my having faith in something or somebody.

So although I have to concur that, in common discussion the distinction between "belief" and "knowing" lies along a continuum of presumed evidence, when I carefully reflect, it seems to me that no matter how much evidence I can pile up, and no matter how much inclined I am to say, "I know this for a fact," I still have to have faith in something or believe something or trust something before I can say "I know."

Khethil wrote:
Yea, I'd say so (at least insomuch as I trust the basis on which this statement lies Smile )

These two concepts you bring up (knowledge and trust or faith), I believe, are more interrelated than is traditionally thought. ... These two concepts in particular, are like two wrestling snakes; sometimes difficult to tell them apart.

...The difference between Faith (or I prefer to term it Belief) and Knowledge is a judgment I make based on the amount of available information, evidence and logic. That point, in my mind where I say "I know" is never 100% sure, nor is Faith in something completely void of any 'facts'. That breakpoint that determines which word I use is different for everyone.
Anyway, barring anything I've missed here, I'd say you're spot on with how I look at it. I started a thread a while ago on this issue; and although it was driving at a Theism/Atheism discussion, I think it's relevant to anything where there's the question of Knowledge or Faith (Link Here).

Good thread starter,
 
jgweed
 
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 08:46 am
@Dichanthelium,
But when we say, for example, "I believe that Austin is the capital of Texas," isn't this more a courteous convention, because we know that it is true?
Knowledge seems to have a different status from "belief" or "faith" which usually express either opinion or reservation about the truth value of the statement, since it seems to be able to be both verified and public in an way that belief and faith are not.

Or maybe it is that belief and faith carry with them a lot of connotative baggage that might best be dropped when talking about knowing something is the case, even though our knowing does imply an acceptance of certain rules and premises about what it means to know.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 09:50 am
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:
Please help me analyze this concept! Maybe it is old hat, I don't know...

Whatever I call "knowledge" is one or another form of faith.

Whenever I say that "I know something," I am actually saying, "I believe something to be true."

Whatever I claim to "know," is a claim based upon trust in something.

Example: "I know that the earth is round."

Translation: "I have faith that the sources of information available to me, which tell me that the earth is round, are trustworthy." "I have reviewed the information that has been presented to me concerning the shape of the earth, and, based upon my logical analysis of that information, I believe it." "I trust the scientific evidence, the mathematical formulae, the professors, the authorities who say, 'the earth is round'."



Whatever I call "knowledge" is one or another form of faith.

False. Because knowledge requires justification, and faith does not.

.Whenever I say that "I know something," I am actually saying, "I believe something to be true."

You cannot know something without believing it too. But, knowing is more than believing. First of all, when you know something, what you know has to be true. What you believe need not be true. Second of all, if you know, you must have justification. But you can believe without having any justificatiion (or weak justification) for what it is you believe.

Whatever I claim to "know," is a claim based upon trust in something.

Sometimes part of your justification is based on trusting something. But not all the time. I can know I have a headache. But I don't seem to be trusting anything. And, even if a part of my justification for claiming to know is based on trust, that needn't be the only justification I have, nor the main justification I have.As Ronald Reagan once said, "Trust, but verify".



 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 10:22 am
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:
But when we say, for example, "I believe that Austin is the capital of Texas," isn't this more a courteous convention, because we know that it is true?
Knowledge seems to have a different status from "belief" or "faith" which usually express either opinion or reservation about the truth value of the statement, since it seems to be able to be both verified and public in an way that belief and faith are not.

Or maybe it is that belief and faith carry with them a lot of connotative baggage that might best be dropped when talking about knowing something is the case, even though our knowing does imply an acceptance of certain rules and premises about what it means to know.


Yes, the baggage part is apparently an impediment, as it stirs up connotations of religion. Maybe faith, belief, and trust are sufficiently synonymous that I should choose one of the latter.

I think, sometimes, that I'm not really saying anything, with my proposition, that the average careful thinker doesn't already acknowledge, upon reflection. It may not be anything different from saying, "Whenever I say we know something, I realize that there is no such thing as knowledge in some absolute sense, because I am trapped within my body (so far as I can determine!) and everything I claim to know has to be, in the final analysis, a product of my senses and internal reasoning and conceptualizing."

