There is a saying that I like: "even a stopped clock is right twice a day". Now this is usually used as a bit of a mean joke when someone gets something right when you might not expect them to. However, we can use this as an example of a 'Gettier Case' (I think it is probably my favourite one). As I alluded to at the end of the last post, Edmund Gettier was a philosopher who demolished the classical definition of knowledge (Justified true belief) with a concise paper consisting of a few examples where there is a belief that is true and justified but is quite clearly not knowledge. Why is this important? Well his observation, demonstrated through his examples, made it quite clear that we don’t really have a great way of describing why one thing would count as knowledge, and another thing would just count as fluke, or a lucky chain of events. This is an issue that can impact significantly on how confident we can be in some of the things that we ‘know’. Let’s delve a bit deeper.
Welcome to the second post in this series looking at epistemology. As I alluded to in the introductory post, I wanted to start by looking at the very definition of knowledge itself. Now this may seem like a bit of an odd starting point to some of you. Indeed, you may feel that you have a pretty clear idea of what we mean when we say the word knowledge. And it is probably this fact - this innate feeling of the term - that provides some of the fascinating thinking points. This is because, as we shall find out when we start to unpick the definitions that we have been using, we start to find problems with what we ‘feel’ is knowledge, and how we actually articulate that. Let’s explore!
Welcome to the start of a new blog series: How do we know? This is a series that I have been aiming to get started for some time now. The primary goal is to look deeper into the topic of epistemology; the domain of philosophy that explores what knowledge actually is, how we can best approach it, and some of the many challenges that this path imposes. It aims to describe my exploration of this field as I look into the different lines of enquiry that many great thinkers have taken to try and answer some of these hardest of questions:
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