• fdrake
    4k


    Maybe a logical reframing of this might be that it's possible to be certain of things that we do not believe that we believe?

    IE: Possibly [(X is certain that P) and not (X believes that X believes that P))]

    If belief as a modality collapses, this is equivalent to:

    Possibly[ (X is certain that P) and not (X believes that P)]

    A certainty might be an unknown known, or the truth-maker to the truth-bearing proposition. We believe only in truth bearers; statements; not their truth makers. What a statement is about and what makes it true is not the statement itself, it is merely equivalent to the statement content insofar as it is expressible.

    Edit: the explanatory paragraph might make certainty range over more than statements; over perceptual events and environmental behaviour, and would require an account of the connection between believing that P and the certainty acting on the truth-maker of P.
  • Banno
    8.8k
    "It's certain, but I do not believe it" is a performative contradiction.
  • Banno
    8.8k
    A certainty might be an unknown known,fdrake

    Something we know but do not know that we know?

    Then, by JTB, it is believed, but we do not believe that we believe it. The scope of each belief statement differs.
  • fdrake
    4k
    "It's certain, but I do not believe it" is a performative contradiction.Banno

    I agree! "X is certain about P => X believes that P". This doesn't address whether we can be certain of things that are not numerically identical to things we can state. Like perceptual events, or what makes "I am certain that I can ride a bike" true.

    Then, by JTB, it is believed, but we do not believe that we believe it. The scope of each belief statement differs.Banno

    Yes! I imagine that we can be certain of procedural and perceptual knowledge, in some cases we can state that we have such knowledge: "I know how to ride a bike" and "I can recognise a starling when I hear its song", but it seems to me the collection of procedural and perceptual knowledge I am certain of is much larger than the procedural and perceptual knowledge that I could declare that I am certain of (and thereby believe, from the above).

    Under the account that "X believes that P" entails "X can declare that "I believe that P"", these items of certain procedural and perceptual knowledge would not be believed by X (modus tollens) since they could not be declared by X.
  • Banno
    8.8k
    This doesn't address whether we can be certain of things that are not numerically identical to things we can state.fdrake

    I'm not going to talk about things we can't talk about. I suggest you don't, either. It's a very common problem for philosophers, easily remedied.

    So, that leaves us with stuff we can talk about.
  • fdrake
    4k
    I'm not going to talk about things we can't talk about. I suggest you don't, either. It's a very common problem for philosophers, easily remedied.Banno

    Oh I have no compunctions about talking about things which are not numerically identical to language items. All that matters is that we can treat what we're talking about consistently; a qualitative identity. I saw it raining today, that doesn't mean my perception was rain, or that "I saw it raining today" the statement was rain, all that matters is an equivalence between them.

    The link between a list of rules for baking a cake and the know how of baking a cake, say, and the discrepancies between the list and the know how. Do you find it inconceivable that X knowing how to bake a cake includes X having procedural knowledge that they could not state?
  • fdrake
    4k


    EG, here's a cooking guide for sunny side up eggs:

    Heat oil in an 8-inch nonstick skillet over medium-low. Gently crack eggs into pan. You shouldn't hear a hiss, and the eggs should lie flat and still. If you hear sizzling or the whites flutter or bubble at all, turn down the heat. Cook 3 minutes or until the whites are mostly set, with some still-runny whites near the yolks. Tilt pan toward you so oil pools on the bottom edge; dip a spoon in the oil, and gently baste the uncooked patches of white until they're set. Be careful not to baste the yolks, or they'll cloud over like cataracts. Sprinkle with pepper and salt. Remove eggs from pan, leaving excess oil behind.

    This makes sense. I know how to gently crack an egg into a pan. But if I were to try and list what goes into that knowing how, I'd write lots of vague things like:

    Make sure you don't crack the surface with too much force.
    Make sure you don't elevate the eggs too high above the pan.
    Gently tap the egg against a hard surface to weaken the shell.