Which, I suppose, is merely one way of expressing a form of skepticism.

But I do not agree with the ancient proposition, "Nothing can be known." I think many things can be known. I just want to keep reminding myself of the true nature of knowledge. Something always preceeds what I call knowledge, which is some kind of faith or belief or belief system or trust in one or another source.

From a practical, day to day perpective this would seem not to come into play very often. On the other hand, I find myself surrounded by my fellow citizens, and I must interact with them, and conflicts sometimes arise, serious differences of opinion, and it seems that both they and I are routinely liable to misunderstand the nature of knowing.

On the other hand, if I want to try to understand, in some ultimate way, what is the essential meaning of "knowing," purely as a philosophical inquiry, it seems I cannot avoid the conclusion that faith/belief/trust always precedes knowledge. That makes faith/belief/trust a sort of first principle for me. In other words, for example, a rationalistic approach to using this principle would be, "I trust (something or somebody), therefore I know."
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 10:40 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
Whatever I call "knowledge" is one or another form of faith.

False. Because knowledge requires justification, and faith does not.



I concede that knowledge requires justification. But here's my problem. When I set out to discover that justification or provide that justification, I always seem to be in the business of asking myself, "How do I know that?" And as I investigate that question, I always come up with answers that direct my attention to some experience or source of information that I trust.

I either trust my senses, my reasoning powers, my memory, my intuition, or some expert, perhaps. I always have to trust something before I can claim that I know something.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 07:03 pm
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:
I concede that knowledge requires justification. But here's my problem. When I set out to discover that justification or provide that justification, I always seem to be in the business of asking myself, "How do I know that?" And as I investigate that question, I always come up with answers that direct my attention to some experience or source of information that I trust.

I either trust my senses, my reasoning powers, my memory, my intuition, or some expert, perhaps. I always have to trust something before I can claim that I know something.


But why are you not justified in trusting your senses and your reasoning powers? Our senses and our reasoning powers lead us to truth more often than not. Even if my automobile sometimes fails me, that does not mean the car is not reliable.
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Fri 9 Jan, 2009 07:27 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
But why are you not justified in trusting your senses and your reasoning powers? Our senses and our reasoning powers lead us to truth more often than not. Even if my automobile sometimes fails me, that does not mean the car is not reliable.


I don't mean to imply or suggest that I'm not justified in trusting my senses and my reasoning powers. Indeed, I am doing that as I write this statement. I do it all the time, and, so far as I can tell, they serve me well most of the time. But whether my senses and reasoning powers reliably lead me to truth "more often than not" is certainly an open question, isn't it? Also, suppose we take as a given that they do lead me to truth most of the time. That still indicates that they are fallible, and there are bound to be times when I suppose that they are leading me to "truth" when, in fact, they are not.

But my primary proposition does not have so much to do with the relative reliability of my senses and reasoning powers. The primary point is that if I trust them to support a claim to knowledge, then I cannot deny that such trust is more primary than the knowledge. I claim to know that apples grow on trees. How do I know that? Because I am trusting my senses and my reasoning powers. Thus it appears to me that I cannot avoid the conclusion that trust/belief/faith is prior to knowledge.

Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. It's part of the human condition. But it teaches me that I should be very humble whenever I claim to know something, because my claim to knowledge inevitably rests on something, and I better be conscious of what that is, and I better be careful not to presume to be too sure of what I know. The object of my trust may not warrant such presumptuousness.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 10:09 am
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:
I don't mean to imply or suggest that I'm not justified in trusting my senses and my reasoning powers. Indeed, I am doing that as I write this statement. I do it all the time, and, so far as I can tell, they serve me well most of the time. But whether my senses and reasoning powers reliably lead me to truth "more often than not" is certainly an open question, isn't it? Also, suppose we take as a given that they do lead me to truth most of the time. That still indicates that they are fallible, and there are bound to be times when I suppose that they are leading me to "truth" when, in fact, they are not.

