• ENOAH
    653
    if there is no access to "reality," then presumably there is no reason to set up a knowledge/belief, reality/appearance distinction in the first place. But claims that beliefs are "merely appearance," presuppose such a distinction.Count Timothy von Icarus

    But there is a reason. That is how IT functions, this anomalous human existence. We built sky scrapers and rockets out of belief.

    But in reality, in the Timeless Reality before/beyond/outside of our constructions, we have only constructed belief to stand in for Truth (knowledge), having no access therefrom to Real Truth
  • ENOAH
    653


    Paraphrased to illustrate:

    Jesus: nothing beats belief. Belief will move mountains. If you have belief the size of a mustard seed you will say to that mountain move, and it will move.

    Hui neng: came across two of his disciples debating over whether the wind was moving the flag or the flag was moving. "It is neither wind nor flag," said the 6th patriarch of Cha'an. "It is your mind moving."
  • Bylaw
    550
    Wl, yes. Sometimes folk get things wrong. They think they know stuff when they don't. And the only way this can happen is if they believe something that is not true.

    So there is a difference between believing and knowing: If something is known, it is true.
    Banno
    Yes, I understand that. But I am talking about our in situ situation. Perhaps what we consider we know now may turn out not to be the case.

    My suggestion is not that we can't know anything, but rather that adding that it is true, creates a problem. We work with it as if it is true. We have rigor in what we decide to consider knowledge. We don't add on to it being well justified and not (yet) falsified that it is also true.

    Folk think it cleaver to say that we don't know anything. The implication is that there are no facts. That leads to all sorts of inconsistencies.Banno
    Was this directed at me? Is that what you think I am saying and also are you saying I think I am clever?

    I distinguish between knowing and believing. I distinguish between belief and knowledge. I use know and knowledge and mean something different than (to merely) believe and (mere)
    belief, considering the former terms rigorously arrived

    You can't "realise your error" unless there is error. Error occurs when you believe something that is not true. For you to occasionally be wrong, you must also sometimes be right.Banno
    Right, but I am looking at the now situation. The now situation means that where there does not seem to be an error, there may be an error. We don't know, if we are adding true to the criteria, if it will remain true. Now. Saying something is well justified and not falsified I get. And I think calling those things knowledge is useful. But then to add that it is also true I think is hubris. I treat those things as true. I work with them as true or working, but I have no extra step where I justify X according to a rigorous methodolgy and/or note that others have, check to see if somewhere it has been falsified, and then I make the check to see it is true step. So far it is not false. So far it is working better than anything else.
    For you to occasionally be wrong, you must also sometimes be right.Banno
    Sure.
  • flannel jesus
    1.6k
    But problem is that you do not KNOW that thus your belief is unjustifiedSpaceDweller

    How do you know it's unjustified? You said beliefs are justified if they're true and unjustified if they're false. You can't know I'm unjustified unless you also know my house isn't there.

    Seems like you're intuitively separating justification and truth too, just like me and Banno
  • Moliere
    4.2k
    The creation of this thread is motivated by a claim made by Chet Hawkins:

    Knowledge is only belief.
    — Chet Hawkins

    Chet elaborates:

    So I could/should rest on that statement alone as it is incontrovertible.

    But the quislings out there will want to retreat behind 'facts' and 'knowledge' delusions. So, it's best I turn my hat around and address the concepts more thoroughly.

    But let's take this outside.
    — Chet Hawkins

    I think there is a valid distinction between knowledge and belief, although I also think that much of what is generally considered to be knowledge might be more accurately classed as belief. It may well turn out that I am sympathetic to Chet's belief. Let's see...

    Chet says that statement is incontrovertible. I would like to see an argument to support that contention.
    Janus

    I'm afraid I'm more inclined to these approaches:



    And laid out an excellent argument against the statement "Knowledge is merely belief" -- sometimes, to expand on @fdrake, knowledge is action, and has nothing to do with what people say! A totally orthogonal category to yourthe notion that knowledge is merely belief.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k
    Knowledge is an assertation of identity backed by deductive reasoning.Philosophim

    It's not rare for me to accept that I know things, based on my intuition having been highly trained and tested in some fairly specific areas. Is there some reason I should accept your definition?

