Is knowing a mental event?

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Emil
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 03:52 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;105460 wrote:
Yes. Various attempts have been made to explain the justificatory condition of knowing to deal with Gettier-like problems, so that Gettier counterexamples can be understood as failures of justification. If that could be done, then JTB would become sufficient as well as necessary. But none of these attempts have worked. The literature is very long.


Well. Some of the approaches work somewhat. The reduce the number of counter-examples. E.g the not inferred from a falsehood condition.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 04:04 pm
@Emil,
Emil;105461 wrote:
Well. Some of the approaches work somewhat. The reduce the number of counter-examples. E.g the not inferred from a falsehood condition.


Yes- a kind of negative working, I suppose.
 
Emil
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 04:20 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;105464 wrote:
Yes- a kind of negative working, I suppose.


Perhaps what we need is just a bunch of different conditionals. Together they may get all the Gettier examples. Did anyone try this?
 
ACB
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 04:25 pm
@paulhanke,
paulhanke;105459 wrote:
... which is precisely why both ACB and myself have been throwing out ideas to extend JTB to be both necessary and sufficient ... and if we can understand exactly why Gettier's problem and ACB's problem are intuited differently (despite their superficial similarities), perhaps we would stand a better chance of refining those ideas into an extended JTB theory that aligns with intuition ...


I think it must have something to do with the prior likelihood of the actual state of affairs if the justifiably believed proposition is false. If I am wrong that my friend is in Paris, there is still a high likelihood that he is in France. If, however, Smith is wrong that Jones will get the job, it seems very improbable that someone else with ten coins in his pocket will get it. Hence we are inclined to say there is knowledge in the first case where there is none in the second.

Likewise, if I justifiably believe that my friend is in Paris but he is actually in Philadelphia, we would never say that I know he is in a city beginning with the letter P. This is because the correctness of the less specific belief is accidental, as in the Smith/Jones case.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 04:41 pm
@Emil,
Emil;105468 wrote:
Perhaps what we need is just a bunch of different conditionals. Together they may get all the Gettier examples. Did anyone try this?


Too ad hoc even if it worked.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 05:01 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;105460 wrote:
The literature is very long.


... that's what I was afraid of - the lack of solutions to problems like Gettier's typically isn't for a lack of trying Smile

Anyhoo, the logical difference between Gettier's problem and ACB's problem appears to be one of belief combination and how the specifics of the process of combination get "lost in the translation" ... in ACB's problem, no beliefs are combined - B1 is simply "I believe my friend is in France" (as generalized from B2, "I am justified in believing my friend is in Paris") ... in Gettier's problem, however, two beliefs are being combined: "Smith is justified in believing Jones will get the job" and "Smith is justified in believing Jones has 10 coins in his pocket" are combined and generalized into "Smith believes that the man who gets the job has 10 coins in his pocket." ... the key here is that the latter belief was brought in on the condition of the former belief, but this conditionality has been lost during the combination/generalization (this may have already been mentioned earlier in this thread) ... to turn ACB's problem into a Gettier-like problem requires adding a second (and conditional) belief into the fray and then generalizing on the first, such as combining "I believe my friend Jones is in France" and "I believe my friend Jones wants to visit the Lascaux cave paintings" into "I believe a friend of mine is in France and will visit the Lascaux cave paintings" (when in fact it turns out that Jones had to cancel and gave his travel arrangements to my friend Smith).

EDIT: I dunno though - this still doesn't strike me as being the whole story ... ... ...

EDIT II: For example, what happens when you try to turn the Gettier problem into an ACB-like problem?:

A1 Smith believes that a man will get the job (as inferred from A2)
A2 Smith is justified in believing that Jones will get the job
A3 Smith gets the job
A4 Intuitively, Smith still did not know A1 (in contrast with ACB's problem)
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 07:12 pm
@ACB,
ACB;105469 wrote:
I think it must have something to do with the prior likelihood of the actual state of affairs ...