But my primary proposition does not have so much to do with the relative reliability of my senses and reasoning powers. The primary point is that if I trust them to support a claim to knowledge, then I cannot deny that such trust is more primary than the knowledge. I claim to know that apples grow on trees. How do I know that? Because I am trusting my senses and my reasoning powers. Thus it appears to me that I cannot avoid the conclusion that trust/belief/faith is prior to knowledge.

Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. It's part of the human condition. But it teaches me that I should be very humble whenever I claim to know something, because my claim to knowledge inevitably rests on something, and I better be conscious of what that is, and I better be careful not to presume to be too sure of what I know. The object of my trust may not warrant such presumptuousness.


But whether my senses and reasoning powers reliably lead me to truth "more often than not" is certainly an open question, isn't it? Also, suppose we take as a given that they do lead me to truth most of the time. That still indicates that they are fallible, and there are bound to be times when I suppose that they are leading me to "truth" when, in fact, they are not.

But why is it an "open" (undecided?) question. How have we found out so much about the world if it is an open question? What do science and common sense rely on? What means do you suppose does a better job?

"Reliable" does not mean perfect or infallible. A very reliable car may still break down on comparatively rare occasions. In any case, it is through the senses and reason that we discover that we have made mistakes, and, it is through the senses and reason that we are able to correct the mistakes that we make.

But my primary proposition does not have so much to do with the relative reliability of my senses and reasoning powers. The primary point is that if I trust them to support a claim to knowledge, then I cannot deny that such trust is more primary than the knowledge.

But trust is not something contrasted with knowledge, as you are assuming. We trust is a means to knowledge. It is a part of the evidence we use to support out claim to know. How do we know that one physician is a better physician than another so that we go to him? Because he has credentials which we trust. And, why do we trust those credentials? Because they are supported with evidence-senses and reason. It is not, trust or knowledge, but knowledge (partly) on account of trust, and trust supported by reason and the senses. I have abundant reason to trust my senses and reasoning powers. It is not "blind trust".
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 05:33 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
But why is it an "open" (undecided?) question.


I can only speak for myself. My experience is that I often think I know something, then, later, because of new insight or new information, I realize that I was mistaken. In fact, I find my list of things I "know" to be so limited and so subject to revision that I have concluded it is wiser for me to adopt the perspective of Socates and claim to be wise in that I have finally realized how ignorant I am.[/quote]

kennethamy wrote:
How have we found out so much about the world if it is an open question?


Again, I can only speak for myself. I do not know much about the world. I do not know who you are referring to, but if you know someone who truly knows "so much about the world," then I would like to meet that person, because I have some seriously vexing questions that he/she ought to be able to answer. I don't mean to be sarcastic--I'm just trying to emphasize the point.

kennethamy wrote:
What do science and common sense rely on?


I have to assume that anyone doing scientific study, or approaching some question or problem with common sense, would do exactly what I do. I have faith in my senses (which are fallible and subject to error and illusion) or my reasoning powers (which are equally handicapped) or some authority who I trust (who is also fallible). I don't think we have many other choices, do we? Intuition, perhaps? Mysticism? I don't mean to rule those out, but I suspect they are equally liable to error.

kennethamy wrote:
What means do you suppose does a better job?


I don't know of any other options. That's why I say all the options we have, to support our claims to know anything, so far as I can tell, depend on some form of faith/trust/belief. Our sources are apparently all fallible. That doesn't mean we shouldn't trust any of them. It just means we should recognize the limitations of our claims when we say we know something.

But I think we will get lost if we try to follow too many of these directions at a time. If you would examine any one of the above or introduce one or perhaps a few discreet points at a time, I think it will be more likely that we can analyze each point without losing the train of thought.

All I am proposing is that all knowledge depends on some kind of faith/trust/belief. Without faith/trust/belief, there can be no knowledge. Knowledge occurs only after we trust some source of information, whether it be sensory data, emotional experience, internal logic, human authority, whatever. These statements appear to me to be true.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Sat 10 Jan, 2009 09:38 pm
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:
I can only speak for myself. My experience is that I often think I know something, then, later, because of new insight or new information, I realize that I was mistaken. In fact, I find my list of things I "know" to be so limited and so subject to revision that I have concluded it is wiser for me to adopt the perspective of Socates and claim to be wise in that I have finally realized how ignorant I am.