    If we trace your logic back to its roots, we are going to find intuitions anyway, don't you think?
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    Is there some reason I should accept your definition?wonderer1

    Feel free to read my link and work. If its a little intimidating, read the summary from Cerulea Lawrence as the next post after mine.
  • wonderer1
    1.8k


    I've read it. I guess I was wondering if you were interested in considering a different perspective.
  • Banno
    23.6k
    It would be wrong to argue from the observation that science does not produce certainty to the conclusion that we can never be certain. There are things other than science. Can you be certain that you are in pain? Or better, can you doubt that you are in pain?
  • Banno
    23.6k
    This may be of use:
    A belief is a propositional attitude.That is, it can be placed in a general form as a relation between someone and a proposition. So "John believes that the sky is blue" can be rendered as

    Believes (John, "The sky is blue")

    B(a,p)

    There's ill will in some circles towards this sort of analysis. Think of this as setting up a basic structure or grammar for belief. A belief is a relation between an individual and a proposition. That there is much more to be said about belief is not in contention; this is just a place to start. This is set as a falsifiable proposition. If there are any examples of beliefs that cannot be stated as relations between individuals and propositions, this proposal would have to be revisited.

    It has been suggested that animal and other non-linguistic beliefs are a falsification of this suggestion. The argument is that non-linguistic creatures can have beliefs and yet cannot express these beliefs as propositions, and that hence beliefs cannot be propositional attitudes. But that is a misreading of what is going on here. Any belief, including that of creatures that cannot speak, can be placed in the form of a propositional attitude by those who can speak. A cat, for example, can believe that its bowl is empty, but cannot put that belief in the form B(a,p).

    Belief does not imply truth
    One obvious consequence of a belief being a relation between an individual and a proposition is that the truth of the proposition is unrelated to the truth of the belief.

    That is, folk can believe things that are untrue. Or not believe things that are true.

    A corollary of this is that belief does not stand in opposition to falsehood, but to doubt. Truth goes with falsehood, belief with doubt. And at the extreme end of belief we find certainty. In certainty, doubt is inadmissible.

    If belief does not imply truth, and if one holds to the Justified True Belief definition of knowledge, it follows that belief does not imply knowledge.

    The individual who has the belief holds that the proposition is true.

    This is, if you like, the significance of a belief statement. It follows from Moore's paradox, in which someone is assume to believe something that they hold not to be true. For example:

    "I believe the world is flat, but the world is not flat".

    While this is difficult to set out as a clear contradiction, there is something deeply unhappy about it. The conclusion is that one thinks that what one believes is indeed true.

    Note that Moore's paradox is in the first person. "John believes the world is flat, but the world is not flat" is not paradoxical - John is just wrong. "John believes that the world is flat and John believes the world is not flat" - John is inconsistent.

    This perforative paradox comes about only when expressed in the first person.

    One might think it so trivial that it is not worth saying: to believe some proposition is to believe that proposition to be true.

    That is, talk of belief requires talk of truth.

    One might be tempted, perhaps by pragmatism or by Bayesian thoughts, to replace that with measures of probability. You might think yourself only 99.99% certain that the cat is on the mat, and suppose thereby that you have banished truth. But of course, one is also thereby 99.99% certain that "the cat is on the mat" is true.

    Belief makes sense of error
    Austin talked of words that gain their meaning - use - mostly by being contrasted with their opposite. His example was real.

    "it's not a fake; it's real"
    "it's not a mirage, it's real!"
    It's not a mistake - it's real"

    and so on.

    Belief can be understood in a similar fashion, as gaining it's usefulness from the contrast between a true belief and a false belief. That is, an important aspect of belief is that sometimes we think that something is the case, and yet it is not.

    We bring belief into the discourse in order to make sense of such errors.

    Belief is dynamic
    Beliefs change over time. It follows that a decent account of belief must be able to account for this dynamism.

    Beliefs explain but do not determine actions

    Beliefs are used to explain actions. Further, such explanations are causal and sufficient. So if we have appropriate desires and a beliefs we can explain an action.

