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How does one find True Knowledge?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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RJG
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » April 14th, 2019, 10:19 am

Consul, yes, I understand your view very well, BUT it still doesn't answer the question that was asked!

The question was/is: Is there a belief that is NOT justified? (i.e. is there such a thing as an "un-justified belief"?)

Note: Again, and again, and again, I am NOT asking, nor do I care, about the 'epistemic value' of the justification.

If you are able to answer the question directly, then you will realize the logical impossibility of an "unjustified belief", and conclude "ALL beliefs are justified", and further conclude "justified belief" is non-sensically redundant (...as are "round circles" and "unmarried bachelors").

But if you continue to answer a different question than was asked, then you will continue avoiding this realization.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Consul » April 14th, 2019, 11:59 am

RJG wrote:
April 14th, 2019, 10:19 am
Consul, yes, I understand your view very well, BUT it still doesn't answer the question that was asked!

The question was/is: Is there a belief that is NOT justified? (i.e. is there such a thing as an "un-justified belief"?)

Note: Again, and again, and again, I am NOT asking, nor do I care, about the 'epistemic value' of the justification.

If you are able to answer the question directly, then you will realize the logical impossibility of an "unjustified belief", and conclude "ALL beliefs are justified", and further conclude "justified belief" is non-sensically redundant (...as are "round circles" and "unmarried bachelors").

But if you continue to answer a different question than was asked, then you will continue avoiding this realization.
We need to differentiate between subjective justification/justifiedness and objective justification/justifiedness.
A belief is subjectively justified for a believer iff he believes or it seems to him that his belief is objectively justified by his evidence for it. But subjective justification or "justifiedness-for-me" can be erroneous, since I can be wrong about the objective justifiedness of my beliefs.

When "knowledge" is epistemologically defined as "justified true belief", this is to be read as "objectively justified objectively true belief". Knowledge is belief that is justified and true rather than belief that is "justified-for-me" and "true-for-me".

Now, to answer your question: YES, there are both objectively unjustified beliefs and subjectively unjustified beliefs.
There are also subjectively unjustified beliefs, because a believer needn't be aware of any evidence or any (epistemic) reasons for his belief (which he regards as a subjective justification of it). Belief without any objective causes is impossible, but belief without any subjective reasons is possible.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Consul » April 14th, 2019, 12:01 pm

"[J]ustified belief comes in two varieties. To illustrate, suppose now that Frank does not have adequate evidence, but thinks he does. Suppose, for example, that Frank was taught to trust the tarot cards? If the cards tell Frank that he has $500, he will (understandably) believe that he has $500 and also think that his belief is very well-supported. But, of course – and hopefully this won't come as a shock, dear readers – that the tarot cards were thus-and-so is no evidence at all that Frank has $500 in his bank account. So when we talk about justification, we can mean two things: we can mean either what seems to the epistemic agent herself to be evidence for her belief, or we can mean what really is evidence for the agent’s belief. Let’s call the first one subjective justification and the second one objective justification. In this example, Frank's belief is subjectively justified but not objectively justified.

So far, we have distinguished between justifiable and justified belief. We have noted further that there are two types of justified belief: subjectively justified belief and objectively justified belief. Later in this chapter, we will have more to say about how these need to be related. It should already be obvious, though, that if justified belief is required for knowledge, it is objectively justified belief that is required. Merely justifiable belief, or even subjectively justified belief, are not good enough. The reason is simple: if a merely justifiable belief (or a subjectively justified belief) turns out to be true, this will be a matter of luck. Luck isn't good enough for knowledge. So, if the internalist thinks justification is a necessary component of warrant, she needs to be talking about objectively justified belief."


(Evans, Ian, and Nicholas D. Smith. Knowledge. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2012. pp. 76-7)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Consul » April 14th, 2019, 1:53 pm

"What I have in mind…is a distinction between senses of 'justified'. I shall mark this distinction with the phrases 'really justified' and 'apparently justified'. The same sort of distinction is more commonly marked by the phrases 'objectively justified' and 'subjectively justified'."

(Goldman, Alvin I. Epistemology and Cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1986. p. 73)

It is clear that an apparently, subjectively justified belief needn't also be really, objectively justified, and that the sort of justification required for knowledge is real, objective justification, which is what epistemologists mean when they talk about epistemic justification.

"If we assume that only one intellectual obligation is relevant to the belief in question, viz., the obligation to believe that p only if one has adequate evidence for p, we can be a bit more concrete about this.

