The semantically infinite well of epistemology.

Many have suggested this topic so I hope you who did can make it to carry this topic. There are so many facets and positions to this that im sure an hour or 2 will not get us anywhere, maybe a day or two would..

I would like to let those who really feel for this subject bring ideas and thoughts on a direction. Feel free in the comments to suggest talking points or interests of yours to bring up.

A few people have brought up interests in spirituality and consciousness and I think I would like to at some point compare and contrast epistemology to intuition. "Gut feelings" and "truth".

All this is pretty vague so as the week moves lets try to refine the scope of our discussion so we don't resort to entrenching ourselves in our philosophical definitions.

Thought experiments?

Personal thoughts/experiences?

 

On a side note this might happen at Z pizza close by or kat's.

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  • JasonC

    My provocation - knowledge actually exists. Despite the best efforts of endless schools of philosophers and skeptics over the centuries to poke holes in the very notion and to prove that the idea is absurd, mankind continues to blithely ignore those compelling arguments, and go right on actually knowing things. All kinds of things, big and small, theoretical and practical, abstract and concrete. People know how to X, they know that Y, they know their times tables, they know how things work, they know how to make things, they know how to predict some things, they know that they cannot predict others, they know what other people are feeling - some of them they know what I am about to say next.

    Knowledge is a fact, as plain as pikestaff. Any theory that denies that knowledge is possible or actually exists is just flat out wrong. Exploded by observation, falsified, untenable.

    The interesting question is how it actually works. What about the world, or us, gets it to happen?

    June 3, 2013

    • JasonC

      We don't need to understand *that* knowledge happens - it does. We need to understand just how it happens, and what its being possible tells us about the world and about ourselves.

      1 · June 17, 2013

    • JasonC

      In addition, I note that the single work of Kant in my list occurs in the 6th place out of 21, which is about 1/4 of the way in (5 before, 15 after), hardly at any "climax". Methinks you have your own issues with specific parts of that history, rather than with the man in front of you.

      June 17, 2013

  • JasonC

    I received a question late in the night for suggested readings. It was hard to come up with a single title on the spot because the subject matter is contentious enough that one generally has to read several sources to see the various sides of the issue. I wound up recommending a single title from the phenomenology tradition ("the phenomenology of perception" by Merleau Ponty) because it at least gives a detailed exposition from first principles. But in the Discussions are I now provide a more detailed reading list for those interested in going deeper. I hope some find it helpful.

    1 · June 10, 2013

    • Randy

      Thanks for the list. Much appreciated.

      June 10, 2013

  • JasonC

    Am I in the right place? 111 w Monroe downtown. Don't see the rest of you , yet...

    June 9, 2013

  • Jacquie

    Unfortunately something came up and I will not be able to attend tonight. I look forward to meeting everyone at the next meet-up.

    June 9, 2013

  • JasonC

    Got the update, going to Z Pizza on 111 W Monroe.

    June 9, 2013

  • Randy

    I'll assume that's the one at 111 W. Monroe.

    June 9, 2013

  • zenviking

    Coffee or Pizza that is the question...

    June 9, 2013

  • Randy

    Khalil, I got your update. Google maps tells me there are two ZPizza downtown locations. 111 W. Monroe and 53 W. Thomas. Which one are we meeting at?

    June 9, 2013

  • Eric

    Where is Z pizza?

    June 9, 2013

  • JasonC

    Any chance we can be inside, since it will be about 100 degrees outside?

    June 9, 2013

  • Eric

    I agree with Chris that one can not have knowledge of the future. I disagree with him about the world not being completely deterministic. The world can be completely deterministic and the calculations for predicting any one event would include an infinite amount of variables, making an absolute prediction impossible.

    JasonC makes the point, as most philosophers do, that a true belief must be justified to be knowledge. But including justification for a true belief sends us down a rabbit hole. Why can't we just say knowledge is true belief. Then we can avoid the Gettier problem all together. If something is true and we believe it to be so then we have knowledge of it. Then instead of spending so much time on what is justified, we can concentrate on what is true, how we come to believe what is true, and if it is possible for us to come to believe what is true.

    June 9, 2013

  • Randy

    Has a location been decided yet? If it's at Kat's I'll need directions.

    June 9, 2013

  • Idell K.

    I had planned to come, but I got slammed with a virus with which I am experiencing direct knowledge.....Next time I hope to be feeling--knowing--better.

    June 7, 2013

    • Brent

      Sorry to hear you're not feeling well, Idell. Get better soon and hope to see you next time!