    So, given that John is hungry, and that John believes eating a sandwich will remove his hunger, we have a sufficient causal explanation for why John ate the sandwich.

    One may act in ways that are contrary to one's beliefs. A dissident may comply in order to protect herself and her family.

    So given that John is hungry, and has a sandwich at hand, it does not follow that John will eat the sandwich.

    An individual's belief is inscrutable
    One can act in ways contrary to one's beliefs. It's a result of the lack of symmetry between beliefs and actions mentioned above - Beliefs explain but do not determine actions. Thanks due to Hanover and @Cabbage Farmer.

    Any belief can be made to account for any action, by adding suitable auxiliary beliefs.
    Banno
  • Banno
    23.6k
    And this:
    Falsification was first developed by Karl Popper in the 1930s. Popper noticed that two types of statements are of particular value to scientists. The first are statements of observations, such as 'this is a white swan'. Logicians call these statements singular existential statements, since they assert the existence of some particular thing. They can be parsed in the form: there is an x which is a swan and is white.

    The second type of statement of interest to scientists categorizes all instances of something, for example 'all swans are white'. Logicians call these statements universal. They are usually parsed in the form for all x, if x is a swan then x is white.

    Scientific laws are commonly supposed to be of this form. Perhaps the most difficult question in the methodology of science is: how does one move from observations to laws? How can one validly infer a universal statement from any number of existential statements?

    Inductivist methodology supposed that one can somehow move from a series of singular existential statements to a universal statement. That is, that one can move from ‘this is a white swan', “that is a white swan”, and so on, to a universal statement such as 'all swans are white'. This method is clearly logically invalid, since it is always possible that there may be a non-white swan that has somehow avoided observation. Yet some philosophers of science claim that science is based on such an inductive method.

    Popper held that science could not be grounded on such an invalid inference. He proposed falsification as a solution to the problem of induction. Popper noticed that although a singular existential statement such as 'there is a white swan' cannot be used to affirm a universal statement, it can be used to show that one is false: the singular existential statement 'there is a black swan' serves to show that the universal statement 'all swans are white' is false, by modus tollens. 'There is a black swan' implies 'there is a non-white swan' which in turn implies 'there is something which is a swan and which is not white'.

    Although the logic of naïve falsification is valid, it is rather limited. Popper drew attention to these limitations in The Logic of Scientific Discovery, in response to anticipated criticism from Duhem and Carnap. W. V. Quine is also well-known for his observation in his influential essay, "Two Dogmas of Empiricism" (which is reprinted in From a Logical Point of View), that nearly any statement can be made to fit with the data, so long as one makes the requisite "compensatory adjustments." In order to falsify a universal, one must find a true falsifying singular statement. But Popper pointed out that it is always possible to change the universal statement or the existential statement so that falsification does not occur. On hearing that a black swan has been observed in Australia, one might introduce ad hoc hypothesis, 'all swans are white except those found in Australia'; or one might adopt a skeptical attitude towards the observer, 'Australian ornithologists are incompetent'. As Popper put it, a decision is required on the part of the scientist to accept or reject the statements that go to make up a theory or that might falsify it. At some point, the weight of the ad hoc hypotheses and disregarded falsifying observations will become so great that it becomes unreasonable to support the theory any longer, and a decision will be made to reject it.

    In place of naïve falsification, Popper envisioned science as evolving by the successive rejection of falsified theories,rather than falsified statements. Falsified theories are replaced by theories of greater explanatory power. Aristotelian mechanics explained observations of objects in everyday situations, but was falsified by Galileo’s experiments, and replaced by Newtonian mechanics. Newtonian mechanics extended the reach of the theory to the movement of the planets and the mechanics of gasses, but in its turn was falsified by the Michelson-Morley experiment and replaced by special relativity. At each stage, a new theory was accepted that had greater explanatory power, and as a result provided greater opportunity for its own falsification.

