Blog post 016 adapted form an essay I wrote in 2019.

It is a bit of an annoyance to me that largely epistemologically speaking that knowledge is considered a subset of belief, in some manner that knowledge itself is uncertain rather than belief. That belief is considered a necessity to knowledge in the first I find truly baffling!

As described by most; knowledge is a true justified belief.

First, we must identify what is meant here by knowledge, all too often a claim to know X is true is considered knowledge when in reality it is a claim to know something is true, it is a proposition based on what is understood by an individual an individual knows what he/she understands however what he she/she understands might not be accurate or true.

In any claims there must be justification for claims (propositions) to be said to be true, it is why in calming something educated and reasonable people tend to affix ‘in my opinion’, ‘I believe’, ‘so I believe’ or ‘if X then Y, P’. Any claim has the potential to be fallible- to be false. So, to consider it true must have a truth condition it must be measurable as true where insufficient evidence is available it can be considered a responsible justified belief, this however wouldn’t classify as true. For knowledge itself things you (i.e not a proposition) know, like the word ‘and’ you know ‘and’ it’s not a proposition it’s not something you believe it’s not even something that can be said to be true. In the proposition of the concept of ‘and’- and is this and that used to connect words and clauses (see how that works!) that is what ‘and’ is as a proposition is a reasonable justified belief, that you know the word ‘and’ is the artifact of the thought, it is knowledge you hold. This means in MY OPINION that the traditional or classic understanding of knowledge as a concept in epistemology is very wrong indeed. That I know classical concept of knowledge in epistemology is further testimony to the fact that belief Isn’t a requirement of knowledge, nor does knowledge require the quality of true, prostitution does if a proposition is to considers as true.

Further testimony to this is highlighted by Colin Radford, Schutz & Schwitzgebel

“A more serious counterexample has been suggested by Colin Radford (1966). Suppose Albert is quizzed on English history. One of the questions is: “When did Queen Elizabeth die?” Albert doesn’t think he knows, but answers the question correctly. Moreover, he gives correct answers to many other questions to which he didn’t think he knew the answer. Let us focus on Albert’s answer to the question about Elizabeth:

(E)    Elizabeth died in 1603.
Radford makes the following two claims about this example:

Albert does not believe (E).
Albert knows (E).
Radford’s intuitions about cases like these do not seem to be idiosyncratic; Myers-Schutz & Schwitzgebel (2013) find evidence suggesting that many ordinary speakers tend to react in the way Radford suggests. In support of (a), Radford emphasizes that Albert thinks he doesn’t know the answer to the question. He doesn’t trust his answer because he takes it to be a mere guess. In support of (b), Radford argues that Albert’s answer is not at all just a lucky guess. The fact that he answers most of the questions correctly indicates that he has actually learned, and never forgotten, such historical facts.

Since he takes (a) and (b) to be true, Radford holds that belief is not necessary for knowledge. But either of (a) and (b) might be resisted. L even though it’s not one that he thinks amounts to knowledge. David Rose and Jonathan Schaffer (2013) take this route. Alternatively, one might deny (b), arguing that Albert’s correct answer is not an expression of knowledge, perhaps because, given his subjective position, he does not have justification for believing (E). The justification condition is the topic of the next section.” (SEP) (sic) To sum-up Radford suggests that Albert doesn’t believe what he knows but Albert does in fact know. Uncertain in the belief of I know that but by virtue of a true outcome certainly knew. To further lay a defence to Radford arguments (a) and (b), the tacit belief must be defined, tacit; understood or implied. The rebuttal to Redford can be worded Albert has not understood what he knows, implication his knowledge was uncertain. However, I feel that falls short of any true understanding or argument, as in answering. ‘Queen Elizabeth Died 1603’ indicates his knowledge was indeed certain it was his belief that was uncertain the proposition “I don’t know if I know.”

