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Sunday, June 3, 2018

What is knowledge?


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Alexandre Duret-Lutz

Photo license: CC BY-SA 2.0


What is knowledge? Here is my definition:


Knowledge is a correctly justified true belief


I believe that establishing knowledge is one of the central goals of intellectual activity. The greatest scientists and philosophers have helped humanity establish new knowledge and ideas about reality.


According to this definition, knowledge has to be justified. For example, imagine that you say, "My next roll with the dice will be a six." Even if this statement is true, it's not knowledge because you do not have justification to believe it.


It's also necessary that knowledge is correctly justified. This means that correct justification has to be used. I regard this as a solution to the Gettier problem proposed by Edmund Gettier in 1963. Gettier believed that the definition 'justified true belief' was inadequate to define knowledge. The next paragraph is a Gettier case to demonstrate this problem.


Imagine that you observe 1 sheep standing in a field 100 yards away, but it's actually a highly realistic cardboard sheep. Since the cardboard sheep is very realistic, it serves as adequate justification to believe that there is 1 sheep in the field. This belief is also true because there is 1 sheep hidden behind a bush next to the cardboard sheep. Even though this belief is justified and true, is it knowledge? No, because you used the incorrect justification. In this regard, I believe that knowledge has to use the correct justification.


I also believe that knowledge also has to be true. I do not consider incorrect beliefs as knowledge. I believe it's necessary for knowledge to accurately represent reality.



License: CC BY-SA 4.0