Author Topic: Knowledge  (Read 121 times)

Offline Daniel

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Knowledge
« on: December 16, 2018, 12:55:31 PM »
First I will define my terms. When I say "knowledge" (in this post), what I mean is "100%-certain human knowledge".

Some people claim that knowledge doesn't exist. But most people claim that knowledge does exist. What I'd like to know is, (without presupposing the existence of knowledge,) can we know that the latter class is correct? If so, how?


I am aware of St. Augustine's fallor ergo sum argument:

1. I think that [cows eat grass] is true.
2. (1) Either I am mistaken or I am not mistaken.
3. If I am mistaken then I exist.
4. If I am not mistaken then I exist.
5. (2,3,4) Therefore, I exist.
6. (5) Therefore, I know that I exist.
7. (6) Therefore, knowledge exists.

Seems pretty solid. However, we can only say that we know that line 2 is true so long as we know that the law of excluded middle is true. And we can only know that lines 5, 6, and 7 are true if we already know that the logical art itself is reliable. So this doesn't solve the problem... it just pushes it back a level.

Obviously St. Augustine was presupposing that man somehow knows these first principles (perhaps innately or through divine illumination? I'm not too familiar with St. Augustine's epistemological views). But the answer I'm looking for is one which doesn't presuppose the existence of knowledge at all. So we can't appeal to any sort of epistemology, nor can we derive the answer through logic.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2018, 01:07:31 PM by Daniel »
 

Offline james03

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Re: Knowledge
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2018, 02:29:17 PM »
Quote
Seems pretty solid. However, we can only say that we know that line 2 is true so long as we know that the law of excluded middle is true. And we can only know that lines 5, 6, and 7 are true if we already know that the logical art itself is reliable. So this doesn't solve the problem... it just pushes it back a level.

Which is fine.  St. Augustine assumes that the reader has already dealt with your objections.  He's not trying to establish logic, he's trying to prove (and does) that knowledge exists.

If you decide contradictions exist, then sure, have a dispute with St. Augustine.

If you say St. Augustine pushes it back a level, then you are jumping the gun.  Your post is premature.
"But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God (Jn 3:18)."

"All sorrow leads to the foot of the Cross.  Weep for your sins."
 
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