• Sam26
    2.6k
    I read Pritchard's paper on Hinge Epistemology. The first thing to be noted, as can be seen in the title, is that he regards hinges as epistemological.Fooloso4

    I know that, what's your point?
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    I know that, what's your point?Sam26

    He does not agree with your claim that hinges are not epistemological because:

    An epistemological use of these words includes the proper justification and their truth.Sam26

    But since you said you were moving on I left it there.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    The philosopher raises doubts about things that are ordinarily not doubted. His concern is the truth of things. The move from opinion to knowledge is by way of doubt or skepticism (skeptis - to inquire). There is, however, also knowledge of the arts (techne) and Socrates own knowledge of Eros, from which his knowledge of ignorance arises.Fooloso4

    Yes, the philosopher questions accepted beliefs, doubts them and subjects them to examination to try to determine whether they are actually true. But there are many beliefs the truth of which is not determinable.

    Techne, or know-how is a different category of knowledge than 'knowledge as beleif" it seems to me, it is rather 'knowledge as ability'.

    With regard to knowledge and doubt in On Certainty:

    6. Now, can one enumerate what one knows (like Moore)? Straight off like that, I believe not. - For otherwise the expression "I know" gets misused. And through this misuse a queer and extremely
    important mental state seems to be revealed.

    What is this mental state?

    12. - For "I know" seems to describe a state of affairs which guarantees what is known, guarantees it as a fact. One always forgets the expression "I thought I knew".

    When Moore says he knows he has hands, this does not refute the skeptic.
    Fooloso4

    I don't see the problem with saying that you know you have hands, or that you know any of the things that can be directly seen to be the case. I agree that this does not defeat radical skepticism, but I think the latter defeats itself, because it is trying to empty knowledge of all contexts, free it from all any any contexts whatsoever, and render it absolute.

    About things which one claims to know, but which one cannot be certain about, I think when one says 'I know" one is always really saying "I think I know", which as I said earlier amounts to "I believe I have good reason to think I know this". But if we want to cast this as being more than merely belief (as opposed to the knowledge we have of those things of which we can be certain) this opens up the strange notion that we could know without knowing that know.

    Empirical propositions do not have the certainty of mathematics. In the Tractatus he says:

    6.36311 It is an hypothesis that the sun will rise tomorrow: and this means that we do not know whether it will rise.

    We may not doubt whether the sun will rise tomorrow, but whether or not it will is a contingent rather than necessary fact.
    Fooloso4

    I agree with that, insofar as it refers to inductively derived propositions, such as 'the Sun will rise tomorrow". If I am out in the rain and say, "it is raining", on the other hand; if that statement is to be counted as a proposition, then it would seem to be as certain as any mathematical truth. On the other hand, such an utterance might not be counted as a proposition, but merely as an observation. But it seems to me that what we observe and experience we most certainly know.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    If science presents a theory based on experiments or mathematical models, then someone probably believes the conclusions are either true or false. If they believe they're true or false, they're using propositions. Most all of what we know is in the form of propositions.Sam26

    They believe the theory is true or false, so they do not know it be one or the other. On the other hand, in a different sense, theories are forms of 'know-how' in that they enable us to see the world in different ways, make novel predictions and so on. But that is not propositional knowledge it seems to me.

    A claim to have good reason to believe X is partly what we mean by know. Good reasons are how we justify many of our beliefs and why we make claims that a proposition is true. It is a claim to know.Sam26

    That seems uncontroversial to me, I would just repeat that a claim to know is not knowledge in the sense of definitely knowing the truth of some proposition but is rather merely belief.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    But there are many beliefs the truth of which is not determinable.Janus

    I think this not knowing is part of Socrates "human wisdom".

    I don't see the problem with saying that you know you have hands, or that you know any of the things that can be directly seen to be the case.Janus

    I don't think Wittgenstein does either, when said in appropriate circumstances. Proof against radical skepticism is not such a circumstance.

    OC 1. If you do know that here is one hand, we'll grant you all the rest.