    Naïve falsificationism is an unsuccessful attempt to proscribe a rationally unavoidable method for science. Falsificationism proper on the other hand is a prescription of a way in which scientists ought to behave as a matter of choice. Both can be seen as attempts to show that science has a special status because of the method that it employs.
    Banno

    Salient here is that falsification relies on the indubitability of basic observations: Here is a black swan. In order for "All swans are white", to be shown false, it must be true that there are non-white swans. In order to know that "All swans are white" is false, one must know that there are non-white swans.
  • ENOAH
    653
    beliefs are justified if they're true and unjustified if they're false.flannel jesus
    Sorry, I know you are paraphrasing another post

    I think beliefs are justified if they are--after a complex but often lightning speed process of dialectic--most fitting for survival. I.e., including but not limited to, does the belief allow for a functional outcome? But also, does it correspond with a fantasy already believed? And, do logic and reason justify the surfacing of the belief into the world or Narrative, and so on. But ultimately beliefs, like all knowable truths, are settled upon when it is most functional to so settle.
  • Banno
    23.6k
    My suggestion is not that we can't know anything, but rather that adding that it is true, creates a problem. We work with it as if it is true. We have rigor in what we decide to consider knowledge. We don't add on to it being well justified and not (yet) falsified that it is also true.Bylaw

    Foremost, you can't know something if it is not true. This is how the grammar of "know" works. If you hold it to be true, but it isn't, then you only believe it, you don't know it.

    Secondly, it is plain that there are true statements. This statement is true. So are the theorems of arithmetic and logic. That you are reading this is also true.

    Engineers and scientists are quite rightly taught scepticism towards some statements, but not others. If they question the conservation of energy, they will not get far in the profession. While they might give lip service to fablsificationism or to hyperbolic notions of truth, there remain some things that are indubitable.

    I work with them as true or working, but I have no extra step where I justify X according to a rigorous methodolgy and/or note that others have, check to see if somewhere it has been falsified, and then I make the check to see it is true step. So far it is not false. So far it is working better than anything else.Bylaw
    This works only in limited cases. Some counterexamples have already been given. Here's another: Supose you are playing Checkers and your opponent reaches over and moves one of your pieces - yo say "You can't move my pieces!" Would you accept their reply if it were "HA, but there you have it - I have falsified that rule: I can move your pieces!"

    This by way of showing that the situation around truth is quite complicated, and depends on what one is doing - ont he game being played.
  • Banno
    23.6k
    I'll take your word for it. :up:
  • Janus
    15.8k
    Well, you kind of backed off on your position I think.

    When you dither, I cannot tell what you mean to say or write or believe.
    Chet Hawkins

    I haven't "backed off" at all. I've said there is a valid distinction between knowledge and belief. And I've allowed that some of what is generally considered to be knowledge may be better classed as belief.

    All facts are a subset of all beliefs.
    Knowledge is not knowing and the word 'to know' is stupid therefore. It implies a failure in understanding.
    Chet Hawkins

    So, here you assert that all facts are a subset of beliefs. This does not accord with the common concepts of 'fact' and 'belief'. 'Fact' signifies what is the case regardless of what anyone believes.

    Knowing (in the propositional sense of 'knowing that', which is the only sense we are concerned with here) is generally understood to be believing that what is the case is the case and believing it for the right reasons.

    "Doubt may be an unpleasant condition, but certainty is absurd" - Voltaire was right.Chet Hawkins

    Knowing is sometimes conflated with certainty. Do you claim that knowing would only be knowing if the knower knows with absolute certainty that they know?

    Are there not things we do know in this way. like I know I am sitting at my computer typing this? How could I doubt that?

    We all operate in life only from a well of beliefs.Chet Hawkins

    We operate more from what we see, hear, smell, touch and taste I would say. We know those things most intimately, and I question whether they have anything to do with belief. Though if this is knowing, as distinct from seeing, hearing, touching etc., then we could say it is not propositional knowing primarily but may be subsequently framed as such.

    The fact that many people share the same facts has not so much bearing on the factuality of any fact. As a matter of fact, 'facts' are always wrong in some way. That is TRUE and more factual than most facts, because as a part of that fact we ALREADY INCLUDE the flexibility that fact is only belief.Chet Hawkins

    We all see the same things and will mostly agree down to the smallest details about what we see right in front of us. In fact, this is the principal criterion of reality. If the others do not see what you see right in front of you then you must be hallucinating.