Again, I can only speak for myself. I do not know much about the world. I do not know who you are referring to, but if you know someone who truly knows "so much about the world," then I would like to meet that person, because I have some seriously vexing questions that he/she ought to be able to answer. I don't mean to be sarcastic--I'm just trying to emphasize the point.



I have to assume that anyone doing scientific study, or approaching some question or problem with common sense, would do exactly what I do. I have faith in my senses (which are fallible and subject to error and illusion) or my reasoning powers (which are equally handicapped) or some authority who I trust (who is also fallible). I don't think we have many other choices, do we? Intuition, perhaps? Mysticism? I don't mean to rule those out, but I suspect they are equally liable to error.



I don't know of any other options. That's why I say all the options we have, to support our claims to know anything, so far as I can tell, depend on some form of faith/trust/belief. Our sources are apparently all fallible. That doesn't mean we shouldn't trust any of them. It just means we should recognize the limitations of our claims when we say we know something.

But I think we will get lost if we try to follow too many of these directions at a time. If you would examine any one of the above or introduce one or perhaps a few discreet points at a time, I think it will be more likely that we can analyze each point without losing the train of thought.

All I am proposing is that all knowledge depends on some kind of faith/trust/belief. Without faith/trust/belief, there can be no knowledge. Knowledge occurs only after we trust some source of information, whether it be sensory data, emotional experience, internal logic, human authority, whatever. These statements appear to me to be true.[/quote]

Well yes, except that, in turn, trust depends on whether the trust is supported by evidence and reason. Trust and reason and evidence interact. Trust requires reason to support it. For blind trust is useless.
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Sun 11 Jan, 2009 11:40 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
Well yes, except that, in turn, trust depends on whether the trust is supported by evidence and reason. Trust and reason and evidence interact. Trust requires reason to support it. For blind trust is useless.


Yes, I agree, I think, at least in part. But I think that when I accept something as evidence, that implies that I have already interpreted some phenomena or data. It is not evidence until I make it so. I have to experience something and do the reasoning before I can count it as evidence.

Just to be clear, I agree that phenomena or data have to be there first. Something has to exist before I can claim to know anything about it. But I'm not investigating (at this juncture) the question of whether anything exists. I'm assuming I exist and the world around me exists, and I'm focusing on my encounter with phenomena and what it means when I say I know something.

When I trust something or somebody, the depth of my trust depends on my evaluation of what I accept as evidence, and my reasoning. I have to do this myself (though I may agree with other people about it). Since I don't have a direct encounter with the phenomena, I have to experience them through my senses. Then I have to process them in my brain.

I say that I know that the earth is round. How do I know that? I can't have a direct encounter with the roundness of the earth, so my belief that the earth is round doesn't seem to depend on my sensory perception.

However, as far back as I can recall, everyone I know has accepted this as the truth. Prevailing opinion is certainly not infallible. However, it is a kind of evidence that I am inclined to take seriously. Now I have experienced the prevailing opinion by hearing and reading--sensory perception. Additionally, I have used my reasoning powers, and have concluded, (probably at some point in grade school) "They all believe it, so it must be true." Now I have at least come as far as the monkeys in Kipling's Jungle Book.

Finally, all my teachers, throughout my schooling, have consistently presented scientific explanations that together yield (in my mind) a coherent concept, and I have accepted that as sufficient evidence. But I had to experience those teachings by hearing and reading--sensory perception. Additionally, I had to use my reasoning powers before I concluded, "Well, scientific explanations are not infallible, but the preponderance of evidence of which I am aware supports the conclusion that everyone around me seems to have accepted. I guess I should accept it too."

So now I say that I know the earth is round. But what is the nature of that particular type of knowing? It is the result of my encounters with phenomena, which I experienced through my sensory perception. Over time, I used my reasoning powers to interpret some of those phenomena as evidence to support the idea that the earth is round.

