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  1. 1. The Nature of Knowledge<br />Knowledge as justified true belief<br />
  2. 2. The definition of knowledge<br />Knowledge as justified true belief <br />3 elements<br />1. Truth<br />2. Belief<br />3. Justified<br />
  3. 3. Truth<br />The most obvious thing that distinguishes knowledge from belief is truth<br />If you know something, then what you claim to know must be true<br />If you believe it, then it may be true or false<br />This is why you cannot know that pigs have wings, or that Rome is the capital of France<br />Truth is independent of what anyone happens to believe is true, and believing something to be true doesn’t make it true<br />When we say something is true we usually mean it is ‘beyond reasonable doubt’<br />
  4. 4. Belief<br />Truth is an objective requirement for knowledge<br />Belief is the subjective requirement for it<br />Knowledge and belief can be thought of in terms of a continuum with unjustified beliefs at one end of the continuum, beliefs for which there is some evidence in the middle, and beliefs which are ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ at the other end<br />
  5. 5. Belief – knowledge continuum<br />-10 -5 0 +5 +10<br />Impossible Unlikely Possible Probable Certain<br /> BELIEF KNOWLEDGE <br />
  6. 6. 3 examples of various kinds of belief<br />A vague belief – I may vaguely believe that eating tomatoes helps to reduce the risk of heart disease, but have no idea where I came across this idea and readily abandon it in the light of counter-evidence<br />A well supported belief – I may believe that Smith killed Jones, and be able to give evidence for my belief, but still be unwilling to say that I know that this is the case<br />A belief that is beyond is reasonable doubt – I may find the evidence which supports the claim that the Americans landed on the moon in 1969 so convincing and the counter-evidence of conspiracy theorists so flimsy that I am willing to say that I know the Americans landed on the moon<br />
  7. 7. And the point is?<br />The important thing is to try to develop as reasonable and well-supported a set of beliefs as possible<br />Where on the belief knowledge continuum would you put the following propositions<br />P26 lagemaat - Read out and students to place a post it arrow on continuum - Discuss<br />
  8. 8. Justification<br />In order to be able to say that you know something you must be able to justify your belief<br />We usually justify our knowledge claims by appealing to one of the 4 ways of knowing<br />1. Someone told me (language)<br />2. I saw it (perception)<br />3. I worked it out (reason)<br />4. Its intuitively obvious (emotion)<br />However there is a difference between reliable justification and unreliable justification<br />Consider the following – Chewbacca defence<br />
  9. 9. Levels of Knowledge<br />There is more we can say about knowledge than simply that it is justified true belief.<br />For a start there are different levels of knowledge. You may have a basic grasp, a good understanding or a complete mastery over a subject.<br />
  10. 10. Knowledge and information<br />Drilling random facts into someone’s mind may be good for quiz shows but it does not lead to genuine understanding<br />Genuine knowledge of a subject is gained from an understanding of how different strands of information come together to form a meaningful whole<br />Using an analogy – Information is to knowledge as bricks are to a building. While you cannot have a building without bricks, a building is more than just a heap of bricks. In the same way – You cannot have knowledge without information but knowledge is more than just a heap of information<br />
  11. 11. Second-hand knowledge<br />Isaac Newton (1642-1727) once remarked ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’ – Discuss<br />Our ability to communicate with each other means we are able to pass on our beliefs and practices from one generation to the next in the form of culture<br />Second-hand knowledge is known as knowledge by authority and is acquired through <br />cultural tradition<br />School<br />Internet<br />Expert opinion<br />News media<br />
  12. 12. Cultural Tradition<br />The culture we grow up in has a strong influence on the way we see the world<br />We have a natural attachment to our own beliefs and practices<br />Letters from an Indian Judge to an English Gentlewoman – carry out activities<br />
  13. 13. School<br />Schools [play a key role in the transmission of knowledge<br />14,000 hours of school gives you not only mastery of subject areas but provides lessons for life<br />Education v Indoctrination<br />What is the difference between education and indoctrination – what problems arise as a result?<br />Discuss the following youtube clip <br /><br />
  14. 14. Internet<br />The internet provides information in a fast and accessible way<br />However…<br />Be careful of ‘urban legends’ <br />
  15. 15. Read and discuss Brecht’s Galileo<br />P42-44<br />Theory of knowledge <br />Richard van de Lagemaat<br />
  16. 16. Conclusion<br />Knowledge is defined as justified true belief<br />The difference between knowledge and belief is one of degree rather than kind<br />Knowledge consists of more than just jumbled isolated facts<br />Its various parts are related to one another in a systematic way – think of the way a text book is organised<br />Detail and context provides a deeper understanding of an area of knowledge<br />Knowledge comes to us second-hand on the authority of other people<br />Despite obvious benefits we need to be use our judgement in determining what or who to believe<br />
  17. 17. Belief<br />Where does belief end and knowledge begin?<br />Truth<br />Can we ever be certain of the truth?<br />Information<br />What is the difference between knowledge and information?<br />Linking Questions<br />The Nature of Knowledge<br />Context<br />Does knowledge depend on context?<br />Authority<br />To what extent should we accept knowledge by authority?<br />Justification<br />What distinguishes a good justification from a bad one?<br />