“The belief condition is only slightly more controversial than the truth condition. The general idea behind the belief condition is that you can only know what you believe. Failing to believe something precludes knowing it. “Belief” in the context of the JTB theory means full belief, or outright belief. In a weak sense, one might “believe” something by virtue of being pretty confident that it’s probably true—in this weak sense, someone who considered Clinton the favourite to win the election, even while recognizing a nontrivial possibility of her losing, might be said to have “believed” that Clinton would win. Outright belief is stronger (see, e.g., Fantl & McGrath 2009: 141; Nagel 2010: 413–4; Williamson 2005: 108; or Gibbons 2013: 201.). To believe outright that p, it isn’t enough to have a pretty high confidence in p; it is something closer to a commitment or a being sure.[4]” (Stanford encyclopaedia of philosophy) (sic) Justification for knowledge doesn’t come from what you believe or believe you know it comes from understanding information, information is not solitary to books it is what in your head it is an artifact, if you don’t understand the information or knowledge you gather you can never articulate it nor postulate a proposition, as everything till you finally understand or is understood cannot be said to be true but a belief. To label such as beliefs as knowledge would be wrong. For example, you can memorises poem you can recite it, you know the words you don’t believe them, without understanding that poem you measly hold that information as knowledge and can recall it, you cannot say anything of the poems or author’s intent you don’t know. To act on knowledge is to act with certainty to act on belief is to act out of faith.

Knowing knowledge now, we should discuss the metaphysicians’ assumptions in regard to reason; the claims: to reason and think are not automatic, to perceive is automatic. Let us consider a few things relating to cognitive dissonance and cognitive bias. In the modern world today confirmation bias seems to be growing in the age of information. “Confirmation bias is a type of cognitive bias and represents an error of inductive inference toward confirmation of the hypothesis under study. Confirmation bias is a phenomenon wherein decision makers have been shown to actively seek out and assign more weight to evidence that confirms their hypothesis and ignores or underweights evidence that could disconfirm their hypothesis. As such, it can be thought of as a form of selection bias in collecting evidence.” (Science Daily) “Cognitive dissonance refers to a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviours. This produces a feeling of mental discomfort leading to an alteration in one of the attitudes, beliefs or behaviours to reduce the discomfort and restore balance.” (Simple Psychology) We are all guilty of it to some degree or another to say otherwise is to be dishonest with oneself. Some of the larger factors include primitive reward driven behaviour that bias perception of new information to someone’s pre-established beliefs or theory. This is characterised as the seeking of information that confirms one’s hypothesis or belief while ignoring contradictory evidence. It feels good to confirm one’s belief and not so good to be wrong. Thus we tend to sample information that leads to self or social reword. In cognitive dissonance we find a mechanism for automatic reasoning from discomfort.  

Both cognitive dissonance and confirmation bias display an involuntary mechanism to reason, one is struck by information and by discomfort or other motivational means such as one’s character are forced to reason. We can witness the same in other animal species behaviour when confronted with a problem. By virtue of stimulus involuntary reason is manifest. Much like we have no choice in what we know, one in studying solipsism can lay further evidence to support the proposition to reason is impulsive.

Here is the fun part, to understand knowledge we must ask what is knowledge? Is it something we created or is it an involuntary result of a process of biology? If it were something synthetic, we would be able to change the nature of it or remove it entirely, however it is so that we cannot, we cannot even control what we know. It is that we are bombarded with information every day, some of it we understand intuitively other information requires motivation and effort to understand. So, we are left to conclude that knowledge is involuntary but there is a choice to the depth of knowledge one holds. A spectrum of reason.
So, then what is knowledge itself? It not something that is instant, it takes time. First there is the event/object then experience plus time then understanding then knowledge. Then object/event Y + experience X x T time = Understanding over time Z (Y + X x T = Z) knowledge and understanding must then be the same or dependent, plus subject to reason. 

Then we must ask what is the nature of understanding? Understanding is how it seems we navigate gate the world, it is how we move about our 4D space and interact. it is by way reason we understand— We tend not to interact with thing we do not understand, we eir on the side of caution, so it must be that we act when we are certain, so in acting we must understand what we are doing or think we do, to act one must reason. When don’t the action tends not to get the desired result. Their for understanding by nature is certain and cannot be uncertain. So what experiment could I devise that could test the odd assertion of Solipsism that only the self can be known. The experiment must contain a physical component, a mental component, a temporal component and demonstrate permanence.