    I'm seeing a lot of assertion from you but little argument to convince me that I should change my understanding of fact and belief to be in line with yours.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    ↪Chet Hawkins - So are you saying that a fact which claims to be nothing more than a belief is better than a fact which claims to be something more than a belief?Leontiskos

    I don't see how something which is acknowledged to be nothing more than a belief can be counted as a fact in the first place.

    I think it is good to realize that knowledge is form of belief. I think that adds a note of humility. What we are sure is true today may be overturned.Bylaw

    The JTB definition of knowledge involves belief, and we might say that it frames knowledge as a "form of belief": namely justified true belief, but it does not follow that it is nothing more than belief, because the 'justified' and the 'true', as conceived, have nothing to do with belief.

    If you take JTB (above) into the picture then that's an argument against it because belief only is insufficient.SpaceDweller

    Yes, you make the same point as I did above.

    Belief is assent (true if warranted, opinion if unwarranted, delusion if its negation is warranted).

    Knowledge consists of truths or not-yet-falsified claims the statuses of which are independent of dis/belief.
    180 Proof

    I agree with what you say about belief, but what you say about knowledge seems somehow strange. Say we have accepted some not-yet-falsified claim and count it as knowledge, and then it becomes falsified. Was it ever knowledge in that case?

    I think there is a valid distinction between knowledge and belief,
    — Janus
    The former is a subset of the latter. Different people/groups have different reasons for saying this batch of beliefs over here, they've got promise or they sure seem to be working so far or they fit X and Y really well and those over there don't fit it so well and those over there we can't make sense of to even tell.
    Bylaw

    Yes, but if the best conception of knowledge is that it can only apply to what is true or factual then there is a valid distinction between mere belief and knowledge. It might be said that we can know things without knowing that we know them, and not know things that we think we know. This does seem to separate knowledge and belief.



    Yes, there are different kinds of knowing. There is 'knowing how', there is the knowing of familiarity and there is 'knowing that'. I think the salient question in this thread concerns only 'knowing that' or propositional knowing, because the other two categories do not necessarily involve belief.
  • Banno
    23.6k
    What distinguishes a 'fact' from a belief is that THAT PERSON ONLY (<--- yup) has decided that enough evidence exists to make that fact iota something that is fairly far along the match curve towards infinity, e.g. perfection. For them its a fact.Chet Hawkins
    Twaddle.

    Facts don't care what you believe.

    Trump can believe that he had the largest inauguration crowd ever, but it wasn't, regardless of what Trump chooses to believe.

    Mike Hughes can believe that the Earth is flat, but he is still dead.

    Reverend Jim Jones believed he would start a paradise on Earth. It didn't work out.

    Not all beliefs are true. If you lose the capacity to be able to differentiate between true and false belief, you are headed for a confrontation with reality.

    You get to decide what you believe, but you do not usually get to decide what is fact.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    I think there is a valid distinction between knowledge and belief, although I also think that much of what is generally considered to be knowledge might be more accurately classed as belief.
    — Janus

    As do I, but if there is a distinction, putting belief and knowledge in the same class kinda invalidates it.
    Mww

    Right, but I wasn't putting all knowledge and belief in the same class but merely observing that what some might count as knowledge is actually merely belief.

    Still, regarding the question in general, this….

    What distinguishes a 'fact' from a belief is that THAT PERSON ONLY (…) has decided….
    — Chet Hawkins

    ….would be the focal point of the issue, insofar as whether opinion, belief or knowledge, any relative judgement of truth is a purely subjective effort. And even if that is the case, brain states aside, still leaves the method by which it happens.
    Mww

    Okay but is a judgement of truth the same as truth? I don't think that is how the two are commonly conceived. It seems that we can know the truth without knowing we know it, and that we can think we know the truth, but be mistaken.
  • Banno
    23.6k
    So, here you assert that all facts are a subset of beliefs. This does not accord with the common concepts of 'fact' and 'belief'. 'Fact' signifies what is the case regardless of what anyone believes.Janus
    If he'd said knowledge was a subset of belief, that what we know is a subset of what we believe, that might have made sense.

