The Truth Condition of Knowledge

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fast
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 09:05 am
I want to take a closer look at the truth condition of knowledge.

Let's suppose that I do know P. If that's the case, then based on that, then we know that I believe P. Also, we know that I have an adequate justification for the belief. Finally, since I know P, it's also true that what I believe is true. In short, if I know P, then P is true. To write it differently, if I know P, then P is actually true. Of course, I need not be explicit and say that P is actually true, for if P is true, then P is actually true, but I will make it explicit since I will be comparing "P is actually true" to "P is possibly true."

To put what's important in a nutshell, a necessary condition of knowledge is that P is actually true. This should not be confused with "P is possibly true." The relationship between the two is interesting. If P is actually true, then P is possibly true, but just because P is possibly true, that doesn't mean P is actually true. A confusion between the two could lead a person to misunderstand what it means to say we know something.

There's something else about the truth condition of knowledge that is troubling for some folks. Because there are three necessary conditions of knowledge, people intuitively think they need three different methodologies for determining whether they have been satisfied, but I think only two questions need to be answered; however, that is not to say all three conditions don't need to be met.

For example, we need to ask, "Do we believe P (?)," and we need a way to answer the question. Introspection is how that is done. We simply ask ourselves if we believe, and if we say yes, then we do-unless we're deceiving ourselves.

Next, we need to ask if there is adequate justification for our belief, and there needs to be a way to answer that. For example, lots of good evidence for our belief (and little to no evidence to the contrary) would serve as adequate justification

Finally, and this is the important part, once the two questions have been asked and answered; hence, once we know it's true that we have a justified belief, this is where people make the mistake of thinking they need to ask a third question. They don't need to ask whether or not P is true, but (and don't miss this) only if the condition is satisfied is it true that we have knowledge. Note, I am barring the Gettier complication.
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:47 am
@fast,
fast;128471 wrote:
I want to take a closer look at the truth condition of knowledge.

Let's suppose that I do know P. If that's the case, then based on that, then we know that I believe P. Also, we know that I have an adequate justification for the belief. Finally, since I know P, it's also true that what I believe is true. In short, if I know P, then P is true. To write it differently, if I know P, then P is actually true. Of course, I need not be explicit and say that P is actually true, for if P is true, then P is actually true, but I will make it explicit since I will be comparing "P is actually true" to "P is possibly true."

To put what's important in a nutshell, a necessary condition of knowledge is that P is actually true. This should not be confused with "P is possibly true." The relationship between the two is interesting. If P is actually true, then P is possibly true, but just because P is possibly true, that doesn't mean P is actually true. A confusion between the two could lead a person to misunderstand what it means to say we know something.

There's something else about the truth condition of knowledge that is troubling for some folks. Because there are three necessary conditions of knowledge, people intuitively think they need three different methodologies for determining whether they have been satisfied, but I think only two questions need to be answered; however, that is not to say all three conditions don't need to be met.

For example, we need to ask, "Do we believe P (?)," and we need a way to answer the question. Introspection is how that is done. We simply ask ourselves if we believe, and if we say yes, then we do-unless we're deceiving ourselves.

Next, we need to ask if there is adequate justification for our belief, and there needs to be a way to answer that. For example, lots of good evidence for our belief (and little to no evidence to the contrary) would serve as adequate justification

Finally, and this is the important part, once the two questions have been asked and answered; hence, once we know it's true that we have a justified belief, this is where people make the mistake of thinking they need to ask a third question. They don't need to ask whether or not P is true, but (and don't miss this) only if the condition is satisfied is it true that we have knowledge. Note, I am barring the Gettier complication.


I don't understand why we "don't need to ask whether or not P is true"... it was my understanding that JTB had "P is true" as one of the premises, and you are giving the Justified True Belief theory of knowledge are you not (as you said without addressing Gettier)?

If I am missing something I need it spelled out, maybe I'm missing the connection between logical truth and "real" truth?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 10:49 am
@fast,
fast;128471 wrote:

Finally, and this is the important part, once the two questions have been asked and answered; hence, once we know it's true that we have a justified belief, this is where people make the mistake of thinking they need to ask a third question. They don't need to ask whether or not P is true, but (and don't miss this) only if the condition is satisfied is it true that we have knowledge. Note, I am barring the Gettier complication.