I trust my sensory perception and my reasoning powers with respect to this idea, so I say I know it. I had to trust something before I could say that I know something. My knowing is a product of my trusting.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 05:54 am
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:
Yes, I agree, I think, at least in part. But I think that when I accept something as evidence, that implies that I have already interpreted some phenomena or data. It is not evidence until I make it so. I have to experience something and do the reasoning before I can count it as evidence.

Just to be clear, I agree that phenomena or data have to be there first. Something has to exist before I can claim to know anything about it. But I'm not investigating (at this juncture) the question of whether anything exists. I'm assuming I exist and the world around me exists, and I'm focusing on my encounter with phenomena and what it means when I say I know something.

When I trust something or somebody, the depth of my trust depends on my evaluation of what I accept as evidence, and my reasoning. I have to do this myself (though I may agree with other people about it). Since I don't have a direct encounter with the phenomena, I have to experience them through my senses. Then I have to process them in my brain.

I say that I know that the earth is round. How do I know that? I can't have a direct encounter with the roundness of the earth, so my belief that the earth is round doesn't seem to depend on my sensory perception.

However, as far back as I can recall, everyone I know has accepted this as the truth. Prevailing opinion is certainly not infallible. However, it is a kind of evidence that I am inclined to take seriously. Now I have experienced the prevailing opinion by hearing and reading--sensory perception. Additionally, I have used my reasoning powers, and have concluded, (probably at some point in grade school) "They all believe it, so it must be true." Now I have at least come as far as the monkeys in Kipling's Jungle Book.

Finally, all my teachers, throughout my schooling, have consistently presented scientific explanations that together yield (in my mind) a coherent concept, and I have accepted that as sufficient evidence. But I had to experience those teachings by hearing and reading--sensory perception. Additionally, I had to use my reasoning powers before I concluded, "Well, scientific explanations are not infallible, but the preponderance of evidence of which I am aware supports the conclusion that everyone around me seems to have accepted. I guess I should accept it too."

So now I say that I know the earth is round. But what is the nature of that particular type of knowing? It is the result of my encounters with phenomena, which I experienced through my sensory perception. Over time, I used my reasoning powers to interpret some of those phenomena as evidence to support the idea that the earth is round.

I trust my sensory perception and my reasoning powers with respect to this idea, so I say I know it. I had to trust something before I could say that I know something. My knowing is a product of my trusting.


And, of course, my trusting is a product of my knowing. It is because I know the physician has the credentials he has that I willing to trust him.
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Mon 12 Jan, 2009 08:49 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
And, of course, my trusting is a product of my knowing. It is because I know the physician has the credentials he has that I willing to trust him.


I agree with that 100%. Knowing can lead to new kinds of trust or new levels of trust. Such trust can then lead to new knowledge.

1. I trust my sensory perception and reasoning powers to correctly interpret data as evidence that my doctor has good credentials. Therefore...
2. I know my doctor is well-qualified. Therefore...
3. I trust my doctor.
4. My doctor says I have arthritis. Therefore...
5. I know I have arthritis.

It often seems to work just like that. The problem comes in when I see a second doctor, perhaps a specialist, who is apparently more qualified, who I decide to trust, on this particular point, more than my first doctor, and I get a different diagnosis.

Now I know that I don't have arthritis. But what if I see another specialist, equally qualified with the first, and he/she confirms "beyond a shadow of a doubt" the original diagnosis?

My journey has been like this: I know A is true. I know A is false. I know A is true. It's just like "She loves me, she loves me not." Should I see another specialist or flip a coin?

So does that mean I never really know anything? I would argue not. I would argue I can know all kinds of things, but I just need to recognize that knowing something always means I have trusted something or somebody and, on the basis of that trust, have come to accept something as truth.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Tue 13 Jan, 2009 08:55 pm
@kennethamy,
John knows that George Bush is the President. Jim knows that Rocky Balboa is the president.

Belief = Knowledge in any ultimate sense

Obviously, uses of the words in ordinary speech differ. They could be said to denote varying levels of certainty in the knower/believer or the varying probability that others will be persuaded to know/believe.
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2009 05:37 am
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon wrote:
John knows that George Bush is the President. Jim knows that Rocky Balboa is the president.

