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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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