    It is not that Wittgenstein thinks that Moore does not know it is a hand, it is that he misuses the word, as if it corresponds to a mental state that guarantees that what he knows must be true because he knows it. It is this that is not granted.
  • Sam26
    2.6k
    He does not agree with your claim that hinges are not epistemological because:Fooloso4

    I know that he doesn't agree, I've talked with him and listened to his lectures on Youtube. My point in bringing him up was that he talks about how a religious epistemology might try to use belief in God as a hinge, i.e., as an arational belief. My view is that belief in God is not a hinge belief.

    I have followed his disagreements with other philosophers who hold a similar position to mine. So, I'm familiar with his interpretation of Wittgenstein and his view on hinges.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    My view is that belief in God is not a hinge belief.Sam26

    In an earlier post you said:

    For many religions, belief in God is a hinge.Sam26

    107. Isn't this altogether like the way one can instruct a child to believe in a God, or that none
    exists, and it will accordingly be able to produce apparently telling grounds for the one or the other?

    That belief is part of their inherited background of our world picture. That there is or is not a God is for them bedrock, foundational.
  • Sam26
    2.6k
    I would just repeat that a claim to know is not knowledge in the sense of definitely knowing the truth of some proposition but is rather merely belief.Janus

    I believe this is incorrect, and it's a misunderstanding of what it means to know. I assume your use of the phrase "definitely know the truth" means to know with 100% certainty. Most of what we claim to know is not known with absolute certainty. Most of what we claim to know is what's probably true or likely the case, and this follows from logic (inductive reasoning). I think your idea of knowledge is too restrictive.

    Also, a strong inductive argument wouldn't be considered "mere belief," since it would have strong evidence to support it. A mere belief to me is a belief that's based on no evidence or very little evidence, like an opinion.
  • Sam26
    2.6k
    My view is that belief in God is not a hinge belief.
    — Sam26

    In an earlier post you said:
    Fooloso4

    For many religions, belief in God is a hinge.
    — Sam26

    I'm not saying that people don't use it as a hinge. I'm saying it's not a proper hinge. There could be some beliefs within any system, even ones that contain myths, that are viewed as hinges. What makes a belief a proper hinge is that it doesn't make sense to doubt it (what does making sense here mean?). Doubting that there is a God makes perfect sense. It's nothing like doubting there are objects, or hands, or minds, etc. People may act as though it's a hinge (belief in God), which shows they believe it's a hinge, that's all.

    There seem to be certain core beliefs that most systems of belief recognize as hinge. In other words, there are overlapping systems of belief that contain the same core beliefs (hinges), but they also contain other beliefs, considered hinges, but not recognized as such within those other systems. So, you end up with systems with competing hinge beliefs. Sorting this out happens over time.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    Doubting that there is a God makes perfect sense.Sam26

    Not to those who are convinced otherwise. To doubt it would put everything, their whole system of beliefs, into doubt.

    Is there any support in Wittgenstein for the notion of a "proper hinge"?
  • Sam26
    2.6k
    Not to those who are convinced otherwise. To doubt it would put everything, their whole system of beliefs, into doubt.

    Is there any support in Wittgenstein for the notion of a "proper hinge"?
    Fooloso4

    Of course they're convinced, which is why they consider it a hinge.

    One could argue based on some of Witt's remarks that there are hinges of different kinds and that what's considered a hinge at T1, might not be at T2. We acknowledge that hinges change and that some of these changes are more pronounced than others. Wittgenstein doesn't use some of my terminology, but that's because I'm trying to expand on Witt's ideas. I'm not saying that all of my remarks can be supported by passages in OC or anywhere else. My remarks are a combination of my conclusions based on passages in OC, and my expansion of his ideas whether they agree or not.
  • Sam26
    2.6k
    Some may have as part of their hinge beliefs that sacrificing a child will yield more crops. So, are hinge beliefs relative to some system of beliefs? Yes. But this doesn't mean we aren't capable of sorting out what I call "proper" hinge beliefs from "improper" ones. The question becomes, are there good reasons to reject or doubt what they consider a hinge belief? If there are good reasons to doubt, then it's not a hinge. The fact that we're constantly arguing over, belief in God, shows that at least some doubting is warranted, if not most or even all doubts are warranted. It's certainly not like doubting that there are objects that exist in space. I can't understand what a doubt about the existence of objects would even entail. However, I can and do understand doubting the existence of God; and even though my e.g. at the beginning of this paragraph is more extreme, the same point holds.
  • Richard B
    385
    What is the nature of a hinge belief? What if someone's world picture includes belief in God as a hinge belief? Or, what if another world picture excludes belief in God as part of their hinge beliefs? Can we just decide whether this or that belief is a hinge?Sam26