Why don't we need to ask whether the proposition is true?
 
fast
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:03 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;128496 wrote:
Why don't we need to ask whether the proposition is true?
Because we already know the answer.
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:06 am
@fast,
fast;128499 wrote:
Because we already know the answer.


No but seriously, if P is not true then we don't know the answer. Are you saying that truth is justified belief? You're going to have to respond with more than one sentence before I understand what you're trying to say.
 
fast
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:06 am
@Scottydamion,
[QUOTE=Scottydamion;128495]I don't understand why we "don't need to ask whether or not P is true"... it was my understanding that JTB had "P is true" as one of the premises, and you are giving the Justified True Belief theory of knowledge are you not (as you said without addressing Gettier)?

If I am missing something I need it spelled out, maybe I'm missing the connection between logical truth and "real" truth?[/QUOTE]
Well, suppose you did ask the third question after asking and answering the first two questions. How would you go about figuring out the answer to the third question, but more importantly, what would you do that you have not already done?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:07 am
@fast,
fast;128499 wrote:
Because we already know the answer.


What is the answer?
 
fast
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:09 am
@Scottydamion,
Scottydamion;128503 wrote:
No but seriously, if P is not true then we don't know the answer. Are you saying that truth is justified belief? You're going to have to respond with more than one sentence before I understand what you're trying to say.
Truth is more than merely a justified belief. "P is actually true" is a necessary condition.

---------- Post added 02-15-2010 at 12:10 PM ----------

kennethamy;128507 wrote:
What is the answer?
The answer is yes.
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:10 am
@fast,
fast;128504 wrote:

Well, suppose you did ask the third question after asking and answering the first two questions. How would you go about figuring out the answer to the third question, but more importantly, what would you do that you have not already done?


So you are equating justified belief with truth?
 
fast
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:14 am
@Scottydamion,
[QUOTE=Scottydamion;128512]So you are equating justified belief with truth?[/QUOTE]I'm saying that your quest for determining whether or not P is true was over once you determined that your belief was adequately justified. What else could you do? Find more evidence? Fine, but you'll still have an adequately justified belief. Of course, it's still the case that you don't know unless your adequately justified belief is true, but there's no additional third step to determine the answer.
 
Emil
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:15 am
@fast,
fast;128471 wrote:
I want to take a closer look at the truth condition of knowledge.

Let's suppose that I do know P. If that's the case, then based on that, then we know that I believe P. Also, we know that I have an adequate justification for the belief. Finally, since I know P, it's also true that what I believe is true. In short, if I know P, then P is true. To write it differently, if I know P, then P is actually true. Of course, I need not be explicit and say that P is actually true, for if P is true, then P is actually true, but I will make it explicit since I will be comparing "P is actually true" to "P is possibly true."

To put what's important in a nutshell, a necessary condition of knowledge is that P is actually true. This should not be confused with "P is possibly true." The relationship between the two is interesting. If P is actually true, then P is possibly true, but just because P is possibly true, that doesn't mean P is actually true. A confusion between the two could lead a person to misunderstand what it means to say we know something.

There's something else about the truth condition of knowledge that is troubling for some folks. Because there are three necessary conditions of knowledge, people intuitively think they need three different methodologies for determining whether they have been satisfied, but I think only two questions need to be answered; however, that is not to say all three conditions don't need to be met.

For example, we need to ask, "Do we believe P (?)," and we need a way to answer the question. Introspection is how that is done. We simply ask ourselves if we believe, and if we say yes, then we do-unless we're deceiving ourselves.

Next, we need to ask if there is adequate justification for our belief, and there needs to be a way to answer that. For example, lots of good evidence for our belief (and little to no evidence to the contrary) would serve as adequate justification

Finally, and this is the important part, once the two questions have been asked and answered; hence, once we know it's true that we have a justified belief, this is where people make the mistake of thinking they need to ask a third question. They don't need to ask whether or not P is true, but (and don't miss this) only if the condition is satisfied is it true that we have knowledge. Note, I am barring the Gettier complication.


In other worlds, from a 1st person perspective T is equivalent with J. That's right and it confuses many people. Though I don't find your explanation above very good.

I made a thread about this very topic a year ago or so at FRDB and I think you participated in that thread. Unfortunately forum rules prevent me from linking to the thread and my webhost is down atm, so I cannot link you to my homepage either.

---------- Post added 02-15-2010 at 06:15 PM ----------

Scottydamion;128512 wrote:
So you are equating justified belief with truth?


