Monday, September 26, 2011

K > B

Here are two more cases that can be used to mount an argument against the thesis that knowledge requires belief. They are similar, but their differences may or may not be important:

The Pub Quiz
Tim has no recollection of facts of English history. On a pub quiz, the question is ‘When did James I die?” Tim answers 1625. The answer was correct. Tim had no confidence in his answer. The quiz master asks, How did you know that?

The Unconfident Examinee
Jill, a student, completely lacks confidence in her answers on the quiz. She takes herself to be guessing the answer, but reliably answers every question correctly. Did Jill know them without believing them?



Blogger Max W said...

A third situation to consider might be that of someone suffering from schizophrenia or general hallucinations. It seems at least somewhat plausible to me that someone suffering from schizophrenia might believe that a table is on fire because she trusts her senses (i.e. her vision), which tell her that the table is in fact on fire, but if she's been undergoing treatment, she may still know, and state, that the table is not in fact on fire, when asked by a doctor. I think cases like these are worth considering, although it seems likely that the schizophrenic doesn't actually believe the table is on fire once she comes to know that it isn't on fire, rather, she just temporarily senses/worries that it's on fire or she "half-believes" that it's on fire.

5:05 PM  

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