Posts tagged ‘knowledge’

September 8th, 2013

Q&A 33: Abductively Reasoned Religious Experience

by Max Andrews

Q&A GraphicQuestion:

Hi Max Andrews,
I’ve just discovered your articles at sententias.org. Well done! And thank you for the
time and thought you and Ms. Davis obviously took to create such quality!

May I ask for your help?

I noticed on the site that you favor abductive reasoning. I am new to this inferential method.
And I wondered if you had written your own abductively-reasoned account of coming to
know and trust God? 
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August 23rd, 2013

Unsolicited Advice to Serious University Students

by Max Andrews

I figured it was about time for me to distribute some unsolicited advice. I haven’t always been successful in my academic career so I may not be an authority here. However, that’s not to say that I haven’t done well either. I wanted to share my scholastic habits with those university students who want to take their education seriously. I cannot offer guarantees but it’s my hope that you do what works for you and practice the habits that will produce a successful academic career.

  1. Education is a joy. The greatest trick the schools have ever pulled on us is to make us think education is purely pragmatic. Education is merely to accomplish an end for financial gain or the requirements to get into a good sports team, etc. Those who have bought into this idea have fallen prey to anti-intellectualism.
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June 24th, 2013

The Greatest Trick the Schools Have Ever Pulled On Us

by Max Andrews

The greatest trick the schools have ever pulled on us is to make us think education is purely pragmatic. Education is merely to accomplish an end for financial gain or the requirements to get into a good sports team, etc. Those who have bought into this idea have fallen prey to anti-intellectualism.

The greatest joy of education is that it never ends.  There is an enlightening splendor in the discovery of knowledge.  A yearn that is never quenched.  When we think we are satisfied and we’ve learned enough we’ve only demonstrated our finitude.  The virtue of knowledge is completely underappreciated.  

February 15th, 2013

Is This a Possible World?

by Max Andrews

So, I gave a pop quiz to my class today because I asked them if they had any questions about any of the material we’ve been recently going over (logic) and no one had any questions. Because of their confidence I gave them a quiz, which resulted in very interesting answers. One of the questions was to describe some possible world. Simple enough, right? If they knew what a possible world was they could write something simple down like “there are pink elephants” or “my shirt is red instead of blue.” However, I got this very interesting one that made me think. Think about it and let me know how you would respond to this scenario. It assumes a lot about knowledge, minds, God, etc.

In a possible world there is no predictability. Nothing that happens once happens again a second time. There is no way to know what is going to happen but there is also no such thing as knowing because there is nobody to know anything since a being would require repeated processes to function and remain functioning.

January 4th, 2013

We Have a Moral Obligation to Follow the Evidence

by Max Andrews

evidence2I consider myself a moderate evidentialist when it comes to epistemology.  There is a sense of deontology to it in that one ought to base their beliefs corresponding to the evidence; however, there is a sense in which one may hold a belief without sufficient evidence and still be rational.  The source of truth is the objective prime reality and our knowledge should correspond to the truth of reality.  My epistemology yields my theology in the sense of scientific theology.  What I know about reality is what I know about God.[1]

Everything that we know is intuitive or experiential.  Intuition will be discussed later but the knowledge gained is from sensory apparatus’.  The characters read on paper are only the result of photons reflecting off of the paper and the photoreceptors in the eye receiving that information.  All knowledge cannot be deemed sensory only since it seems feasible that a person with a sensory handicap or no functioning sensory apparatus’ may still be justified in believing in his own existence by intuition (as well as moral truths).  The task of justification, or determining the truth of p, must meet the criteria of an inference to the best explanation (IBE).

Consider the following definition for justification:

            S is justified in believing p = S possesses sufficient evidence for p to be true.