From a 1st person perspective, yes.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:16 am
@fast,
fast;128509 wrote:
Truth is more than merely a justified belief. "P is actually true" is a necessary condition.

---------- Post added 02-15-2010 at 12:10 PM ----------

The answer is yes.


And how do we know that?
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:28 am
@fast,
fast;128509 wrote:
Truth is more than merely a justified belief. "P is actually true" is a necessary condition.

---------- Post added 02-15-2010 at 12:10 PM ----------

The answer is yes.


"P is actually true" is a necessary condition of knowledge is what you said, not "P is actually true" is a necessary condition of justified belief.

You mention finding more evidence only making a justified belief more justified, but you fail to mention finding evidence against your justified belief... how do you address that with the notion you have going?

---------- Post added 02-15-2010 at 11:30 AM ----------

Emil;128516 wrote:
In other worlds, from a 1st person perspective T is equivalent with J. That's right and it confuses many people. Though I don't find your explanation above very good.

I made a thread about this very topic a year ago or so at FRDB and I think you participated in that thread. Unfortunately forum rules prevent me from linking to the thread and my webhost is down atm, so I cannot link you to my homepage either.

---------- Post added 02-15-2010 at 06:15 PM ----------



From a 1st person perspective, yes.


You'll have to explain how a 1st person perspective makes T equal to J, because I tend to think T disappears from a 1st person perspective...

*EDIT*
And thank you again for the logic book! I'm about a fifth of the way through and am having trouble putting it down.
 
Emil
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:34 am
@Scottydamion,
Scottydamion;128523 wrote:
You'll have to explain how a 1st person perspective makes T equal to J, because I tend to think T disappears from a 1st person perspective...

*EDIT*
And thank you again for the logic book! I'm about a fifth of the way through and am having trouble putting it down.


I have no idea what it means to say that T disappears from a 1st person perspective. I am too lazy to write an explanation of it again, you must wait until my website comes back online.

Good, I'm always extremely delighted when people learn logic, perhaps because it happens so rarely...
 
fast
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 11:37 am
@kennethamy,
[QUOTE=kennethamy;128496]Why don't we need to ask whether the proposition is true?[/QUOTE]I'm going back to your original question. I misread your question, and let me say that it's perfectly okay to ask if a proposition is true. I wasn't talking about the proposition. I was talking about the truth condition. I'll elaborate shortly.

---------- Post added 02-15-2010 at 12:52 PM ----------

We need a running example:

Student: Is Quito the capital of Ecuador?
Teacher: Yes

Student: How do you know?
Teacher: I have evidence.

Student: If you know that Quito is the capital of Ecuador, then all three necessary conditions have been met, right?
Teacher: That's right.

Student: (Question 1 of 3) Has the belief condition been met, and if so, describe the process you went through to determine the answer?
Teacher: Yes, and I determined the answer through introspection.

Student: (Question 2 of 3) Has the justification condition been met, and if so, describe the process you went through to determine the answer
Teacher: Yes, and I determined the answer through gathering evidence.

This is where I (fast) step in and point out that the student doesn't need to ask the next question. He can if he wants, but the teacher isn't going to do anymore than he already has. The student decides that he's going to ask anyway:

Student: (Question 3 of 3) Has the truth condition been met, and if so, describe the process you went through to determine the answer.

I'm not rightly sure how the teacher is going to respond, but I have a funny feeling that he isn't going to do anything he hasn't already done. The teacher obviously believes the truth condition has been met, but how does the teacher know; more importantly (and I mean, much more importantly), what is the teacher going to do that he hasn't already?

---------- Post added 02-15-2010 at 12:55 PM ----------

Emil;128516 wrote:
In other worlds, from a 1st person perspective T is equivalent with J. That's right and it confuses many people. Though I don't find your explanation above very good.
That doesn't make sense to me. T and J are independent.

---------- Post added 02-15-2010 at 01:04 PM ----------

[QUOTE=Scottydamion;128523]"P is actually true" is a necessary condition of knowledge is what you said, not "P is actually true" is a necessary condition of justified belief.[/QUOTE]
Yes, a necessary condition of knowledge is that P is true. In other words, a necessary condition of knowledge is that P is actually true.