    Say we have accepted some not-yet-falsified claim and count it as knowledge, and then it becomes falsified. Was it ever knowledge in that case?Janus
    Clearly not.
  • NOS4A2
    8.5k
    It might be comforting to distill the terms into some little formula, this word equals that word, but in my mind it’s better to find out what these terms are meant to describe. When it comes to self-reporting, each of them seem to refer to some degree of bodily feeling, like certainty, so in that sense they are radically similar.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    All knowledge requires belief.ENOAH

    All propositional knowledge requires belief in one sense, because when knowledge is put into propositional form it is thereby asserted as belief. On the other hand, I know I am sitting here typing this, and I know this pre-propositionally simply because I am aware that I am sitting here typing. Perhaps the word 'know' is inappropriate here because to say you know something implies the possibility of doubt. So perhaps I should just say " I am aware that I am sitting here". Would that then be case of "the knowing of familiarity" as distinct from "propositional knowing"?

    Paraphrased to illustrate:

    Jesus: nothing beats belief. Belief will move mountains. If you have belief the size of a mustard seed you will say to that mountain move, and it will move.

    Hui neng: came across two of his disciples debating over whether the wind was moving the flag or the flag was moving. "It is neither wind nor flag," said the 6th patriarch of Cha'an. "It is your mind moving."
    6 hours ago
    ENOAH

    These are poetic expressions and I don't see any relevance to what we are considering here.
  • Philosophim
    2.4k
    I've read it. I guess I was wondering if you were interested in considering a different perspective.wonderer1

    Always! I was just giving my answer in the most accurate way I could. Since you've already read it, I will answer your question with that in mind.

    It's not rare for me to accept that I know things, based on my intuition having been highly trained and tested in some fairly specific areas. Is there some reason I should accept your definition?wonderer1

    Yes, because my definition allows an objective statement of knowledge. This further allows an evaluation of inductions, which we can place into a hierarchy of cogency. Probability, possibility, plausibility, and irrational. Thus we can be more confident even in the inductions we make by evaluating them against other competing inductions in that hierarchy.

    If we trace your logic back to its roots, we are going to find intuitions anyway, don't you think?wonderer1

    No. At its root, "I discretely experience." is proven and not an intuition.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    And ↪fdrake laid out an excellent argument against the statement "Knowledge is merely belief" -- sometimes, to expand on fdrake, knowledge is action, and has nothing to do with what people say! A totally orthogonal category to yourthe notion that knowledge is merely belief.Moliere

    I agree with his argument although as I already said in reply to @fdrake I don't think the discussion is really concerned with anything other than propositional knowing and its relation to belief.
  • Banno
    23.6k
    And ↪fdrake laid out an excellent argument against the statement "Knowledge is merely belief" -- sometimes, to expand on fdrake, knowledge is action, and has nothing to do with what people say! A totally orthogonal category to yourthe notion that knowledge is merely belief.Moliere

    Yes, 's is a neat bit of linguistic philosophy... :wink:

    Philosophical discussion tends to focus on the JTB account, with good reason, but even Socrates and Plato knew it was limited.

    There is 'knowing how', there is the knowing of familiarity and there is 'knowing that'. I think the salient question in this thread concerns only 'knowing that' or propositional knowing, because the other two categories do not necessarily involve belief.Janus
    I'll argue that knowing-that reduces to knowing-how; so by way of an example knowing that water boils at 100℃ is knowing how to boil the kettle and how to use a thermometre and how to answer basic physics questions and so on. I take this as a corollary of meanign as use. The meaning of "water boils at 100℃" is what we are able to do with it.

    Notice also that this approach makes knowedge more social or communal. It is part of our langauge use.
  • ENOAH
    653
    These are poetic expressions and I don't see any relevance to what we are considering here.Janus

    Fair enough.

    Also, I agreed with your differentiation between know and aware that.
  • 180 Proof
    14.5k
    Read the articles I've linked so you can tell for yourself whether or not "JTB is antiquated".