    I also know how to recognise an egg sizzling in a pan. But how could I describe the components of hearing sizzling? A undulating high pitched noise that sounds like a series of slaps? If I were to train someone to recognise sizzling noises, I would need examples; ie, knowing how to use the word "sizzling" piggybacks off a competence of recognizing sizzling noises; the components of which I cannot state.
  • Banno
    8.8k
    A undulating high pitched noise that sounds like a series of slaps?fdrake

    You can't even tell me what it is you can't say, so don't try.
  • fdrake
    4k


    It seems to me your standards for someone demonstrating that there are components of know how which cannot be stated are to state them; that they must be constructed as an example. I think that a more appropriate standard would be that know how components which cannot be stated should be labelled as a class, and only some elements of the class cannot be stated.

    Consider:

    (1) Recognising sizzling noises.
    (2) Knowing how to crack an egg gently into a bowl.

    I can't split up (1) further, especially not exhaustively; maybe I make a sizzling noise or use an onomatopoeia, do I need to be able to do either to recognise sizzling noises? Nah. I can write a rough description of (2), but exhaustively detailing what it means to crack an egg gently in a way where every subtask has an associated item of declarable knowledge... No.

    A person's ability to describe how to do something is much different from both their ability to do something and how they do it, and why should we expect that every component of know how has an item of declarative knowledge associated with it such that "X knows how to do procedural knowledge component Y of task Z implies X can state f( Y )" in these circumstances? To my mind, know how descriptions are much coarser grained; for an arbitrary task and agent, only some of the components of some overall tasks are such that their agent can make statements about them.
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    Those last few posts of yours are terrible. They make no sense.Banno


    I concur. The first of the last few posts was sensible, though, methinks. The one before the one I juxtaposed two of your declared beliefs.

    For the record I don't consume street drugs (coffe, granted, but not even nicotine or alcohol). I don't know how to check out the time stamp on these posts. I must have been dead tired when I wrote them, and the next morning I realized they were gibberish.

    But it was too late to change them by then.

    I thought of stating "Please disregard my last few posts", but I thought I would leave that joyful job to you. Thanks for coming through.
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    What more is there to a certainty, that it is not simply a belief?
    — Banno
    Think of it this way: the likelyhood that your certainty is right on (ie. that your belief is false, or else that your belief is right on target) is reflected by the degree of certainty. And the degree of certainty can't be established by any means by humans when it comes to KNOWING whether what we sense as reality is itself reality or not.

    So what more is there to a degree of certainty: the possibility that our belief is false, or right on, or anywhere in-between.
    god must be atheist

    Are you claiming that a belief is always a belief that such-and-such is true? That's what I've long claimed.Banno

    This is where you confused me. Your statement is a non sequitur to my point. I tried to address the relationship between your apparent "wisdom" and my point. I failed, because there is no relationship there.

    ---------------------

    Personal opinion starts here, unrelated to the topic:

    You've given me the advice to read stuff. I suggest you start doing precisely that, starting with the forum posts of others, and attempting to understand the points of your debating opponents.

    I realize that you are more into other stuff. You're more into making sweeping statements that are unrelated to the topic, spewed out randomly or else spewed out at points where it is critical in the debate to make a stand. You do it, in my opinion, because you are incapable of fathoming the meaning of the posts of others.
  • god must be atheist
    2.1k
    Maybe a logical reframing of this might be that it's possible to be certain of things that we do not believe that we believe?

    IE: Possibly [(X is certain that P) and not (X believes that X believes that P))]

    If belief as a modality collapses, this is equivalent to:

    Possibly[ (X is certain that P) and not (X believes that P)]
    fdrake

    If I read you right, this is not actually what I claimed.

    Let me give it a try.

    1. I sense things in the physical world.
    2. I assume that what I sense is the physical world.
    3. I realize at the same time that my senses may provide me with illusions, not feedback on the physical world.
    4. I am not able to establish to any degree of certainty which is true: my assumption in 2 or my imagination regarding a possible illusion in 3.

    This is beyond @Banno. He believes that what he believes is true. I shall leave Banno to that, and he can merrily go about the landscape unfettered by any criticism by me of his believing that what he believes is true.
  • Banno
    8.8k
    I don't think I disagree with any of what you said; but I'm not sure, 'cause I'm not sure what it is you are arguing.

    Do you think that there is some point on which we disagree? Which point?

    It seems to me your standards for someone demonstrating that there are components of know how which cannot be stated are to state them;fdrake

    It seems to me that this is exactly wrong; and that this is the point I was making in suggesting that we not try to list the things we cannot talk about... like egg sizzle, if you like.