[QUOTE]You mention finding more evidence only making a justified belief more justified, but you fail to mention finding evidence against your justified belief... how do you address that with the notion you have going?[/QUOTE]I think all that fits under the justification heading. Given all the evidence, either my belief is adequately justified or it isn't. Consider the Quito example, and suppose that I believe P and that my belief is adequately justified. Obviously, I do not know P if P is false, but what else can we do to answer the question "is P true" beyond the satisfying of the justification condition?

That my belief is justified doesn't imply that my belief is true! Ya better believe it, but our intuitive inclination to answer the third question "Is P true" is for naught once we've tackled the justification condition.
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 09:26 am
@fast,
fast;128532 wrote:
I'm going back to your original question. I misread your question, and let me say that it's perfectly okay to ask if a proposition is true. I wasn't talking about the proposition. I was talking about the truth condition. I'll elaborate shortly.

I'm not rightly sure how the teacher is going to respond, but I have a funny feeling that he isn't going to do anything he hasn't already done. The teacher obviously believes the truth condition has been met, but how does the teacher know; more importantly (and I mean, much more importantly), what is the teacher going to do that he hasn't already?

I think all that fits under the justification heading. Given all the evidence, either my belief is adequately justified or it isn't. Consider the Quito example, and suppose that I believe P and that my belief is adequately justified. Obviously, I do not know P if P is false, but what else can we do to answer the question "is P true" beyond the satisfying of the justification condition?

That my belief is justified doesn't imply that my belief is true! Ya better believe it, but our intuitive inclination to answer the third question "Is P true" is for naught once we've tackled the justification condition.


I understand your point, and I think we agree. To me it says you have to know the truth condition has been met before you know P, and that is like saying you have to know in order to know, the biconditional K <=> K in a sense. So it is like saying knowledge is impossible, except perhaps intuitively, and that is something I have been trying to make clear on a different thread, but I got hung up by trying to invoke the KK principle, when I think I meant the above. I was saying "know that you know" instead of "know in order to know".

So do we agree, at least in some way, or are you saying the definition of knowledge should be changed?
 
fast
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 09:37 am
@Scottydamion,
[QUOTE=Scottydamion;128972]To me it says you have to know the truth condition has been met before you know P, [/QUOTE]Actually, I don't think that we agree. What's important is not that we know that the conditions have been satisfied. People make the mistake of thinking that there is no knowledge without knowledge that the conditions have been satisfied. What is important is that the conditions have been satisfied.

For example, if I have a justified belief that P is true, then I have knowledge that P is true if the justified belief is true. But, knowledge that the conditions have been met is not necessary. What's necessary is that they have been met.

Consider the following proposition: "The cat is on the table." If I have a justified belief that P is true, then I know that the cat is on the table if it's true, and I don't know that the cat is on the table if it's false.
 
Zetherin
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 09:40 am
@fast,
So, all you're saying is that the person doesn't need to do, or can't do, anything more to satisfy the third condition. But we still need to ask if the third condition stands, as it is possible one could just have a justified belief.

fast wrote:

Consider the following proposition: "The cat is on the table." If I have a justified belief that P is true, then I know that the cat is on the table if it's true, and I don't know that the cat is on the table if it's false.


Right. But it can still be worth it to ask sometimes. Alternatively, you could directly observe the cat on the mat.
 
Scottydamion
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 09:47 am
@fast,
fast;128977 wrote:
Actually, I don't think that we agree. What's important is not that we know that the conditions have been satisfied. People make the mistake of thinking that there is no knowledge without knowledge that the conditions have been satisfied. What is important is that the conditions have been satisfied.

For example, if I have a justified belief that P is true, then I have knowledge that P is true if the justified belief is true. But, knowledge that the conditions have been met is not necessary. What's necessary is that they have been met.

Consider the following proposition: "The cat is on the table." If I have a justified belief that P is true, then I know that the cat is on the table if it's true, and I don't know that the cat is on the table if it's false.


I see that, but my point is isn't the pursuit to confirm knowledge?

And isn't justification question begging anyways? Do you not have to justify your means of justification?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Tue 16 Feb, 2010 09:49 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;128978 wrote:
So, all you're saying is that the person doesn't need to do, or can't do, anything more to satisfy the third condition. But we still need to ask if the third condition stands, as it is possible one could just have a justified belief.



Right. But it can still be worth it to ask sometimes. Alternatively, you could directly observe the cat on the mat.


Isn't the direct observation that the cat is on the table (the table? I thought it was the mat) justification that the cat is on the whatever it is.
 
 

 
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