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Miscellaneous

Community for people who cannot chose a specific community for their discussions.

Rajesh Verma , Would like to explore Awaremonk before writin Sep, 25 2016

There is no such thing as knowledge. After 30 years of pursuit, this is my conclusion.


I argue that any binary definition for knowledge (where something is either not known, or known with absolute certainty) is unsatisfactory. This covers all definitions I have seen. I argue that any binary definition that does not require absolute certainty will have a Gettier-type counterexample, exploiting whatever area is left unverified. Yet, any definitions that do require absolute certainty will find certainty impossible to fulfil, thus all statements will be unknown, making the definition useless. This could be reworded succintly as: Nothing can be determined with absolute certainty. The degree of certainty required for beliefs to be considered knowledge could be set as not absolute certainty, resulting in knowledge that could be wrong, which is unacceptable. Or, it could be set as absolute certainty, and nothing can ever be known, which is unacceptable. Unfortunately, the way the concept of knowledge is used in language requires that its definition be binary, that knowledge be absolutely certain. It is impossible to say that "Person A knows Statement X is true" while Statement X has a chance of being false. This means that any attempts to define knowledge while conforming to its linguistic use must fail.
I argue that any binary definition for knowledge (where something is either not known, or known with absolute certainty) is unsatisfactory. This covers all definitions I have seen. I argue that any binary definition that does not require absolute certainty will have a Gettier-type counterexample, exploiting whatever area is left unverified. Yet, any definitions that do require absolute certainty will find certainty impossible to fulfil, thus all statements will be unknown, making the definition useless. This could be reworded succintly as: Nothing can be determined with absolute certainty. The degree of certainty required for beliefs to be considered knowledge could be set as not absolute certainty, resulting in knowledge that could be wrong, which is unacceptable. Or, it could be set as absolute certainty, and nothing can ever be known, which is unacceptable. Unfortunately, the way the concept of knowledge is used in language requires that its definition be binary, that knowledge be absolutely certain. It is impossible to say that "Person A knows Statement X is true" while Statement X has a chance of being false. This means that any attempts to define knowledge while conforming to its linguistic use must fail.

Mayank Tiwari , Engineer. UPSC aspirant. Sep, 25 2016


I always liked Hume's problem of induction as a skeptical argument against the possibility of knowledge. It doesn't say that we don't know anything, only that it's possible we might not know anything due to the practice of drawing general rules from specific instances that are consistent.

The example often cited is "Because all swans observed are white, it can be conclude all swans are white." We can see that this type of generalization suffers from limited scope of observation which goes in hand with knowledge needing to be justified (in which case this is). However its truth can never be verified, only its falsehood. I always viewed it as justified (but not necessarily true) until falsified.

The overall issue with forming knowledge this way is that the only time we are certain of a statement's truth value is when we find an example to the contrary, it will never be positively proven.

For example, the law of gravity. Every observation we have ever made suggests that our current understanding is correct and universally applicable, however a single non-compliant example would be the only thing necessary to prove it's falsehood. Unless we can be sure that we have exhaustively observed all of existence our generalizations can never be confirmed, merely known to be exceedingly probable.

I always liked Hume's problem of induction as a skeptical argument against the possibility of knowledge. It doesn't say that we don't know anything, only that it's possible we might not know anything due to the practice of drawing general rules from specific instances that are consistent. The exampl


Ahmed Azab , Interested in history, Political science and Sep, 25 2016


Knowledge is the stored mental content of the individual. Even if it's false or inaccurate it's still knowledge.

A person may for example be heavily knowledgeable about subject matter A, however all of what they know is inaccurate. They are still knowledgeable, but what they know is not worthy of respect. This designates it as undesired knowledge. Still knowledge though.

Knowledge is the stored mental content of the individual. Even if it's false or inaccurate it's still knowledge. A person may for example be heavily knowledgeable about subject matter A, however all of what they know is inaccurate. They are still knowledgeable, but what they know is not worthy of re


Rajshekhar , student at BITS goa. I am here to learn. Sep, 25 2016


I've never seen knowledge defined like that. Knowledge isn't just the mental content (that'd just be beliefs), but also has the requirement (among others) that it's true. If all of someone's beliefs on a subject are false ones, we wouldn't say he's knowledgeable about that subject at all - really, they know nothing, just believe they know a lot. If I find out my belief about something was false, I wouldn't say "I used to know it" - I'd say I thought I knew it, but was wrong.;
I've never seen knowledge defined like that. Knowledge isn't just the mental content (that'd just be beliefs), but also has the requirement (among others) that it's true. If all of someone's beliefs on a subject are false ones, we wouldn't say he's knowledgeable about that subject at all - really, t


Ahmed Azab , Interested in history, Political science and Sep, 25 2016


If I believed myself to be expert on subject matter A and it was revealed that my information was inaccurate, I would defend my words saying "I gave my answer to the best of my knowledge." And even beyond that, I would still have all of this inaccurate knowledge at my disposal. Totally useless, but still knowledge. Because even if I know it's wrong, I still know it.

Knowledge of accurate information tend to be a desirable trait. So the phrase is commonly used in conjunction with that desired product in the same way that people understand what you mean when you ask for a kleenex or a q-tip. That's not what it is, but we know what you're asking for.

In this way, when a person is seeking a specific kind of knowledge and somebody has that knowledge, they will refer to that person as knowledgeable. Not because their information is accurate, but because they know a lot of answers to the questions they are given which satisfy the inquirer or they have expansive mental content regarding the subject matter.

What is and is not useful and desired knowledge is a matter of opinion. But knowledge itself isn't just truth. And somebody who is knowledgeable isn't necessarily the person who knows the most accurate information.

If I believed myself to be expert on subject matter A and it was revealed that my information was inaccurate, I would defend my words saying "I gave my answer to the best of my knowledge." And even beyond that, I would still have all of this inaccurate knowledge at my disposal. Totally useless, but