Questions for Tomasia and drewpaul
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12-08-2015, 10:36 AM
RE: Questions for Tomasia and drewpaul
(12-08-2015 10:26 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(11-08-2015 03:05 PM)Matt Finney Wrote:  When our beliefs are justified and match reality, we call them knowledge.

This is simply not true. There are justified true beliefs which are not knowledge. Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?

I'm familiar with the Gettier problem. We could even debate about whether the people in the Gettier examples are really justified in their beliefs. Perhaps the man looking at the barn in a field is only really justified in believing that there appears to him to be a barn in the field? We can't avoid the subjective nature of deciding what is/isn't justified.

Can you provide a definition of knowledge that's better than JTB?
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12-08-2015, 10:43 AM
RE: Questions for Tomasia and drewpaul
(12-08-2015 10:01 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(12-08-2015 09:16 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  I think you're using "belief" differently than most people do. Period. What you're describing sounds like unnecessarily complicated gobbledygook to me, and I'd be willing to bet it sounds like that to most others as well.

If I know something, and know that I know it, I don't call that "belief", and I don't think anyone else does either. I call it knowledge. To go back to one of my own examples, I said I believe that the St. Louis Cardinals will win the NL Central Division this year. I don't have to "believe" that they won it last year -- I know they did. That's the difference between belief and knowledge. I can have varying kinds of beliefs, some stronger than others, but if I'm certain of something, I don't call it a belief.

People who say they believe in God are not all 100% certain of God's existence. In fact, I would say that anyone who claims to be 100% certain of that is deluding himself. Most of them have doubts. It doesn't make them atheists. By your definition, there is no such thing as a theist or an atheist. We're all agnostics (sorry, KC, I know you've already said all this). But then none of the terms are very useful. The way most people use them, the majority of people are either theists or atheists. But you don't draw the line between them as "anything less than 100% is an atheist". That's just wacky.

I still think that many people believe that they know that god exists. If someone claims to believe that god exists, then they are a theist. If they claim uncertainty, then they are agnostic. These are simple definitions.

You really believe that it is a fact that the Cardinals will win, or is it merely your hypothesis?

That particular one is a conjecture -- it's neither true nor false yet, because the season isn't over yet. But I believe it's a fact that no gods exist, and that the Gospels are largely fiction. But I am not certain of either of those, and I can't prove either of them. Nevertheless, I don't call them guesses or hypotheses -- they are beliefs.

As for the agnostic/atheist thing, a day or two ago you were saying that anyone who's uncertain is an atheist, and that, again, is just wacky. Agnostic I'll buy -- we are all agnostics in a sense. But if you're going to reserve "theist" for those few who are absolutely certain of God's existence, then, to be consistent, you should reserve "atheist" for those few, like Free, who are absolutely certain of his non-existence. That leaves almost everyone in the "agnostic" camp, and that doesn't square with most people's usage of the terms. The word "agnostic" (with no qualifier) normally refers to someone who is close to the 50% area, and doesn't have a strong belief in either direction. Most people would describe themselves simply as either theist or atheist, regardless of whether or not they are certain of those beliefs.

But I think a lot of this is just nitpicking, and it's not getting us anywhere, so I will bow out at this point. I notice that you have gotten no response so far from "drewpaul", and relatively minimal response from Tomasia. Most of the thread has consisted of argument over the definitions of theist, agnostic, and atheist. That probably wasn't your intention. But I think you steered it that way by defining those terms in an unconventional way. Tomasia obviously does not consider himself agnostic or atheist, despite your attempts to put him in that box.
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12-08-2015, 11:02 AM
RE: Questions for Tomasia and drewpaul
(12-08-2015 10:09 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  The things is, we already have a word for educated guess - hypothesis.

belief = you think it's true
hypothesis = guess with limited or suggestive evidence

If you know you're guessing, you don't also believe it's a fact.

I didn't say I knew I was guessing, only that I knew that I don't have complete certainty. Those aren't the same thing and I do not automatically equate a hypothesis to a belief.