... I think you could be on to something there ... I am currently reading a book entitled "The Continuity of Mind" that suggests that human cognition can be influenced by the perceived crispness/fuzziness of the constraints/degrees-of-freedom of a situation ... along those same lines, a perceived crisp either-or situation could result in one intuition of what a person knows (Gettier's problem), whereas a perceived fuzzy if-not-Paris-then-probably-in-the-general-vicinity situation could result in another intuition of what a person knows (ACB's problem) ... unfortunately, this implies that it would be highly problematic (as Ken notes, "ad hoc") to try to model this intuition using traditional logic (and in fact the author of "The Continuity of Mind" attempts to model cognition as a continuous trajectory through a many-dimensional state space) ...
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 09:00 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;104734 wrote:
I know of no other plausible explanations. The only plausible explanation of what explains the experiences we have is that they are caused by external objects. That is why I keep asking my question.


The 'solipsist' does not believe that an external world exists at all. The phenomenologist assumes such a world exists, but is not interested in investigating it, because he knows that it is unknown and cannot be investigated. I for one am a phenomenologist.

Emil;104752 wrote:
I see that you did not take my invitation to present your argument in formal logic. Why not?


See post #172, pg. 18. Formal logic does not interest me and, in any case, I believe my statements in words expressed what I intended to express. If they aren't convincing to you, I would enjoy hearing your rebuttal.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 23 Nov, 2009 11:36 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;105521 wrote:
The 'solipsist' does not believe that an external world exists at all. The phenomenologist assumes such a world exists, but is not interested in investigating it, because he knows that it is unknown and cannot be investigated. I for one am a phenomenologist.



.


So, what is the answer to the questions, where do our subjective experiences come from? And what is the difference between dreams and hallucinations, and what is real?
 
Emil
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 01:29 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;105471 wrote:
Too ad hoc even if it worked.

Even though the prior probability of a large set of conditions is low, do you not think that given all the attempts there have been to find the right few conditions increase the probability enough to warrant further research?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 24 Nov, 2009 08:00 am
@Emil,
Emil;105546 wrote:
Even though the prior probability of a large set of conditions is low, do you not think that given all the attempts there have been to find the right few conditions increase the probability enough to warrant further research?


I suppose it would depend on the conditions. A condition like no false premises would, if it worked, be a plausible one. But one that looked too expressly made up, would not be. Gettier is said to have created a chart that lists all the possible defenses of JTB, and shown that none of them will do. This is a rumor, but from a fairly reliable source.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 12:32 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;105532 wrote:
So, what is the answer to the questions, where do our subjective experiences come from? And what is the difference between dreams and hallucinations, and what is real?


In my view:

Where do our experiences come from?

I do not know, it is not possible to know, and therefore there is no way or reason to attempt to answer the above question. However, if such an attempt is made, it is best to acknowledge that the answer can be nothing but pure speculation, which is fine and has its place, but should not be sold as the truth, which, by definition, it cannot be. Rather, we should focus our philosophic energies on understanding our own phenomenal worlds: the nature of the various phenomena, their relations to one another, etc.

What is the difference between dreams and hallucinations? What is real?

There is no distinction between reality and appearance. Reality is defined as appearance and vice versa; they are synonymous. Dreams, hallucinations, and the waking state are all different varieties of the same fundemental thing: experience.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 12:42 am
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;105750 wrote:
In my view:

Where do our experiences come from?

I do not know, it is not possible to know, and therefore there is no way or reason to attempt to answer the above question. However, if such an attempt is made, it is best to acknowledge that the answer can be nothing but pure speculation, which is fine and has its place, but should not be sold as the truth, which, by definition, it cannot be. Rather, we should focus our philosophic energies on understanding our own phenomenal worlds: the nature of the various phenomena, their relations to one another, etc.

What is the difference between dreams and hallucinations? What is real?

There is no distinction between reality and appearance. Reality is defined as appearance and vice versa; they are synonymous. Dreams, hallucinations, and the waking state are all different varieties of the same fundemental thing: experience.


Your view doesn't seem very helpful. It contains no answers. There seems not to be much point in it.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 01:31 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;105751 wrote:
Your view doesn't seem very helpful. It contains no answers. There seems not to be much point in it.


*It contains no answers to the questions which you seem to think are important.

There are, in fact, other questions one might ask. Smile
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 01:37 am
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;105767 wrote:
*It contains no answers to the questions which you seem to think are important.