    I'm not sure what you mean.Sam26

    Consider the following:

    A. From Euclid’s Elements
    1. A point is that of which there is no part
    2. And a line is a length without breath
    3. And the extremities of a line are points

    B. From Anselm’s Proslogion
    1. You are something than which nothing greater can be thought.
    2. And certainty this being so truly exists that it cannot be even thought not to exist.


    If I had to characterize “hinge proposition” I would say it is one where a human accepts it and its logical consequences as a whole. This acceptance would not be because it strikes us as true but that it has some pragmatic effect on us that when we put them into practice it brings value and meaning to our lives.

    Take example A and definition number 1. Does that strike one as true? You could probably make the case that it is plain nonsense by itself. But if one accepts the definition and moves forward with it, the fruitfulness may be seen. And the same goes example B.
  • Sam26
    2.6k
    If I had to characterize “hinge proposition” I would say it is one where a human accepts it and its logical consequences as a whole. This acceptance would not be because it strikes us as true but that it has some pragmatic effect on us that when we put them into practice it brings value and meaning to our lives.Richard B

    I'm not sure that we have the same view on hinge beliefs. It depends on what you mean by "logical consequences" of a hinge belief. There is no doubt that hinge beliefs have consequences in our acts (linguistic and non-linguistic), and that there is a logical scaffolding to our belief systems. However, we have different views of hinges if you use "logical consequences" as a synonym for correct reasoning (inductive and deductive). Also, hinge beliefs don't depend on some practical effect. A practical effect would give some justification for the belief, which goes counter what a hinge belief is.
  • Richard B
    385
    I'm not sure that we have the same view on hinge beliefs. It depends on what you mean by "logical consequences" of a hinge belief. There is no doubt that hinge beliefs have consequences in our acts (linguistic and non-linguistic), and that there is a logical scaffolding to our belief systems. However, we have different views of hinges if you use "logical consequences" as a synonym for correct reasoning (inductive and deductive). Also, hinge beliefs don't depend on some practical effect. A practical effect would give some justification for the belief, which goes counter what a hinge belief is.Sam26

    I definitely want to use “logical consequences” somewhat loosely here, meaning that Euclid and Anselm may not be using some shared universal logic here. Lastly, what I am emphasizing is these “hinge propositions” are a choice, you either use them or you don’t, and whether you use them or not may be because there is a value to them. Whether one can articulate the value is another story. I am sure there are these “hinge propositions” hidden in the background of every day life that most do not question and/or aware of.

    Yep, belief/propositions have consequences when one uses them, I do not see how one escapes this existential fact about living in the world. If one goes on doubting one has a hand because of intellectual reasoning, yet keeps using the word in practice like everyone else, what was the point of doubting? Alternatively, if one chooses not to use the word “hands” because of some radical doubt, I pity one’s chances in surviving our world.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    The question becomes, are there good reasons to reject or doubt what they consider a hinge belief?Sam26

    What may count as good reasons for you may not be what others regard as good reasons. Once again:

    336. But what men consider reasonable or unreasonable alters. At certain periods men find
    reasonable what at other periods they found unreasonable. And vice-versa.
    But is there no objective character here?
    Very intelligent and well-educated people believe in the story of creation in the Bible, while others
    hold it as proven false, and the grounds of the latter are well known to the former.