    Say we have accepted some not-yet-falsified claim and count it as knowledge, and then it becomes falsified. Was it ever knowledge in that case?Janus
    No, but actual knowledge is fallibilistic.
  • Fire Ologist
    363
    “Once upon a time, in some out of the way corner of that universe which is dispersed into numberless twinkling solar systems, there was a star upon which clever beasts invented knowing. That was the most arrogant and mendacious minute of "world history," but nevertheless, it was only a minute. After nature had drawn a few breaths, the star cooled and congealed, and the clever beasts had to die. One might invent such a fable, and yet he still would not have adequately illustrated how miserable, how shadowy and transient, how aimless and arbitrary the human intellect looks within nature. There were eternities during which it did not exist. And when it is all over with the human intellect, nothing will have happened.”
    “On Truth and Lies in a Non-moral Sense” - F. Nietzsche


    How do you not love Nietzsche. Great starting point for these questions.

    I see there are at least four things we must just put on the table and address before we can have any account of any one of them. This conversation about knowledge versus belief must address the following distinct things:
    - knowing (the act or operation)
    - the known (not an act or operation, but merely the “of” in knowledge of, or merely the other, or facts, or objects, or things, as in things known while in the act of knowing)
    - truth relationship (the relationship between the act of knowing on the one hand and the thing now known, the object of knowledge on the other. This relationship, as truth or lies or reality or appearance, is most simply represented as “truth”) (have to address it, as Nietzsche did and we all are doing.)
    - believing (called belief, but this is another act, of judging or deciding that the knowledge one is in the act of knowing is true. Belief ties them together.)

    Nietzsche believed his words above to be true. He would admit the absurdity of calling this picture of man in the universe something he “knew.” He just also believed nothing important happened just because he so believed, he so knew, and the act of reifying “truth” or “knowledge” was as arbitrary as reifying believing or willing, AND in his belief system, wiling was more worthy of reification than any “true knowledge” anyway, but I digress.

    So I agree with Nietzsche that you can’t discuss one of these without the others. And I agree you can conclude many different things about knowledge and belief and truth and knowing, such as “nothing happening here in this out of the way corner of the universe.”

    Or you might conclude knowledge is merely belief, which I disagree with.

    But I agree we shouldn’t reify knowledge above the willing belief, or truth above the simple act of knowing anything be it false or lies. I don’t reify any of it, and try to take it as it comes which is all all together. Nietzsche had to go too far to make us see truth and knowledge don’t deserve primacy over the act of willing, but he went too far and reified willing (but I digress again).

    I see I am capable of knowing, and this operation has furnished me with facts or objects of knowledge, for me to then judge and decide for myself which of these things that I am knowing are truly relating my knowing with the things known. I also see it is possible that I never know truth, but then there would not be different puzzle pieces, just me never getting to move them along the game board. The pieces themselves are already there for me to puzzle about.

    So, to me, belief is as essential in this discussion as is the operation of knowing, as is the operation of believing the knowing relates to the now known objects as truth or otherwise. Knowing, knowledge, believed to be true…these all happen together.
  • Janus
    15.8k
    I'll argue that knowing-that reduces to knowing-how; so by way of an example knowing that water boils at 100℃ is knowing how to boil the kettle and how to use a thermometre and how to answer basic physics questions and so on. I take this as a corollary of meanign as use. The meaning of "water boils at 100℃" is what we are able to do with it.

    Notice also that this approach makes knowedge more social or communal. It is part of our langauge use.
    Banno

    There is something to what you say, but I think you may be working with too broad a brush. Know-how involves skills that may not be dependent on knowing anything in a propositional sense.

    The various ways "know" is used can perhaps all be related by changing locutions, but I don't think it's a matter of one concept being reducible to another.

    So, I may know things in a propositional sense that have no effect on what I do, or how I do things. For example, I may know that my friend regularly arrives late to appointments, but I need not necessarily do anything with that knowledge. Or I may know that many religious people think Jesus died for our sins but find that knowledge quite irrelevant to how I live my own life.

    Another point is that, for example, I may know how to ride a bicycle and that knowledge seems to have nothing necessarily to do with belief. I think that's a salient difference. This is a complex subject not readily amenable to reductive thinking.

    So, I agree with you that knowledge is, to a fair extent, social and communal, and is related to our language use, but that is not the end of the story. Animals, even solitary animals, know how to do things without knowing anything propositional
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