There are, in fact, other questions one might ask. Smile


Well, it is true that there are other questions one might ask. About the weather, about politics, and so on. I was talking about questions related to the thread.
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 01:44 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;105769 wrote:
Well, it is true that there are other questions one might ask. About the weather, about politics, and so on. I was talking about questions related to the thread.


In order to determine whether knowing were or were not a mental event, I suppose it might be helpful to know what is meant by 'knowing' and also by 'mental event.' So, questions about the nature of those two things might be related to the thread, no? Those are questions that can be answered from my perspective, because they pertain only to experienced phenomena, not to any imaginary external things, which is to say, not to any other experienced phenomena which have been misidentified as something else.
 
ACB
 
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 09:52 am
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;105750 wrote:
In my view:

Where do our experiences come from?

I do not know, it is not possible to know, and therefore there is no way or reason to attempt to answer the above question. However, if such an attempt is made, it is best to acknowledge that the answer can be nothing but pure speculation, which is fine and has its place, but should not be sold as the truth, which, by definition, it cannot be. Rather, we should focus our philosophic energies on understanding our own phenomenal worlds: the nature of the various phenomena, their relations to one another, etc.

What is the difference between dreams and hallucinations? What is real?

There is no distinction between reality and appearance. Reality is defined as appearance and vice versa; they are synonymous. Dreams, hallucinations, and the waking state are all different varieties of the same fundemental thing: experience.


If there is no such thing as reality independent of experience, are you happy to use the word 'reality' to denote the coherent stream of experience that we have in the waking state? 'Illusion' could then be used to denote non-coherent experiences such as dreams and hallucinations.

Some further questions:

1. According to your view, does it make sense to say you were completely unconscious (asleep and not dreaming, or in a coma) during a particular period of time? Can such a period exist, if there is no reality outside our experience?

2. Can one's memory ever be wrong, if it does not relate to anything external? Do our past experiences exist independently of our present memory of them?

3. When we experience a work of art or technology, are we literally creating it ourselves?

4. Are you a solipsist? If not, how do you reconcile the independent existence of other minds with the bolded sentence above?

5. Do you rule out the possibility of Kantian things-in-thmselves? If not, how do you reconcile their possibility with the bolded sentence?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 10:27 am
@ACB,
ACB;105847 wrote:
'Illusion' could then be used to denote non-coherent experiences such as dreams and hallucinations.



Incoherence could be (and is) why we believe that we are undergoing hallucinations, and that we were dreaming. But it is surely not what hallucinations and dreaming are. Hallucinations are sets of experiences that are not caused by any external objects. Incoherence is how we tell that something is an hallucination. Just as we have to distinguish between how we tell that something is a dog, and what it is to be be a dog, we have to distinguish between how we tell that something is real or not, and what it is for something to be real or not.
 
ACB
 
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 11:30 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;105858 wrote:
Incoherence could be (and is) why we believe that we are undergoing hallucinations, and that we were dreaming. But it is surely not what hallucinations and dreaming are. Hallucinations are sets of experiences that are not caused by any external objects. Incoherence is how we tell that something is an hallucination. Just as we have to distinguish between how we tell that something is a dog, and what it is to be be a dog, we have to distinguish between how we tell that something is real or not, and what it is for something to be real or not.


I agree entirely. I only meant that incoherence is usually a property of dreams and hallucinations. But, of course, it is not a necessary one. From a realist perspective, the content of a dream or hallucination is not real, even if it is coherent enough to make us believe it is real. From an idealist perspective, though, the situation is not so clear; it is hard to see how one could distinguish a fully coherent dream or hallucination from 'normal' experience.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 25 Nov, 2009 11:51 am
@ACB,
ACB;105876 wrote:
I agree entirely. I only meant that incoherence is usually a property of dreams and hallucinations. But, of course, it is not a necessary one. From a realist perspective, the content of a dream or hallucination is not real, even if it is coherent enough to make us believe it is real. From an idealist perspective, though, the situation is not so clear; it is hard to see how one could distinguish a fully coherent dream or hallucination from 'normal' experience.


Yes. That is one reason Idealism is implausible. But it is not that we cannot distinguish between the two, it is that there is (for Idealism) no difference. Idealism commits the confusion intrinsic to it: it confuses epistemology with metaphysics. Justification conditions with truth conditions.
 
 

 
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