    And one that has been quoted many times including by you:

    166. The difficulty is to realize the groundlessness of our believing.

    Also:

    612. I said I would 'combat' the other man, - but wouldn't I give him reasons? Certainly; but how far do they go? At the end of reasons comes persuasion. (Think what happens when missionaries
    convert natives.)

    Does the missionary convert the natives by providing good reasons? Are there good reasons to convert them? Are there good reasons to reject the missionary's Christian beliefs?
  • Sam26
    2.6k
    What may count as good reasons for you may not be what others regard as good reasons. Once again:Fooloso4

    Well, I don't view good reasons as something subjective, as if it's just some decision I make arbitrarily.

    336. But what men consider reasonable or unreasonable alters. At certain periods men find
    reasonable what at other periods they found unreasonable. And vice-versa.
    But is there no objective character here?
    Very intelligent and well-educated people believe in the story of creation in the Bible, while others
    hold it as proven false, and the grounds of the latter are well known to the former.

    Unpacking this can be tedious, but I don't think there is any problem here. I'm not talking in absolute terms but in general terms. You seem to be pushing Witt into a more relativistic position, but I don't. There is a relativistic point to all this of course, but there is also an objective component, which is more important.
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    You seem to be pushing Witt into a more relativistic positionSam26

    A relativistic position might be one of many different positions called relativistic.

    305. Here once more there is needed a step like the one taken in relativity theory.

    I take this to be related to the following:

    152. I do not explicitly learn the propositions that stand fast for me. I can discover them
    subsequently like the axis around which a body rotates. This axis is not fixed in the sense that
    anything holds it fast, but the movement around it determines its immobility.

    There is no fixed point that serves as the basis for beliefs and judgments. The system of judgments varies from time to time and place to place and to some extend from person to person. Some might think this is a situation that must be resolved, but I do not think that Wittgenstein intends to offer any kind of solution.

    There is a relativistic point to all this of course, but there is also an objective component, which is more important.Sam26

    But you make a distinction between hinges that are proper and those that are not. You include belief in God with those that are not. For those who believe God may be what is most important and against which all other things are measured. For the same reason one who does not believe might also think it important. Wittgenstein seems to be content to let such differences stand.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    Proof against radical skepticism is not such a circumstance.Fooloso4

    How could we have, and why would we need, proof against radical skepticism, if it is incoherent?

    It is not that Wittgenstein thinks that Moore does not know it is a hand, it is that he misuses the word, as if it corresponds to a mental state that guarantees that what he knows must be true because he knows it. It is this that is not granted.Fooloso4

    I think the counterpoint would be something like 'What could it possibly mean for it to be false?'.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    I believe this is incorrect, and it's a misunderstanding of what it means to know. I assume your use of the phrase "definitely know the truth" means to know with 100% certainty. Most of what we claim to know is not known with absolute certainty. Most of what we claim to know is what's probably true or likely the case, and this follows from logic (inductive reasoning). I think your idea of knowledge is too restrictive.Sam26

    You are equivocating between what it means to know and what it means to claim to know. They are not the same. If something is not true then we don't know it, despite whatever claims we might have to know it. And I would go further and say that if we don't know that we know it to be true, that is if there can be any doubt that it is true, then we don't know it either. I'm not imputing this to Wittgenstein but highlighting the point where I probably disagree with him. Is there anything that you believe could not possibly be false?
  • Fooloso4
    5.7k
    How could we have, and why would we need, proof against radical skepticism, if it incoherent?Janus

    Moore thought it necessary, which is the reason he claimed to know he had hands.

    I think the counterpoint would be something like 'What could it possibly mean for it to be false?'.Janus

    Yes. That is what Wittgenstein does.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    Moore thought it necessary, which is the reason he claimed to know he had hands.Fooloso4

    Perhaps the problem lies with presenting it or parsing it as a claim, rather than seeing it as being merely a statement of what would be obvious to everyone, because when something is presented or understood as a claim that seems to logically leave room for a counterclaim.
  • Richard B
    385
    And I would go further and say that if we don't know that we know it to be true, that is if there can be any doubt that it is true, then we don't know it either. I'm not imputing this to Wittgenstein but highlighting the point where I probably disagree with him. Is there anything that you believe could not possibly be false?Janus