So I came up with the following sentence,

“What came First, this sentence or your knowledge of it?” Time 14:44 GMT 30th March 2018 (for purpose of this article.)

Being the creator I require another participant to answer with their results.
The tests I conducted results show despite resistance and accounting of bias that the sentences existed prior to knowledge of it, The tests were ran over a series of discussions and can be had by yourselves. You will notice dear reader that you have without thought or concern begun the involuntary process of reasoning. Further to this Operant Conditioning method has greatly advanced our understanding. Which brings me to a point I share with Nietzsche, to reason is impulsive.

Regarding the statements shared by many that reason separates us from the animals no longer has valid ground, it is said that it is the idea of man being more than animal that has driven us to achieve such great thing as going to the moon. I would say that that is false, it is the nature of animals to reason. Having a more complex or developed nervous system is poor grounds to base separation on and only really serves at the subconscious level to make one feel good. It though has devastating effects. It is this same notion that has so many believe in creation myths as actual events as opposed to moral stories about how to create, it serves to further the notion that man is unnatural and bolsters anti-humanism conceptualisation. As well as homocentric views the notion that man is the reason for being. It is an error and as we know errors multiply over time. It is a narrow view of being human to say that we are more than animals. In my opinion. Though I do not think it takes away from man to say we are animals, infect I think it makes the human condition all the more beautiful and heroic. To stare into the darkness and cope with that fact that as Carl Sagan pout it.

Carl Sagan wrote

“See that star?”

“You mean that bright red one?” his daughter asks in return

“Yes, it might not be there anymore. It might be gone by now, exploded or something. Its light is still crossing space, just reaching our eyes now. But we don’t see it as it is, we see it as it was.”

Many people experience a stirring sense of wonder when they first confront this simple truth. Why? why should it be so compelling. The immense distances to the stars and the galaxies means we see everything in the past. Some as they were before the earth came to be. Telescopes are time machines.

Long ago, when an early galaxy began to pour light out into the surrounding darkness no witness could have known that billions of years later. Some remote clumps of rock and metal, ice and organic molecules would fall together to form a place that we call earth. And surely nobody could have imagined that life would arise, and thinking beings evolve who would one day capture a fraction of that light and would try to puzzle out what sent it on its way.

We can recognize here a shortcoming, in some circumstances serious, in our ability to understand the world. Characteristically, willie-nilly we seem compelled to project our own nature onto nature. Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work worthy of the interposition of a deity. Darwin wrote in his notebook, more humble, and I think truer to consider himself created from animals.

We’re johnny-come-latelys; we live in the cosmic boondocks; we emerged from microbes in muck; Apes are our cousins; our thoughts are not entirely our own, and on top of that we’re making a mess of our planet and becoming a danger to ourselves.

The trapdoor beneath our feet swings open. We find ourselves in bottomless free fall. We are lost in a great darkness and there is nobody to send out a search party. Given so harsh a reality, of course we are inclined to shut our eyes and pretend that we are safe and snug at home, that the fall is only a bad dream. If it takes a little myth and ritual to get us through a night that seems endless, who among us cannot sympathize and understand?

We long to be here for a purpose. Even though, despite much self-deception, none is evident. The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life’s meaning. We long for parents to care for us, to forgive us of our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge of preferable to ignorance. Better, by far, to embrace the harsh reality than a reassuring fable.

Modern science has been a voyage into the unknown, with a lesson in humility waiting at every stop. Our common sense intuitions can be mistaken. Our preferences don’t count. We do not live in a privileged reference frame. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal.” (sic)

Published by Engine Mortale

Engine Mortale is my chosen pseudonym, I’ve chosen a pseudonym because I think it most appropriate as some of work will be rather personal. I figured this was the best way. I’m an autodidact, my to prominent fields of study’s are behaviour and philosophy, most recently art and poetry have been of keen interest. I hope genuinely that some good comes out of my out of this thing i call a life, if nothing else just that.

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