If I find evidence X I might hypothesize that it supports conclusion Y without believing that it does until I get more evidence. I might come up with multiple hypotheses based on the evidence and not yet believe any of them because I don't find any more likely than not. If at some point I determine that a hypothesis is looking pretty solid I will likely begin to believe that it is correct. Given enough supporting evidence I'd start to believe it strongly and eventually conclude that I know it to be true.

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12-08-2015, 11:02 AM
RE: Questions for Tomasia and drewpaul
(12-08-2015 10:43 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  That particular one is a conjecture -- it's neither true nor false yet, because the season isn't over yet. But I believe it's a fact that no gods exist, and that the Gospels are largely fiction. But I am not certain of either of those, and I can't prove either of them. Nevertheless, I don't call them guesses or hypotheses -- they are beliefs.

Just sounds weird to me for someone to say, "I think it's fact that OJ is guilty, but I don't know whether or not he's guilty." Maybe that's just me, but I never hear people talk that way.

(12-08-2015 10:43 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  As for the agnostic/atheist thing, a day or two ago you were saying that anyone who's uncertain is an atheist, and that, again, is just wacky. Agnostic I'll buy -- we are all agnostics in a sense. But if you're going to reserve "theist" for those few who are absolutely certain of God's existence, then, to be consistent, you should reserve "atheist" for those few, like Free, who are absolutely certain of his non-existence. That leaves almost everyone in the "agnostic" camp, and that doesn't square with most people's usage of the terms. The word "agnostic" (with no qualifier) normally refers to someone who is close to the 50% area, and doesn't have a strong belief in either direction. Most people would describe themselves simply as either theist or atheist, regardless of whether or not they are certain of those beliefs.

I think agnostic is a subset of atheist. Atheism is broad and encompasses everyone who doesn't believe that god exists. Agnosticism is more specific in that the person must not believe that god doesn't exist. An atheist can believe that god doesn't exist, and agnostic can't. However, all agnostics are atheists.

(12-08-2015 10:43 AM)Grasshopper Wrote:  But I think a lot of this is just nitpicking, and it's not getting us anywhere, so I will bow out at this point. I notice that you have gotten no response so far from "drewpaul", and relatively minimal response from Tomasia. Most of the thread has consisted of argument over the definitions of theist, agnostic, and atheist. That probably wasn't your intention. But I think you steered it that way by defining those terms in an unconventional way. Tomasia obviously does not consider himself agnostic or atheist, despite your attempts to put him in that box.

I'm sure a lot of it is nitpicking, but definition of terms is important. Maybe I've spent too much time thinking in the philosophical realm, and have become a little detached from how a lot of people use language.
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12-08-2015, 11:13 AM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2015 11:17 AM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Questions for Tomasia and drewpaul
(12-08-2015 10:36 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  
(12-08-2015 10:26 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  This is simply not true. There are justified true beliefs which are not knowledge. Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?
Can you provide a definition of knowledge that's better than JTB?

I can't. But both Nozick and the postmodernists attempt to.

Nozick says that justification is unnecessary.

1) P is true
2) S believes that P
3) If it were the case that (not-P), S would not believe that P
4) If it were the case that P, S would believe that P

The postmodernists decouple belief from knowledge by redefining truth as consensus.

1) Everyone comes to belief with a cognitive structure that cannot be set aside.
2) Our cognitive structure serves as a lens through which we view the world. Because of this, knowledge is said to be perspectival or a product of our perspective.
3) Since the evaluation of our beliefs is based on our cognitive lens, it's not possible to be certain about any belief we have. This should make us tentative about truth claims and more open to the idea that all of our beliefs could be wrong.
4) Truth emerges in the context (or relative to) community agreement.

#sigh
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12-08-2015, 11:25 AM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2015 11:29 AM by unfogged.)
RE: Questions for Tomasia and drewpaul
(12-08-2015 11:02 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Just sounds weird to me for someone to say, "I think it's fact that OJ is guilty, but I don't know whether or not he's guilty." Maybe that's just me, but I never hear people talk that way.

That would be odd but what wouldn't be is for somebody to say "I think it is probably true that OJ is guilty but I don't know for sure". That's what I hear when somebody says "I believe OJ is guilty".