Belief = Knowledge in any ultimate sense

Obviously, uses of the words in ordinary speech differ. They could be said to denote varying levels of certainty in the knower/believer or the varying probability that others will be persuaded to know/believe.


I think we are on the same page. Both John and Jim say they know something. Both have based their knowledge on some source of information that they trust. It just happens that Jim knows something that can be shown to be false.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 14 Jan, 2009 06:47 pm
@Dichanthelium,
Dichanthelium wrote:
I agree with that 100%. Knowing can lead to new kinds of trust or new levels of trust. Such trust can then lead to new knowledge.

1. I trust my sensory perception and reasoning powers to correctly interpret data as evidence that my doctor has good credentials. Therefore...
2. I know my doctor is well-qualified. Therefore...
3. I trust my doctor.
4. My doctor says I have arthritis. Therefore...
5. I know I have arthritis.

It often seems to work just like that. The problem comes in when I see a second doctor, perhaps a specialist, who is apparently more qualified, who I decide to trust, on this particular point, more than my first doctor, and I get a different diagnosis.

Now I know that I don't have arthritis. But what if I see another specialist, equally qualified with the first, and he/she confirms "beyond a shadow of a doubt" the original diagnosis?

My journey has been like this: I know A is true. I know A is false. I know A is true. It's just like "She loves me, she loves me not." Should I see another specialist or flip a coin?

So does that mean I never really know anything? I would argue not. I would argue I can know all kinds of things, but I just need to recognize that knowing something always means I have trusted something or somebody and, on the basis of that trust, have come to accept something as truth.


You cannot know that A is both true and false, for that would be a contradiction. So, what you must mean is that you THINK you know A is true, and you THINK you know that A is false. But whether you do know A is true or whether you know that A is false depend on whether A is true, or whether A is false.
 
Dichanthelium
 
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2009 05:20 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy wrote:
You cannot know that A is both true and false, for that would be a contradiction. So, what you must mean is that you THINK you know A is true, and you THINK you know that A is false. But whether you do know A is true or whether you know that A is false depend on whether A is true, or whether A is false.


Okay, I agree, but with this explanation.

I could train myself to always say, "I think I know," because every single time that I say "I know," I am, in the final analysis, trusting some source, which, when I carefully consider, is not ultimately reliable. Now matter how much "proof" I stack up, and no matter how many other people concur with the proposition, it still always boils down to me trusting my sensory perception and reasoning powers.

But if I accept the fact that knowing never means grasping or encountering truth or fact in some ultimate sense, then I can go on saying, "I know" without making any pretentious claims. It could turn out to be false knowing, but I can never prove anything to be true beyond a shadow of doubt.

In other words, the expression, "I know," always means, "I think I know." In common discourse, I only use the expression, "I think I know," when I am conscious that my claim to knowing is dubious, and I say, "I know" when I am confident, but in the final analysis, I am saying the same thing in both instances.
 
Sekiko
 
Reply Fri 16 Jan, 2009 03:42 pm
@kennethamy,
[SIZE="4"]
I think it might be cautiously said that when you seek justification for something that you allege to know, the source of that justification is to be found in something other than the belief itself. This is an important qualification for "knowing" something. If on the other hand, I have faith in something, it can be explained as having the justification of the belief ultimately come from the belief itself.

For example, when I say "This apple is red", the justification, while I am trusting that it is true, comes from sensory experience. In the sense that both faith and Knowledge trust in something that can not be proven, I think this is clear. However, when I say, "God exists", and the justification I give is that, "It says so in the bible.", and the justification I give for that is that "the bible is god's word", then it becomes clear the God would HAVE to exist for my justification to be legitimate. Unfortunately, this is a circular logic, and doesn't actually succeed in giving any true justification, simply because the justification rests in the statement itself.

This could be said to be a crucial difference in determining what you know and what you have faith in, especially explaining the success of facts which we purport to know, and the observance of a lack of success concerning facts with which we profess faith.

[/SIZE]
 
 

 
  1. Philosophy Forum
  2. » Epistemology
  3. » knowledge is merely one of faith's children
Copyright © 2020 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.02 seconds on 08/08/2020 at 09:43:16