October 18th, 2012

The Epistemology Directory

by Max Andrews
Below is a collection of all my blog posts specifically related to epistemology.
  1. My Evidentialist Epistemology
  2. Onto-Relationships and Epistemology
  3. Why Plantinga’s Warrant Cannot Circumvent the Gettier Problem
  4. A General Rule for Gettier Cases
  5. Empiricism and Being in the Right Phenomenological Frame of Mind
  6. Meet Philosopher Linda Zagzebski
  7. The Connection Between Phenomenology and Existentialism
  8. A Response to Alvin Plantinga’s “The Reformed Objection to Natural Theology”
  9. Alex Rosenberg on Whether Philosophy Emerges from Science
  10. Steven Wykstra’s “Toward a Sensible Evidentialism: ‘On the Notion of Needing Evidence.’”
  11. Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Epistemology
  12. New Paper: “Epistemological Scientific Realism and the Onto-Relationship of Inferentially Justified and Non-Inferentially Justified Beliefs”
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October 5th, 2012

Inferential Justification and Empiricism

by Max Andrews

In this post I’ll be responding to R.A. Fumerton’s “Inferential Justification and Empiricism” in The Journal of Philosophy 73/17 (1976).

In this paper Fumerton argues for the empiricist’s version of foundationalism.  He draws important distinctions between senses of how one may be inferentially justified.  His argument is matched against another argument, which proceeds from observations about what we do and do not infer.  His primary contention is that is that one can never have a noninfterentially justified belief in a physical-object proposition.  One must always justify one’s beliefs in propositions about the physical world by appealing to other beliefs or basic beliefs; a thesis I disagree with.

I will be faithful to knowledge being defined as a justified true belief.  The task that is of concern in this paper is to examine the coherence of inferential reasoning in a foundationalist’s system.  A problem with inference to the best explanation (IBE) is that it has the potential to create an infinite regress.  With inferential reasoning, in an attempt to justify a belief in proposition P there may be an appeal to another proposition (or set of propositions) E, and by either explicitly or implicitly appeal to a third proposition, that E confirms or makes P probable.  The challenge of inferential justification challenges one of two propositions:

October 2nd, 2012

Why Plantinga’s Warrant Cannot Circumvent the Gettier Problem

by Max Andrews

Alvin Plantinga’s notion of warrant (justification) is a form of externalism (reliablism).

[A] belief has warrant only if it is produced by cognitive faculties that are functioning properly in an appropriate environment. Plantinga’s notion of proper function, moreover, implies the existence of a design plan, and a belief’s having warrant requires that the segment of the design plan governing the production of the belief is aimed at truth. In addition, the design plan must be a good one in the sense that the objective probability of the belief’s being true (given that it’s produced in accordance with the design plan) must be high.

However, Plantinga does not avoid the Gettier problem. The Gettier problem challenges the notion that knowledge is a justified true belief. In short, the problem is about accidental knowledge ([K], if there is such a thing) and having a belief that is true while your reason for justification is false.

October 1st, 2012

A General Rule for Gettier Cases

by Max Andrews

The Gettier problem challenges the notion that knowledge is a justified true belief. In short, the problem is about accidental knowledge (if there is such a thing) and having a belief that is true while your reason for justification is false. For example, I leave my keys in my jacket pocket hanging over the back of the kitchen chair. While I’m away, my wife comes around and picks up my jacket to throw it in the wash. Noticing that my keys are in my jacket pocket she thinks I’ll probably be heading out to soon since I didn’t hang up my jacket and put my keys in their respective places. She then places my keys back in my jacket and my jacket back over the chair where they were before. When I return do I have knowledge that my keys are in my jacket? That’s the issue. Do I believe my keys are in my jacket? Yes. Is it true my keys are in my jacket? Yes. Am I justified in believing this? Well… probably not since the reason why the keys are actually there are not the reason why I believe they’re there. Thus, I have no justification for believing this even though I do believe it and it happens to be true.

May 9th, 2012

The Joy of Education

by Max Andrews

The greatest joy of education is that it never ends.  There is an enlightening splendor in the discovery of knowledge.  A yearn that is never quenched.  When we think we are satisfied and we’ve learned enough we’ve only demonstrated our finitude.  The virtue of knowledge is completely underappreciated.  The youth go to university to earn a degree for success or a high paying job without understanding that what they have attained is priceless.  The virtue of knowledge and the joy of discovery is widely ignored and set in the periphery.  Why is knowledge not delighted in for its own sake?