(X) S is objectively justified in believing that p iff S has adequate evidence for p.

(XI) S is subjectively justified in believing that p iff S believes that he possesses adequate evidence for p.

I believe that we can safely neglect XI. To explain why I will need to make explicit what it is to have adeqate evidence for p. First a proposition, q, is adequate evidence for p provided they are related in such a way that if q is true then p is at least probably true. But I have that evidence only if I believe that q. Furthermore I don't 'have' it in such a way as to thereby render my belief that p justified unless I know or am justified in believing that q. An unjustified belief that q wouldn't do it. If I believe that Begin has told the cabinet that he will resign, but only because I credited an unsubstantiated rumour, then even if Begin's having told the cabinet that hewould resign is an adequate indication that he will resign, I will not thereby be justified in believing that he will resign.

Now I might very well believe that I have adequate evidence for q even though one or more of these conditions is not satisfied. This is an especially live possibility with respect to the first and third conditions. I might mistakenly believe that my evidence is adequate support, and I might mistakenly suppose that I am justified in accepting it. But, as we have just seen, if I am not justified in accepting the evidence for p then my believing it cannot render me justified in believing that p, however adequate that evidence. I would also hold, though this is perhaps more controversial, that if the evidence is not in fact adequate my having that evidence cannot justify me in believing that p. Thus, since my believing that I have adequate evidence is compatible with these non-justifying states of affairs, we cannot take subjective justification, as defined in XI, to constitute epistemic justification."


(Alston, William P. "Concepts of Epistemic Justification." 1985. Reprinted in Epistemic Justification: Essays in the Theory of Knowledge, 81-114. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1989. pp. 89-9)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Bluemist » April 14th, 2019, 9:21 pm

Consul wrote:
April 14th, 2019, 11:59 am
We need to differentiate between subjective justification/justifiedness and objective justification/justifiedness.

A belief is subjectively justified for a believer iff he believes or it seems to him that his belief is objectively justified by his evidence for it.

But subjective justification or "justifiedness-for-me" can be erroneous, since I can be wrong about the objective justifiedness of my beliefs.
Interesting point about the possible nature of subjective justification. Obviously, something better is needed to justify "I am hungry" than "because I feel or say so".

Appealing again to my senses of my bodily state, I may agree that I could be mistaken because my feeling could also have come from gas bubbles or acid buildup. My doctor might suggest, from his own subjective professional experience, that dehydration of low blood sugar might be the direct cause of my feeling hungry.

Then again, in my presentist world, where only the here-now has full reality with reality getting fainter with the memory of the world passing by each moment, what could possibly be objective?

Even passing out would only confirm that my feeling hungry had some bodily cause but not what that cause was. Or acting for my betterment, as Protagoras would suggest, I might eat a sandwich with soda, but that would only affect my future self, not the one I was at the original time.
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » April 15th, 2019, 8:41 am

RJG wrote:The question was/is: Is there a belief that is NOT justified? (i.e. is there such a thing as an "un-justified belief"?)
Consul wrote:We need to differentiate between subjective justification/justifiedness and objective justification/justifiedness.
Not so fast. This still avoids answering the question that was asked. Unless of course, you agree and imply that "ALL beliefs are justified", and then wish to differentiate between the 'subjective' and 'objective' held beliefs. If so, then I can agree, and go to the next step of discussing the 'types' of justified beliefs.

Consul wrote:Now, to answer your question: YES, there are both objectively unjustified beliefs and subjectively unjustified beliefs. There are also subjectively unjustified beliefs, because a believer needn't be aware of any evidence or any (epistemic) reasons for his belief (which he regards as a subjective justification of it).
So here, my hopes are seemingly dashed. It appears you still believe "unjustified beliefs" are actually logically possible.

An "unjustified belief" is an oxymoron; it is a logical impossibility. -- For any biased 'attachment' towards a particular thought, implies that an 'attachment' exists. In other words, we can't have an 'attachment' towards a particular thought, if no 'attachment' exists, ...right? ...hopefully you see that this would form a logical contradiction.

'Justification' is the impetus that converts a whimsical (unattached) thought into a 'belief' (an attached thought). Without justification, the thought is just a whimsical thought, not a belief.

Consul wrote:Belief without any objective causes is impossible, but belief without any subjective reasons is possible.
1. A belief without either (or any) type of justification is impossible.

