Hi, my name is Duncan Pritchard. I'm the professor of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.

I'm here to talk each day about field of Philosophy which is known as epistemology which is essentially the theory of knowledge. The lecture is going to break into three parts. In part one, I'm going to be talking about the basic constituents of knowledge. In part two, I'm going to be introducing you to a certain problem about offering a theory of knowledge which is called the Gettier Problem. And then in part three, I'm going to be introducing you to the problem of radical skepticism, which is the difficulty of demonstrating that we have as much knowledge as we take ourselves to have. Part one, The Basic Constituents of Knowledge. We live in an information age, and that means for most of us there you, right, information is readily accessible to at a click of a button. But having lots of access to information isn't much use, unless you can filter the good information from the bad information. And that's why knowledge is so important. And that's one reason why philosophers are very interested in trying to determine exactly what knowledge is. And that's what we're going to do in this section. In the very least, we're going to try and determine the basic constituents of knowledge. Now the word knowledge gets used in lots of different ways in ordinary language. here is some examples. That David knows that the kettle has boiled. Suilin knows where the secret compartment is. Alasdair knows why the house burned down. Matthew knows how to fly an aeroplane. Michela knows which route to take. Allan knows so and so from that TV show, and so on. So all this are different ways which we use the word knows. Now what we're going to do today, is we're going to

that something is the case. something is the case. That is. Or it could be false. In the. the latter case. But not all sentences are like that. And this is what's called Propositional Knowledge. Think of a sentence like. shut that door or yes please.focus in on a particular way in which we use. because it doesn't describe the world as being a certain way. is knowledge that something is the case. then you know that the cat is on the mat. A particular fundamental way in which we use the word knows. which is knowledge that something is the case. These sentences aren't. just to narrow down our discussion a little. A proposition is what is expressed by a declarative sentence. So. there isn't a cat on the mat. a sentence that declares that such. And if you have propositional knowledge of this proposition. we need to say a little bit about what a proposition is. the case of . That's a sentence that declares that the world is a certain way. consider the cat is on the mat. there is a cat on the mat. But a sentence like the cat's on the mat. a sentence like Shut that door is not the sort of thing that can be true or false. well. So. One way of getting a handle on what propositional knowledge involves is to contrast it to another kind of knowledge called know how or ability knowledge. is the knowledge that. they're not describing the world as being a certain way. So what we're interested in when we talk about propositional knowledge. And propositional knowledge is the kind of thing that can be true or false. In order to know what propositional knowledge is. that could be true. that there is a cat on a mat. They're not saying that. Knowing that Paris is the capital of France is a very different thing than knowing how to ride a bicycle.

The second basic constituent of knowledge that everybody agrees upon. and it's false otherwise.knowing how to ride a bicycle. Now. So. knowledge is connecting with the manifestation of ability or skill. but rather when you actually know it. then you must at least believe that proposition. then that proposition that the cat is in the mat must be true. So the claim is that if you know that the cat is sitting on the mat. is to can say you can't know a falsehood. That if you know a proposition. then the world must really be the way that proposition says it is. to say that proposition knowledge requires truth. is that if you know a proposition. the propositions can be true or false. The first of these is truth. It's very different from propositional knowledge. and often we do think we know a falsehood. Now. . because a epistemologist. There are two basic constituents of propositional knowledge that pretty much everyone agrees upon. So. A proposition like the cat is sitting on the mat is true if the cat really is sitting on the mat. So that's what we mean when we say that knowledge requires truth. But we're not really interested in when you think you know something. Now of course you may think you know of falsehood. like knowing that Paris is the capital of France. if you know that Paris is the capital of France. I don't merely believe that Paris is the capital of France. where your knowledge is connecting with a proposition. You know that a proposition is the case. then that proposition must be true. sometimes we explicitly contrast belief and knowledge. no true amount to go. then you must at least believe that Paris is the capital of France. And the suggestion seems to be there that knowledge is different from belief. That is. of course. And if you are to know that proposition. the proposition is describing the world is being in a certain way. So we might say something like. I know it.

you're counted as knowing what you had for breakfast this morning. for example. in addition to that. and compare that with the claim that it's likely or probable that human beings have been to the moon. but it is inconsistent with knowing a falsehood. presumably you know what you had for breakfast this morning. it's not as if the kind of thing one can possible be in error about. it doesn't require infallibility. But of course that's entirely compatible with the thought that knowledge at the very least requires belief. The second thing to note here is that when we talk about knowledge of a proposition. But in so far as you really didn't make a mistake. or that you must be absolutely certain. that one couldn't make mistakes about. So knowledge doesn't require certainty. In particular. So. The second claim is consistent with the. I know it. Notice that when we say that knowledge requires truth. So I don't just believe it. . the possibility that human beings haven't been to the moon. So. consider the claim that human beings have been to the moon. In particular. we mean just that. that's a separate thing. and you really do correctly remember what you had for breakfast this morning. all we mean by that is that you can't know a falsehood. then by any normal standard for knowledge. we don't mean knowledge that the proposition is likely or probable. The second claim is much weaker than the first. is that I don't merely believe it. but of course you might be in error about this.Because what we really mean when we say something like that. we're not suggestion that when you know you must be infallible. but I. So what we're signaling there is the idea that knowledge is something stronger than belief.