    Because in listing egg sizzle as something about which one cannot talk, we talk about it...

    Indeed, we are talking about it.

    So I find your point here opaque. If you are saying that we can't describe the sound of an egg sizzling, the onomatopoeic word "sizzle" undermines even that. Further, that's not the same as saying we can't talk about the sound of an egg sizzling.

    Perhaps you mean that we cannot make the sound of an egg sizzling? But I can - by sizzling an egg...

    So, where does that get us?
  • fdrake
    4k
    I don't think I disagree with any of what you said; but I'm not sure, 'cause I'm not sure what it is you are arguing.Banno

    My overall argument is for the claim that it is possible to be certain of things that we do not believe. "Do not believe" as in "lack belief in" rather than "believe the negation of".

    For this, I introduced a distinction between certainty and belief. Belief applies only to statements; and can thus only be a component of declarative knowledge. Certainty applies to statements and competences; and thus a certainty can be a component of declarative or procedural knowledge.


    I assumed that declarative knowledge consists solely of statements, irrelevant of how those statements are produced. Procedural knowledge consists of competences; abilities to do activities reliably in appropriate contexts.

    For a given item of procedural knowledge, call it a competence to do a task. I assume that every task consists of subtasks, and that all subtasks of a task must be able to be done competently (and reliably in appropriate circumstances) by an agent in order for the agent to know how to do the task. In a formula, task competence entails subtask competence for every subtask of the task.

    For a given task, we can label it; knowing how to ride a bike, knowing how to recognise a starling by its song. But we need not be able to label or state every subtask that goes into the task in order to be competent at the task; to know how to do it. Knowing how to recognise the birdsong of a starling is a network of interplaying competences which may be grouped into the general descriptor "knowing how to recognise birdsong", and in that regard we may make items of declarative knowledge about the know how of recognising birdsong; whenever we may aggregate subtasks of the task into task components. Like, say, splitting up baking a cake into an ingredient mixing phase and a phase involving an oven.

    We can talk about recognising a starling from birdsong. We may be able to state some subtasks of recognising a starling from birdsong, but this is not required to have the competence. In this regard we can talk about knowing how to recognise birdsong without being able to state every subtask it entails.

    Items of declarative knowledge need to be statable, as statements need to be able to be stated to count as statements. Items of procedural knowledge need not be statable, as the statability of the subtasks of a task is not required to know how to do that task.***

    If something is believed, it is a statement. If something is not stateable, it cannot be believed.

    As I've stipulated, certainty can be applied to all items of procedural knowledge; I am certain I know how to bake a carrot cake, I am certain I know how to do all of that entails. I also stipulate in all cases that certainty of a task distributes over its subtasks; to be certain that one knows how to bake a carrot cake entails that one is certain that one knows how to do all activities (subtasks) that entails.

    This was what I had in my head so far and was trying to reason towards.

    ____________________________________________________________________________________________

    I would like to add the following.

    Given all this, it may still be the case that we may only be certain of items of procedural knowledge that we can associate with an item of declarative knowledge; that is, we can only be certain of procedural knowledge items that we can state that we know how to do. For this, I think the paragraph marked with *** would need to be strengthened to:

    Items of declarative knowledge need to be enumerable, as statements need to be able to be constructible using the rules of a language to count as statements of that language. The subtasks of a task which are procedural knowledge are not in general enumerable, as the enumerability of the subtasks of a task is not required to know how to do that task.

    If it is possible to associate an item of declarative knowledge with the procedural knowledge of the subtasks of every task, then the items of procedural knowledge are necessarily enumerable, which goes against the previous paragraph. (Though I do I believe it is possible to associate an item of declarative knowledge with the larger tasks themselves; as task labels.) An analogy here is taking the integer part of a real number; you can't pair off the integer parts with the reals uniquely. The subtasks play the part of real numbers, the integers play the part of tasks. There is still a sense of equivalence in play; two real numbers (subtasks) are equivalent when they have the same integer part (are part of the same task or subtask aggregate). This is where I was going with the numerical identity weakened to qualitative equivalence stuff; there's too many variations of activity within a competence to state (numerically un-identical activities within the task), but we can label the collection of variations as the competence (qualitatively equivalent activities insofar as they all form part of the same task).