2. One may not be cognitively aware of 'why' they believe as they do at any particular moment, but they certainly 'feel' justified in their belief. If this 'justification' did not exist, then neither would the belief.

3. If there were no subjectively known or 'felt' reason, then there would be no reason for the belief; hence no belief.

4. Therefore, an "unjustified belief" is a logical impossibility. ...agreed?

Consul, again (and again) if you believe I'm wrong, then please give an example of an "unjustified belief".

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Tamminen » April 15th, 2019, 10:41 am

A paranoid person may strongly believe that his neigbor is planning to kill him. If someone says this is a justified belief, it surely is a very strange way of using the word 'justified'. Let us not use our own invented language games when we are discussing philosophical problems.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Consul » April 15th, 2019, 1:00 pm

RJG wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 8:41 am
An "unjustified belief" is an oxymoron; it is a logical impossibility. -- For any biased 'attachment' towards a particular thought, implies that an 'attachment' exists. In other words, we can't have an 'attachment' towards a particular thought, if no 'attachment' exists, ...right? ...hopefully you see that this would form a logical contradiction.
We're not talking about "attachment" to belief but about justification of belief!
RJG wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 8:41 am
'Justification' is the impetus that converts a whimsical (unattached) thought into a 'belief' (an attached thought). Without justification, the thought is just a whimsical thought, not a belief.
No, what makes the difference between merely entertaining the thought that p and holding the belief that p is affirmation, which is independent of justification. Belief without affirmation is impossible, but belief without justification is very well possible. There aren't any unaffirmed beliefs, but there are unjustified beliefs.
RJG wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 8:41 am
1. A belief without either (or any) type of justification is impossible.

2. One may not be cognitively aware of 'why' they believe as they do at any particular moment, but they certainly 'feel' justified in their belief. If this 'justification' did not exist, then neither would the belief.

3. If there were no subjectively known or 'felt' reason, then there would be no reason for the belief; hence no belief.

4. Therefore, an "unjustified belief" is a logical impossibility. ...agreed?
No! I don't know what "to feel justified" means if not "to think that one is justified" (or "to feel certain" perhaps); and there is no logical or conceptual connection between holding a belief and thinking that one is justified in holding it in the sense of thinking that one has good reasons or adequate evidence for it. Schizophrenic persons are often unable to present any (epistemic) reasons or evidence for their delusions. So a believer needn't always have a subjective justification for his belief (let alone an objective one).
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Consul » April 15th, 2019, 1:01 pm

Tamminen wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 10:41 am
A paranoid person may strongly believe that his neigbor is planning to kill him. If someone says this is a justified belief, it surely is a very strange way of using the word 'justified'. Let us not use our own invented language games when we are discussing philosophical problems.
Right.
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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » April 15th, 2019, 1:05 pm

Tamminen wrote:A paranoid person may strongly believe that his neighbor is planning to kill him.
And/or a 'NON-paranoid' person may also strongly believe that his neighbor is planning to kill him.

Tamminen wrote:If someone says this is a justified belief, it surely is a very strange way of using the word 'justified'.
Tam, you discredit your own words with YOUR very own "justified strong (self-righteous!) belief", of this person's paranoia. Your strong justified belief of his strong justified belief only DEFEATS the very words that you speak.

All beliefs are justified and considered as true in the eye of the believer. You (Tam and Consul) are no exception! --- YOUR eye only justifies YOUR belief, not someone else's belief! ...your justifications are no more justified and true, (or self-righteously hypocritically superior!) than anyone elses, ...and if you believe otherwise, then again, that is still only YOUR (true and justified) belief.

ALL beliefs are considered true and justified, otherwise it would not be called a "belief". ALL circles are considered round and ringlike, otherwise it would not be called a "circle". Therefore JTB ("justified true belief") is as non-sensically redundant as "round ringlike circles" and "unmarried single bachelors". JTB is not "(true) knowledge", JTB is only redundantly stated "belief".

Tammimen wrote:Let us not use our own invented language games when we are discussing philosophical problems.
Yes, let's not play these hypocritical games my friend. We should all practice what we (you) preach.

RJG wrote:An "unjustified belief" is an oxymoron; it is a logical impossibility. -- For any biased 'attachment' towards a particular thought, implies that an 'attachment' exists. In other words, we can't have an 'attachment' towards a particular thought, if no 'attachment' exists, ...right? ...hopefully you see that this would form a logical contradiction.
Consul wrote:We're not talking about "attachment" to belief but about justification of belief!
Can one 'hold' an un-held belief?
Can one 'hold' an un-"attached" belief?