Is there more though to knowing than simply getting it right? Well. then we do know things without.Now. Alright. Actually I just know what I had for breakfast this morning. that I had such and such for breakfast this morning. why we say that someone knows that human beings have been to the moon. So if we're not completely sure about something. for example. . that's what we mean. Now of course sometimes it is relevant here to. if you don't have a true belief. without the qualification. So if we say that without qualification. then you're not in the market for knowledge. Because they're all kinds of ways that one can get it right. I think a moment's reflection reveals there must be. in so far as we apply a reasonable standard for what qualifies as knowledge. not the second claim. but where one wouldn't count as knowing. I have a true belief. It means that's what they know. requires true beliefs. That is. In fact. If you don't get it right. doesn't mean it is always appropriate to do that. but we know it in this hedge or qualified form. It's not that I know that it's likely or probable. So. to qualify them in some way. I know what I had for breakfast this morning. but that they know this is the case. in lots of cases. without the hedge. So knowledge requires truth and it requires belief. we mean the first claim. So we don't know the proposition simpliciter. then we might say that what it is we know is just simply that it's likely or probable. Not just they know that it's likely or probable. to hedge the things that we know. if we think there's some genuine reason to doubt. But that it's sometimes appropriate to do that. That means that knowledge requires getting it right.

But the second juror who sifts through the evidence and carefully weighs it out. Attending to the evidence. this person doesn't know. So they've just formed a snap judgement based on prejudice that the defendant is guilty. more than just getting it right. Unless suppose they believe that they get the defendants guilty. and forms a judgement that defendant is guilty. Listens to the directions of the judge and so forth. both jurors end up with the same judgement. So they both. juror who makes the decision simply on the basis of prejudice. But the first judge. So then you end up with a true belief. Now could well be that the defendant is guilty.So think of this kind of example. And of course they both get it right. with a different kind of juror who carefully attends to the evidence and thinks through the issues. Compare this juror who forms their belief about the guilt of the defendant simply through prejudice. coming to a correct judgement. They form their judgement that the defendant is guilty simply out of prejudice. It requires doing the same kinds of things that the second juror is doing. But clearly you wouldn't count as knowing that the defendant is guilty simply by forming a snap judgement on the basis of prejudice. listens to the testimony from both sides. let's say. it seems they do know. they got it right. but not because they been listening to the evidence. the second part of this lecture. Knowledge requires more than mere true belief. Let's say they haven't been paying attention to the evidence tool. So this raises an interesting question for epistemologists. But what is it in general that marks the difference and merely getting it right? And this is what we are going to talk about in the. imagine a juror in a criminal trial. thinking things through. There are two basic intuitions that govern .

So take the. . the effect is actually a root to falsehood. If you want to form false beliefs. which govern our thinking about what knowledge requires over and above their true belief. in so far as they've got a true belief. your. So this is the anti-luck intuition. over and above merely getting it right. And what this means is that when you know you're getting it right. So. the juror who has carefully sifted through the evidence and thought things through. The second fundamental intuition about knowing is sometimes called the Ability Intuition. it's just a matter of luck that their belief is true. that's not a root to truth. it seems it's not a matter of luck that their belief is true. think about the juror who forms their belief through prejudice. The first is sometimes called the Anti-Luck Intuition. So when you know your true belief is not merely a matter of luck. It's just lucky that they formed a belief through prejudice and this happened to be true. And this is the idea that when you know.our thinking about knowledge. your cognitive abilities. In contrast. that's a very good way of forming false beliefs. The way in which they form their belief is not generally a good way of getting to the truth. thought they. in so far as they've got a true belief. the Juror forms that belief through prejudice. And in particular. that's not a cognitive ability. Because they've formed their belief in a way which is a good route to the truth. Though they've got it right. Forming beliefs through prejudice. they've ended up with a true belief. that is your abilities which are relevant to the formation of true beliefs. your true belief isn't just a matter of luck. your knowing is down to you in some important way and the exercise of your. And so.

The first is the if you know then your true belief is a matter of luck. what is it for your true belief not to be a matter of luck. We saw that we're going to focus our attentions on a particular kind of knowledge. well. their cognitive success. In contrast. Then we saw that there are two basic . they count as knowing. Our prejudiced juror doesn't satisfy either of these intuitions. And that's why. So here are the conclusions to part one. in some significant way. Because they've got to the truth through their abilities. And I say they might end up being the same intuition. and that's at least part of the reason he doesn't know. that's a terrible way of forming true beliefs. The second is if you know. some would argue. And that's at least part of the reason why we think he does know. Their. Whereas our juror who thinks things through and attends the evidence. when it comes to the juror forms beliefs through prejudice. because you might think. but for it to not thereby be a matter of luck? But we've got these fundamental intuitions about knowing. and then they may be closely related actually.But if you want to form true beliefs. and their governing our thinking about what it takes over and above merely getting it right. then your true belief is down to your abilities in a certain way. if not for it to be down to your abilities? And what is it for your true belief to be down to your abilities. which is called propositional knowledge. Knowledge that a proposition is the case. And way it isn't. They may well end up being basically the same intuition. is down to them and their cognitive abilities in some important way. their true belief. So you got these two fundamental intuitions about knowing. the juror who carefully attends the evidence and thinks things through. he is satisfying his intuitions. they're using their cognitive abilities.

constituents of propositional knowledge that everyone agrees upon. The proposition in question must be true. It requires getting it right. What can getting it right have true beliefs in all kinds of ways that are aren't appropriate for knowledge. So knowledge requires true belief. what do we need to add to true belief in order to get knowledge? . when do you have propositional knowledge. And these are the. we saw that there's actually a lot more to knowing than to merely getting it right. And then finally. And so this raises the question. and you must believe that proposition.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful