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The Value of Knowledge
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Slide1

The Value of KnowledgeSlide2

The Primary Value Problem

T

he Meno Problem: In Plato’s Meno Socrates ask the following question:

“Why is knowledge more valuable than mere true belief?”

T

he practical answer is that knowledge is of practical value, but mere true belief is not.

The failure of the practical answer is that a mere true belief, just like knowledge, can be useful.

Response: knowledge is always

more

useful than mere true belief.Slide3

Plato’s Solution to the Meno Problem

Plato’s solution: Knowledge is tethered, and mere true belief is not.

Knowledge gives one confidence, while mere true belief does not.

S’s knowledge of the way from A to B will ensure that A can carry through on the path. S’s mere true belief, by contrast, can be shaken by obstacles and challenges.

The notion of being tethered or tied down is key in the account. What is it for a belief to be

tethered

?Slide4

The Secondary Value Problem

Why is knowledge more valuable than any of the subsets of its parts.

Motivation:

Suppose K = JTB + X (where X solves G-Cases)

Since K implies J, J can be used to solve the primary value problem of how K is more valuable than TB (because of J).

However, there is still the question of why K is more valuable than JTB?Slide5

The Tertiary Value Problem

Why is knowledge distinctively valuable?

Motivation: The secondary problem can be solved by maintaining that knowledge is more valuable than any subset of its components that fall short of it by

degree

.

However, if one rejects the degree conception of how knowledge is more valuable than any of its sub components, one would be led to the issue of how to explain why knowledge is distinctively valuable.

If knowledge as a kind is different than its subcomponents, what explains the value difference in virtue of kind? Slide6

Constraints on Solutions and Strategies

A solution to any of the value problems needs to establish that

(a) knowledge is more valuable than true belief in some cases.

(b) knowledge is always more valuable than mere true belief.

Solve the primary value problem, and use it to solve the secondary and tertiary value problems.

Solve the tertiary value problem, and use it to solve the secondary and primary value problem.

Solve a value problem, but not all value problems.Slide7

The Primary Value Problem and Reliabilism

Reliabilism: S knows that P if and only if S belief that P is true and is an output of a properly functioning reliable process R.

The Primary Value Problem for Reliabilism: why is the product of the reliable process R, a true belief that P, more valuable than the product P?

Question: how does a process obtain value over and above the value of the products it produces? Slide8

Espresso Machines

Let E and E* both be espresso machines producing cups C and C* respectively.

Let E be a properly functioning reliable espresso machine, and let E* be an improperly functioning unreliable espresso machine.

Assume that both C and C* are judged by all expert espresso judges to both be excellent cups of coffee.

Is C more valuable than C*?

If C is more valuable than C*, why is C more valuable than C*?Slide9

Espresso Machines: The Argument

A reliable process or faculty is good only because of the good of its product.

Given that the value of the reliability of a source derives from the value of the product, the value of the product cannot derive additional value from the reliability of the source.

Hence, a reliable truth-producing faculty or process is good because truth is good. But if I acquire a true belief from a source, that does not make my belief better than it would be otherwise. A state of true belief resulting from a reliable process or faculty has no more value than mere true belief.

But knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief.

Therefore, knowledge cannot be true belief resulting from a reliable process or faculty. Slide10

The Generality of The Value Problem

Decomposition Thesis:

Knowledge is true belief with property X.

Greater Value of Knowledge Thesis:

Knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief.

Epistemic Value Monism:

Any epistemic value other than the truth of a belief derives from the good of truth.

The problem is often called, “The Swamping Problem,” since the argument aims to show that

truth

swamps

the value of any condition on knowledge that supposedly shows that knowledge is more valuable than true belief. Slide11

Responding to the Problem

One does not have to respond to the swamping problem by accepting the view that a reliable process is only of instrumental value with respect to the good it produces. In the case at hand the reliable process may have another kind of value over and above the instrumental value it has in producing true beliefs.

One could say that a reliable process has both

instrumental value

and

practical

benefits. The practical benefits are what account for the additional value over and above the instrumental value that is swamped by the products value. Slide12

Four Kinds of Value

The value of the truth of the belief.

The praxical, extrinsic value of true believing where the agent brings about the belief. This value derives from the value of truth.

The eudaemonist, intrinsic value of true believing when getting the truth is attributable to the agent as his own deed.

The extrinsic value of one’s intellectual performance, whether or not the performance leads to the truth, when that performance is such that it would produce the truth if properly installed in a suitable environment. Slide13

Organic Unity

The truth of a belief is valuable, perhaps intrinsically so.

Virtuous intellectual performances are extrinsically valuable (derived from the value of truth). This is a value performances can have whether or not they lead to the truth on a given occasion.

The organic unity of a true belief produced by a virtuous intellectual performance is better than the value of truth plus the value of the performance. That is why knowledge is better than mere true belief.

A set of parts form an

organic unity

when the sum of the parts is more valuable than the added value of each part alone.

Knowledge is valuable because it is a component of

eudaimonia

, a life that is ethically valuable. Slide14

Two Conceptions of Value

Non-Origin-Involving value:

X has non-origin based value when all of X’s value comes from its non-origin based properties.

Example

: Gold has non-origin involving value on the stock market. The place where the gold comes from is not part of how traders price Gold. A perfect copy of a piece of Gold made of Gold is just as valuable on the stock market.

Origin-Involving value:

X has origin-involving value when at least some of X’s value comes from its origin-based properties.

Example

:

A painting has origin-involving value on the art market. The fact that the Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo Da Vinci is part how the Mona Lisa gets its value. A perfect copy of it with a different origin does not have the same value. Slide15

Other Value Accounts

Independent Value Accounts

: We value the origin from which a product came not because of it’s instrumental value in producing the product, but because of an independently held value it has.

Fitting Attitudes Account:

Something is more valuable than another things because it is more worthy of positive evaluation.

Why is knowledge more worthy of positive evaluation than true belief?

Because certain attitudes are only fitting with knowledge and not mere true belief, consider love or respect.Slide16

Knowledge is not Valuable

Knowledge has primary value, but knowledge does not have secondary value – that is knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief, but it is not more valuable than justified true belief.

Question:

Is there a distinct mental state from knowledge and true belief that has a distinctive cognitive value?

Consider UnderstandingSlide17

Understanding

There is a kind of understanding, understanding-t, that is distinct from knowledge. Theorists attempt to give an account of how understanding-t is distinct from knowledge. So that they can address issues concerning value. Some ideas of how understanding-t is different from knowledge are the following:

Understanding can progress independently of truth.

Understanding is non-factive.

Understanding admits of degrees.

Understanding is consistent with epistemic luck.

Understanding requires coherence and grasping.

Understanding is only indirectly factive.

Understanding is transparent.Slide18

Understanding vs. Knowledge: Factivity

Knowledge is factive.

Understanding is non-factive.

So, understanding is distinct from knowledge.

Suppose your house burns down, and you are told that it burned down because it had faulty wiring. Further suppose that you have a relevant subset of beliefs that are coherent about how faulty wiring can cause a fire. However, further suppose that in fact, but unbeknownst to you, your house did not burn down because of faulty wiring. It burned down because of arson.

Given the situation: do you know that your house burned down because of faulty wiring?

Given the situation:

d

o you understand why your house burned down because of faulty wiring? Slide19

Understanding vs. Knowledge: luck I

Understanding is compatible with epistemic luck.

Knowledge is incompatible with epistemic luck.

So, understanding is distinct from knowledge.

Suppose that F.C. Barcelona has beaten Manchester United for the European Cup. Because of your interest in football, you turn to a reliable news reporting station around the time of the end of the game. The news anchor reports “ Barcelona has clinched the title, because of a penalty shoot out of 5-3.” In fact the reporter is correct, but he has only fabricated the story from his own hope that they won. He has no information as he did not read the report.

Given the situation: do you know that Barcelona won?

Given the situation: do you understand why Barcelona won?Slide20

Understanding vs. Knowledge: Luck II

Suppose that upon finding your house in flames, you approach someone who looks as if she is the fire officer in charge and you ask her what the reason for the fire is. She informs you that the reason why your house is aflame is because of faulty wiring, and that this coheres with your wider set of beliefs. But suppose now that the fire officer you asked is in the vicinity of various party-goers dressed in fire costumes just like the fire officer. You just as easily could have asked a

look-a-like

fire officer.

Given the situation: Do you know that the house burned down because of the faulty wiring?

Given the situation: Do you understand

why

the house burned down because of the faulty wiring?Slide21

Other Accounts of the Value of Knowledge

Practical Reasoning:

Knowledge is valuable because of the role it plays in practical reasoning (reasoning about what one should do). One should use a proposition p in their practical reasoning only if one knows that p.

Identification:

The concept of knowledge evolved because of the utility it has in enabling us to identify reliable informants. We should not look for the value of knowledge in conditions that are necessary and sufficient for it to obtain. Rather we should look for the value of knowledge through a genetic account of why it arose in the first place. What problem did the concept of knowledge evolve to solve, even if it doesn’t always work that way now?Slide22

Knowledge First

Knowledge is not a decomposable mental state. It is the most general factive mental state of which other factive mental states are particular kinds.

Just as crimson is a kind of red, where red is the more general kind, of which crimson is a species, perception is a kind of knowing. Knowing is the most general factive mental state of which perceiving is a species.

Knowledge is valuable because we value a match between mind and world.

Since knowledge is not decomposable, we need not explain why knowledge is more valuable than mere true belief, or more valuable than justified true belief.

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The Value of Knowledge - Description


The Primary Value Problem T he Meno Problem In Platos Meno Socrates ask the following question Why is knowledge more valuable than mere true belief T he practical answer is that knowledge is of practical value but mere true belief is not ID: 341089 Download Presentation

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