Consul wrote:No, what makes the difference between merely entertaining the thought that p and holding the belief that p is affirmation, which is independent of justification. Belief without affirmation is impossible, but belief without justification is very well possible. There aren't any unaffirmed beliefs, but there are unjustified beliefs.
There is no 'holding' (biasing/attaching) in "affirmation". -- If one "holds a belief", then there is some "holding" (attaching/biasing) going on, ...agreed?

Consul wrote:So a believer needn't always have a subjective justification for his belief (let alone an objective one).
Without a subjective reason there would be no subjective reason to subjectively believe in ANY particular notion; hence no belief!

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Tamminen » April 15th, 2019, 3:33 pm

RJG wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 1:05 pm
Tam, you discredit your own words with YOUR very own "justified strong (self-righteous!) belief", of this person's paranoia. Your strong justified belief of his strong justified belief only DEFEATS the very words that you speak.
My belief in this fictitious person's paranoia is probably unjustified.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » April 15th, 2019, 5:27 pm

Tamminen wrote:My belief in this fictitious person's paranoia is probably unjustified.
Yep, when a belief is no longer justified, it is no longer a "belief". --- As is, when a circle is no longer round, it is no longer a "circle".

"Un-justified beliefs" (and "un-round circles") are therefore oxymorons (self contradicting; logical impossibilities).

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Tamminen » April 16th, 2019, 4:28 am

RJG wrote:
April 15th, 2019, 5:27 pm
"Un-justified beliefs" ... are therefore oxymorons (self contradicting; logical impossibilities).
Yes, but only when you use the word 'justified' in your own way. If we use it in the way it is normally used, there is no contradiction. You can of course use words in the way you like, but that does not improve philosophical discussion. I understand that you try to say something philosophically important with your peculiar way of using language, but perhaps you should explain it more clearly.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by RJG » April 16th, 2019, 7:16 am

Tamminen wrote:Yes, but only when you use the word 'justified' in your own way. If we use it in the way it is normally used, there is no contradiction. You can of course use words in the way you like, but that does not improve philosophical discussion. I understand that you try to say something philosophically important with your peculiar way of using language, but perhaps you should explain it more clearly.
Tam, my 'sound logic' only seems peculiar, because we have all grown comfortable with using 'bad logic' in our philosophical discussions. Many of us BLINDLY accept and vehemently defend the 'bad logic' of our past teachings (indoctrinations) as if it were somehow more rational than 'sound logic'.

"JTB" and "unjustifed beliefs" are examples of the non-sensical ('bad logic') indoctrinations that many of us automatically and blindly accept and defend 'irrationally', ...and which, of course, only seems "contradicting" and "peculiar" compared to 'sound logic'.

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Re: How does one find True Knowledge?

Post by Tamminen » April 16th, 2019, 8:15 am

RJG wrote:
April 16th, 2019, 7:16 am
Tamminen wrote:Yes, but only when you use the word 'justified' in your own way. If we use it in the way it is normally used, there is no contradiction. You can of course use words in the way you like, but that does not improve philosophical discussion. I understand that you try to say something philosophically important with your peculiar way of using language, but perhaps you should explain it more clearly.
Tam, my 'sound logic' only seems peculiar, because we have all grown comfortable with using 'bad logic' in our philosophical discussions. Many of us BLINDLY accept and vehemently defend the 'bad logic' of our past teachings (indoctrinations) as if it were somehow more rational than 'sound logic'.

"JTB" and "unjustifed beliefs" are examples of the non-sensical ('bad logic') indoctrinations that many of us automatically and blindly accept and defend 'irrationally', ...and which, of course, only seems "contradicting" and "peculiar" compared to 'sound logic'.
If I believe that my neigbor is planning to kill me, and if we seek justification for my belief, we are not seeking justification for the proposition "I believe my neighbor is planning to kill me", because that proposition is what we started from, but for the proposition "My neighbor is planning to kill me". Now if my neighbor is really planning to kill me, my belief may be justified or not depending on my having rational grounds for my belief. If my neighbor is not planning to kill me, my belief may still be justified if I have rational grounds for it. So belief, its justification and its truth are three different things. This is called epistemology.

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