      June 8, 2013

  • Brent

    I count as "knowledge" a belief which I cannot reasonably doubt. (By the inclusion of "reasonably", I am disagreeing with the Cartesian idea that the only beliefs which should count as knowledge are those that can be shown to be sure and certain in the same way that the deductively-derived theorems of mathematics and geometry are sure and certain.) For me, then, knowledge does not require absolute or mathematical/deductive certitude. Rather it requires a high degree of evidence-based confidence in the truth of a belief. (Therefore, there is an inherently subjective aspect to knowledge - even if objectively true.)

    1 · June 5, 2013

    • Brent

      So (just to add a bit more) if I can reasonably doubt a belief (e.g., by recognizing the plausibility of an alternative belief/interpretation/hy­pothesis) then I will hold that belief with an some degree of relative confidence, depending on the relative plausibility of the alternatives. An ordinary belief for me, then, is not an all-or-nothing proposition, but is always weighted with regard to its relative plausibility (say, where 50% confidence = agnostic, and 51+% = a belief that is more likely to be true than not, the best "fit" or explanation of which I am cognizant). And at the very high-end of that plausibility scale, when I find that I simply cannot reasonably doubt a belief (say, 99+% confidence), then I have moved beyond ordinary belief to indubitable belief, which is what I mean by "knowledge."

      June 5, 2013

  • JasonC

    Another for Chris - the auger looks at the sheep liver and sees dendrite patterns trailing off vaguely to his right. He therefore believes that Jupiter favors the Roman cause this day, and seeks to use the Romans as a thunderbolt to smite the unjust men of a neighboring Latin city. The augur tells the consul to give battle today, for the signs are favorable, the gods on our side, and victory is certain. The consul gives battle, and the Romans are victorious.

    Was it knowledge?

    June 4, 2013

    • Chris

      I see what you're saying. Sorry, my definition of knowledge only applies to events that have or are happening. It didn't apply to future events. I don't believe you can have knowledge of future events. The universe does not appear completely deterministic.

      2 · June 4, 2013

    • JasonC

      Surely the universe doesn't need to be completely deterministic for there to be, let us say, predictability of future events (to avoid begging the knowledge question). We can predict where a probe will be within a 3 kilometer window at Mars after 3 years in space, e.g. Truth claims do not need to be exhaustive, they can call their shots (" it will be between here and here by then").

      June 4, 2013

  • JasonC

    Chris - I believe that the new car is behind door number one. Well, actually I just have no idea but flat out guess, since a one in three chance at a new car is better than nothing. Lo, the car is behind door number --- one! Was it knowledge?

    June 4, 2013

    • Chris

      Follow my definition: 1. You said you didn't know which door it was behind. Thus, you do not believe it's behind door number one, even if the car actually is behind door 1. So, no. Not knowledge.

      1 · June 4, 2013

    • JasonC

      So if I think I am psychic and just know that it is behind door number one, and it is, is that knowledge? It is a belief and it happens to be true. I assume you can see what I am getting at. Knowledge in some stricter sense seems to require so reliability, justification, or connection between the reasons for the belief and the fact that it is true. If the connection is purely coincidental or random, it seems less like what we normallynmean by knowledge. Don't get me wrong, I like the attemptnat a simply definition andbI likebthe actually true requirement. I just don't think it is quite enough yet, as stated.

      June 4, 2013

  • Chris

    Knowledge: a belief in a premise where the premise is actually true.

    1 · June 3, 2013

  • Steve

    Out of town.

    June 3, 2013

  • JasonC

    Even if I have to drive 100 miles, I will for this topic...

    June 3, 2013

  • JasonC

    I love the topic and am I eager to engage with any and all on it.
    The time picked for it, I was scheduled to be up in Sedona on vacation. But I love this topic enough I'll make the trip back to Phoenix just to talk with you all about it.

    I will also provide an intro provocation to everyone interested in attending, right after this little note...

    June 3, 2013

  • Brent

    What is knowledge?

    Does knowledge require certainty? By what criteria, if any, can a belief be properly counted as knowledge? Given that we might always be mistaken, is knowledge even possible? Or is there some belief which in principle cannot be mistaken (as per Descartes)?

    Assuming that knowledge, strictly defined, were impossible for us...and we only had beliefs with varying degrees of confidence (depending on the information available in experience)...would it make any practical difference (beyond mere semantics)?

    June 3, 2013

  • Idell K.

    It's been years since I attended a philosophy class, so I looked up the topic and read what seems a good summary of threads. It's overwhelming! If I am able to attend, i would like a slice (pizza?) of the topic, something to get my teeth into. If our goal is to stay in the abstract world of ideas and thoughts about thoughts, knowledge, I'll have trouble staying awake. If so, I'm happy to pass on this one. We could compare/contrast the later schools of thought on the subject..., or approach one concrete issue through the lens of one or two schools of thought....This is a start anyhow....Anyone else?

    June 2, 2013

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