    (Read, I claim that there are task components that we cannot state explicitly but can still aggregate, quantify over or incompletely summarise in a manner that does not completely determine each subtask by expressing its propositional content in a statement. "I know how to bake a cake" is true iff I know how to bake a cake, and I know all that baking a cake entails, but each subtask would require an "I know how..." statement, and there are too many.)

    In that regard, we can be certain of things (items of procedural knowledge) that we do not believe.

    As an intuition pump; characterise belief as a propositional attitude, which is a disposition (towards a statement). We lack dispositions towards most subtask components as they are done without impinging upon access consciousness. So we lack propositional attitudes towards some subtasks, so in particular we do not believe them. Intuitively, we're so immersed in them we don't even need to believe them.
  • Banno
    8.8k
    My my, how inordinately complicated.

    Belief applies only to statements; and can thus only be a component of declarative knowledge. Certainty applies to statements and competences;fdrake


    I am certain I can flip an omelet.

    So, if I understand you aright, you claim that I can be certain I can flip an omelet, and yet neither believe nor disbelieve the statement: "I can flip an omelet".

    You sure about that? Do I have you wrong?
  • fdrake
    4k
    So, if I understand you aright, you claim that I can be certain I can flip an omelet, and yet neither believe nor disbelieve the statement: "I can flip an omelet".Banno

    Let me flip the question around on you. Can you state all that you do when flipping an omelet?
  • Banno
    8.8k
    Trivially, yes: "I flip the omelette".

    I suppose you want more detail. But then the question becomes: how much detail will suffice? What is to count as sufficient? And the answer is: enough to be satisfied; if you are never satisfied, then that's not my problem.

    And I am going to maintain that if one is certain that one can flip an omelet, then one believes one can flip an omelet; and this despite one possibly never vocalising that belief. And I will maintain this because it is a performative contradiction to be certain of one's capacity and yet not believe.
  • fdrake
    4k
    Trivially, yes: "I flip the omelette".Banno

    This is a statement that you flip the omelette, not a description of how you flipped the omelette.

    I suppose you want more detail.Banno

    A description, maybe. But the description is never the event it describes (it merely counts as it for some purpose).

    But then the question becomes: how much detail will suffice?

    It's pretty clear that the content of a description of how something is done must under-determine how it is done; for any given description of how something is done, one must know how to do each subtask entailed in the description that the description is split into. Precisely this inability to go on forever or with completely exhaustive detail is what ensures the description underdetermines the competence. This is the distinction between a description of how to tie a tie, a video of tying a tie, and the knowledge of how to tie a tie.

    As an exercise, in trying to describe how to tie a tie, you have to split it up into subtasks and then associate each subtask with a description. The splitting occurs partly because the description is attempted, but it requires that there are subtask components of tying a tie to describe accurately in the first place. The words stop at some point, but do not terminate in the acquisition of the competence.

    What is to count as sufficient? And the answer is: enough to be satisfied; if you are never satisfied, then that's not my problem.

    Count as sufficient for what purposes? For teaching someone how to tie a tie? Words alone won't do. You're imagining a competence from the perspective of already having it, like "I flip the omelette", rather than learning how to use those words; how to make "I can flip an omelette" true - learning how to flip an omelette.
  • fdrake
    4k
    And I am going to maintain that if one is certain that one can flip an omelet, then one believes one can flip an omelet; and this despite one possibly never vocalising that belief. And I will maintain this because it is a performative contradiction to be certain of one's capacity and yet not believe.Banno

    This speaks about being certain of that which can be stated, not which can be done. I agree entirely here, but still think it is appropriate to associate certainty with know how in general, not just declarative knowledge.
  • Banno
    8.8k
    Can you state all that you do when flipping an omelet?fdrake

    Trivially, yes: "I flip the omelette".Banno

    Done.
    Count as sufficient for what purposes?fdrake

    Yep. So we agree.
  • Banno
    8.8k
    This speaks about being certain of that which can be stated, not which can be done. I agree entirely here, but still think it is appropriate to associate certainty with know how in general, not just declarative knowledge.fdrake

    I'm certain I can flip an omelet. Yep.

    Not a problem.
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