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  1. #1
    Senior Member reason's Avatar
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    Default Knowledge is Useless

    The traditional definition of knowledge has it that for a statement to be classed as knowledge it must be justified, true, and believed. To satisfy these three conditions a criterion of truth is required, that is, a rule or procedure which can prove that a statement is true.

    Although a statement which is true for one is true for all, one can have knowledge that nobody else has. Some people may have performed a procedure which proves that a statement is true, while others have not. Knowledge, therefore, depends upon the history of each individual’s personal experience--such as sense perceptions or clear and distinct ideas. It is not enough to merely be believe a true statement to have knowledge, but necessary to "back up" or "support" that belief by appealing to some personal experience. For example, before a true statement can become knowledge, it may be necessary to conduct a scientific experiment, develop a mathematical proof, or even consult a religious text.

    Suppose there is a statement which two people think is true, and moreover, it is actually true. However, only one has knowledge, that is, has performed a procedure which proves the statement is true. One day, both are betting on horse racing, and the statement is, 'Flying Scotsman will win the next race.' Both place the same bet on the same horse, and when Flying Scotsman wins the race, both collect the same winnings. Only one knew that Flying Scotsman would win. However, if one without knowledge can be as successful as another with knowledge, then what does knowledge do? Perhaps it provides peace-of-mind or confidence. But suppose that for our two gamblers it does not. Would it matter if knowledge did not exist? Both would have still have won their bet even if neither had knowledge.

    Justified true belief offers no practical benefit which mere true belief does not, and it can, therefore, be safely discarded.

    Note: In fact, I would argue that it should be discarded.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  2. #2
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    Sure, why not? I mean, useless for what is the question, and if your construct leaves it useless, it's useless. Oh, Lee.

  3. #3
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reason View Post
    The traditional definition of knowledge has it that for a statement to be classed as knowledge it must be justified, true, and believed. To satisfy these three conditions a criterion of truth is required, that is, a rule or procedure which can prove that a statement is true.

    Although a statement which is true for one is true for all, one can have knowledge that nobody else has. Some people may have performed a procedure which proves that a statement is true, while others have not. Knowledge, therefore, depends upon the history of each individual’s personal experience--such as sense perceptions or clear and distinct ideas. It is not enough to merely be believe a true statement to have knowledge, but necessary to "back up" or "support" that belief by appealing to some personal experience. For example, before a true statement can become knowledge, it may be necessary to conduct a scientific experiment, develop a mathematical proof, or even consult a religious text.

    Suppose there is a statement which two people think is true, and moreover, it is actually true. However, only one has knowledge, that is, has performed a procedure which proves the statement is true. One day, both are betting on horse racing, and the statement is, 'Flying Scotsman will win the next race.' Both place the same bet on the same horse, and when Flying Scotsman wins the race, both collect their winnings. Only one knew that Flying Scotsman would win. However, if one without knowledge can be as successful as another with knowledge, then what does knowledge do? Perhaps it provides peace-of-mind or confidence. But suppose that for our two gamblers it does not. Would it matter if knowledge did not exist? Both would have still have won their bet, and nothing else need have changed.

    Justified true belief offers no practical benefit which mere true belief does not, and it can, therefore, be safely discarded.

    Note: In fact, I would argue that it should be discarded.
    Okay, how about this. I could guess by chance that there will be an economical depression in China in the year of 2040. The statement: there will be a depression in China in 2040 is true because in the year 2041 we will document such an occurence.

    That is a true belief. Yet, I have no reason to have confidence in such a belief as it was a mere guess. If I was an economist on the other hand, I may have a rigorous formula to support such a prediction of mine. In the latter case I'd have more confidence in my predictions as there is some rationale to support them. And for good reasons too, as an economist, my predictions will be correct more frequently than the random guesses of someone who is not an economist.

    For this reason 'justified true belief' concept should not be discarded. To claim that it should be discarded is as just as absurd as stating that we need not attempt to find reasons to believe in things that we do, we are better off just guessing. Just like if we were solving a complex mathematical problem, forget about the proof! Just guess what the answer is going to be, you just might be right, might not! Oh well, but discard the justified true belief concept! Its no good I tell you, all those 100 some steps in the proof which are deductively valid and are founded on our initial premises mean absolutely nothing!

    Or how about, if I want to drive to Chicago from Detroit, forget about mapquest and all the plans I am going to make regarding what roads I need to take to get from here to there, why don't I just guess how I should drive! It will be all good in the end, as after all the justified true belief concept is no good anyway!

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

    In summary, justified belief is useful on 3 accounts.