    Let me ask, do you believe your position that “if there can be any doubt that it is true, then we don’t know it either” can be doubted as true? If so, this is not knowledge, just belief.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    Let me ask, do you believe your position that “if there can be any doubt that it is true, then we don’t know it either” can be doubted as true? If so, this is not knowledge, just belief.Richard B

    It is not really knowledge, but a stipulative definition of it, based on the logic I understand to be inherent in the idea of knowing. You may have a different interpretation of the logic of knowing, and that is to be expected when it comes to the meaning of terms and the understanding of the human experience those terms are meant to refer to.
  • Richard B
    385
    It is not really knowledge, but a stipulative definition of it, based on the logic I understand to be inherent in the idea of knowing.Janus

    Sort of like Euclid’s Element definition of a point: “A point is that of which there is no part.” But if asked by a Mathematician “what is a point?” And I reply with this definition, do I not demonstrate I know what a point is?
  • Janus
    15.8k
    I'm not getting your point. Are you claimimg I don't know what knowledge is? Or that you do?
  • Richard B
    385
    I'm not getting your point. Are you claimimg I don't know what knowledge is? Or that you do?Janus

    I find your definition of knowledge quite narrow. If someone ask me if I knew the verification principle of meaning, I would provide a definition, provide some examples to show what I would call something meaningful and not meaningful. This would demonstrate to someone I had knowledge of this principle, by providing the definition and showing its application. Why would we not say that I am knowledgable of this philosophical principle? The same goes with your definition of knowledge. The real question is why would I use this definition in the first place for, what value does it have, what clarity does it give me, yeah maybe it protects me from making any error but at what cost.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    In that conception I'm speaking only about so-called propositional knowledge, not know-how, knowledge by participation or acquaintance.

    Why would you use that definition? The way I see it it clarifies the difference between knowledge and belief. I'm not sure what you would count as knowledge. Would you say that you know that the big bang theory or the theory of evolution is true? I wouldn't, I'd say rather that I have very good reason to believe they are true, but that I don't know if they are true.

    What do you think I am losing by thinking about it that way?
  • Sam26
    2.6k
    My interpretation of OC comes closest to Danièle Moyal-Sharrock (University of Hertfordshire). I arrived at my interpretation quite independent of her or any other philosopher. My idea of pre-linguistic beliefs, which I've often compared with animal beliefs is similar to comments she made about the animal in OC (OC 359). I believe, as does she that Wittgenstein solves the infinite regress problem in epistemology, which is one of his contributions to the subject of epistemology. As she says, "it puts a logical stop to infinite regress."

    "Wittgenstein's revolutionary insight in On Certainty is that what philosophers have
    traditionally called 'basic beliefs' – those beliefs that all knowledge must ultimately be based
    on – cannot, on pain of infinite regress, themselves be propositional beliefs. They are really
    animal or unreflective ways of acting which, once formulated (e.g. by philosophers), look like
    propositional beliefs. It is this misleading appearance that leads philosophers to believe that at
    the foundation of thought is yet more thought. For, though they often resemble empirical
    conclusions, basic certainties (or 'hinge certainties' or 'hinges' – as I shall also call them
    following Wittgenstein's hinge metaphor [OC 341]) constitute the ungrounded,
    nonpropositional underpinning of knowledge, not its object. In thus situating the foundation
    of knowledge in nonreflective certainties that manifest themselves as ways of acting,
    Wittgenstein has found the place where justification comes to an end, and solved the regress
    problem of basic beliefs – and, in passing, shown the logical impossibility of radical or global
    scepticism. I believe that this is a groundbreaking achievement for philosophy – worthy of
    calling On Certainty Wittgenstein's 'third masterpiece' (The Animal in Epistemology:
    Wittgenstein's Enactivist Solution to the Problem of Regress, by Daniele Moyal-Sharrock)."
  • Janus
    15.8k
    Animal knowing is equivalent to what I would call 'directly seeing actualities'. Thought comes later
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