Quote:I think agnostic is a subset of atheist. Atheism is broad and encompasses everyone who doesn't believe that god exists. Agnosticism is more specific in that the person must not believe that god doesn't exist. An atheist can believe that god doesn't exist, and agnostic can't. However, all agnostics are atheists.

I see agnostic as simply the recognition that you are allowing for uncertainty in whatever the subject is. An gnostic bigfootist claims to know that bigfoot exists while an agnostic bigfootist would claim to believe that bigfoot probably exists but admits they could be wrong. The same is true for gnostic/agnostic theists.

Using that definition, agnostic atheists are a subset of atheists but the term agnostic on its own has no meaning. It has to be paired with the belief claim and while atheist is the default it can apply to any belief claim.

Quote:I'm sure a lot of it is nitpicking, but definition of terms is important. Maybe I've spent too much time thinking in the philosophical realm, and have become a little detached from how a lot of people use language.

Thumbsup

That's how it looks to me also. I don't see either as wrong so much as it being a barrier to communicating as when any specialist tries to converse with the lay public. Remember, evolution is only a theory!

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12-08-2015, 01:50 PM
RE: Questions for Tomasia and drewpaul
(12-08-2015 11:13 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(12-08-2015 10:36 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Can you provide a definition of knowledge that's better than JTB?

I can't. But both Nozick and the postmodernists attempt to.

Nozick says that justification is unnecessary.

1) P is true
2) S believes that P
3) If it were the case that (not-P), S would not believe that P
4) If it were the case that P, S would believe that P

The postmodernists decouple belief from knowledge by redefining truth as consensus.

1) Everyone comes to belief with a cognitive structure that cannot be set aside.
2) Our cognitive structure serves as a lens through which we view the world. Because of this, knowledge is said to be perspectival or a product of our perspective.
3) Since the evaluation of our beliefs is based on our cognitive lens, it's not possible to be certain about any belief we have. This should make us tentative about truth claims and more open to the idea that all of our beliefs could be wrong.
4) Truth emerges in the context (or relative to) community agreement.

Postmodernists can't handle the truth. Drinking Beverage

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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12-08-2015, 03:07 PM
RE: Questions for Tomasia and drewpaul
This is wandering into full retard territory.

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12-08-2015, 03:59 PM
RE: Questions for Tomasia and drewpaul
(12-08-2015 11:13 AM)GirlyMan Wrote:  
(12-08-2015 10:36 AM)Matt Finney Wrote:  Can you provide a definition of knowledge that's better than JTB?

I can't. But both Nozick and the postmodernists attempt to.

Nozick says that justification is unnecessary.

1) P is true
2) S believes that P
3) If it were the case that (not-P), S would not believe that P
4) If it were the case that P, S would believe that P

The postmodernists decouple belief from knowledge by redefining truth as consensus.

1) Everyone comes to belief with a cognitive structure that cannot be set aside.
2) Our cognitive structure serves as a lens through which we view the world. Because of this, knowledge is said to be perspectival or a product of our perspective.
3) Since the evaluation of our beliefs is based on our cognitive lens, it's not possible to be certain about any belief we have. This should make us tentative about truth claims and more open to the idea that all of our beliefs could be wrong.
4) Truth emerges in the context (or relative to) community agreement.

So what's your take on all of this? Do you think anyone knows anything, or do you think it just kind of a useless word and that we should stick to "beliefs" when describing our thoughts?

Do you think that either of these attempts you posted do a better job of defining knowledge? Do they do a sufficient job?

Please don't take this the wrong way, I'm not trying to argue with you, I'm genuinely interested in your thoughts.
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12-08-2015, 04:13 PM
RE: Questions for Tomasia and drewpaul
It seems to me that epistemology is a personal subjective thing.
What criteria is used to distinguish a subset of beliefs as being knowledge is upto the individual. Whether they are consistent across the board on that approach or compartmentalise is upto them also.

Often when evidence isn't easy to find then they utilise a different method i.e. superstitious (including religion) or historical where records weren't kept or where distances are too great (i.e. speculation of life on other planets)
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