    1)It is a more reliable guide to having knowledge than blind guessing.
    2)It gives us more confidence in what we know.
    3)Thinking rationally allows for us to change our beliefs without much stress. Contrast the cases of a religious dogmatist and a religious philosopher. A religious philosopher can alter his beliefs through further logical analysis of them, yet the religious dogmatist experiences much stress when his beliefs are challenged.

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

    I must confess, my dear sir, I earnestly do not understand where you're going with this thread!
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flak View Post
    Sure, why not? I mean, useless for what is the question
    For successful action.

    If your construct leaves it useless, it's useless. Oh, Lee.
    Of course, because otherwise I would have argued invalidly, and that was not my intent.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWing View Post
    Okay, how about this. I could guess by chance that there will be an economical depression in China in the year of 2040. The statement: there will be a depression in China in 2040 is true because in the year 2041 we will document such an occurence.
    So your 2041 documentation of a depression in China is the cause of a 2040 depression in China? If only those who documentated the Great Depression knew what they were doing!

    1) It is a more reliable guide to having knowledge than blind guessing.
    If knowledge is always true, then it is reliable, but not because it is knowledge, but because it is true. True statements are reliable, not knowledge.

    I must confess, my dear sir, I earnestly do not understand where you're going with this thread.
    Knowledge doesn't do anything. It's superfluous.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

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    Here's another little nugget. It begins the same as before, but ends differently.

    The traditional definition of knowledge has it that for a statement to be classed as knowledge it must be justified, true, and believed. To satisfy these three conditions a criterion of truth is required, that is, a rule or procedure which can prove that a statement is true.

    Although a statement which is true for one is true for all, one can have knowledge that nobody else has. Some people may have performed a procedure which proves that a statement is true, while others have not. Knowledge, therefore, depends upon the history of each individual’s personal experience--such as sense perceptions or clear and distinct ideas. It is not enough to merely be believe a true statement to have knowledge, but necessary to "back up" or "support" that belief by appealing to some personal experience. For example, before a true statement can become knowledge, it may be necessary to conduct a scientific experiment, develop a mathematical proof, or even consult a religious text.

    If personal experience is used to prove a statement--and thereby, create knowledge--then it is generally expected of a proven statement that it be logically entailed by whatever experience is invoked as justification. Logic, however, does not take experiences as premises, because they are not objects from which deductions can be made. Propositional-variables are the objects of logic; a proposition is a kind of statement. Experiences are not statements, and therefore, nothing can be deduced from them. Propositions may be constructed about experiences, but there is no logical relation (consistency, inconsistency, or entailment) between a statement and an experience. Logical relations, such as entailment, can only hold between one proposition and another proposition. If experiences are to be used as a “foundation” or “basis” for knowledge, then they do so non-logically.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  7. #7
    Arcesso pulli gingerios! Eldanen's Avatar
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    Uselessness is a subjective values statement.

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    Here's another.

    The traditional definition of knowledge has it that for a statement to be classed as knowledge it must be justified, true, and believed. To satisfy these three conditions a criterion of truth is required, that is, a rule or procedure which can prove that a statement is true.

    Although a statement which is true for one is true for all, one can have knowledge that nobody else has. Some people may have performed a procedure which proves that a statement is true, while others have not. Knowledge, therefore, depends upon the history of each individual’s personal experience--such as sense perceptions or clear and distinct ideas. It is not enough to merely be believe a true statement to have knowledge, but necessary to "back up" or "support" that belief by appealing to some personal experience. For example, before a true statement can become knowledge, it may be necessary to conduct a scientific experiment, develop a mathematical proof, or even consult a religious text.

    Knowledge is less about truth than it is about ethics. It is not concerned with whether an idea is true or false, but with whether it is right or wrong to believe that an idea is true or false. Check out almost any thread about the existence of God, for example. Ideas are not criticised, people are. Discussion primarily concerned whether it is right to believe something, not whether that something is true or false. People demand "reasons"--by which they mean past experiences--from people to justify their beliefs, and if they cannot provide the right kind of experiences then they shouldn't believe what they do.

    Many sceptics think something has been gained by recognising fallible (i.e. possibly false) knowledge, but when knowledge is fallible, it has even less to do with truth than before!
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldanen View Post
    Uselessness is a subjective values statement.
    Yes, but whether it is useful for some subjective standard is not subjective. In other words, once a standard of usefulness is specificied, then true and false statements can be made about usefulness, or lackthereof.
    A criticism that can be brought against everything ought not to be brought against anything.

  10. #10
    Arcesso pulli gingerios! Eldanen's Avatar
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    *ponders whether this topic is begging the question*

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