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Can we be justified in our knowledge?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/4/2011 Category: Society
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,693 times Debate No: 15798
Debate Rounds (4)
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I ask that only those comfortable with philosophical terms engage in this debate. This is not a layman's debate; I intend it to be more philosophically (in the literal sense) oriented.

I read the comments, so if you find something awry about this topic, but think you might want to engage in it after some change, leave a comment and I'll see what I can do.

I am using a fairly standard definition of 'knowledge' in the philosophical sense. It is referred to as the Standard Account of Knowledge if you would like to Google it for a bit of background. According to this view, 'knowledge' has three components.
1) One must belief that one knows. (Belief)
2) The content must actually be true. (Truth)
3) One must be justified in his or her belief. (Justification)

Please use Round 1 to ask any questions that you might have or clarifications about the issue. I will address them in the beginning of my Round 2 response which will then be followed by my argument. Round 2 and 3 will simply be argument rounds. Round 4 shall be closing remarks.

For some assistance to direction, some avenues to explore might include (if you as my opponent would like to engage here) innate knowledge claims, tabula rasa type arguments, abstraction theories, determinism or indeterminism, reliability, sensory deprivation, functionalism, brain state theories, reductionism, and more. Famous players might help as well such as Locke, Hume, Descartes, Putnam, Fodor, and others. This is just a list to hopefully spark some of your thoughts.


I wish the best luck to my opponent; I would ask all voters to judge the material fairly and objectively. I hope this will be a fruitful discussion.

In order to comprehesively cover the content and efficiently clarify my opponent's position I will discuss, step by step, my understanding of knowledge and how it aligns with my opponent's propositions.

Knowledge is derived from the Latin noscere, meaning, "to come to know."

The Oxford Dictionary of Psychology (2009) defines knowledge as, "Anything that is known. The three major classes of knowledge are declarative knowledge (knowing that), procedural knowledge (knowing how), and acquaintanceship knowledge (knowing people, places, and things)"

Declarative knowledge is defined as, "Awareness and understanding of factual information about the world. Its necessary and sufficient conditions are that the information must be true, that the person must believe it to be true, and that the person must be in a position to know it." An example of declarative knowledge would be Prince Charles was born in 1948.

Procedural knowledge is defined as, "Information about how to carry out sequences of operations - sometimes lacking awareness or understanding of how to perform certain tasks." An example of this would be knowing how instinctually draw a perfect picture of someone but being unconscious of how you do it. This coincides with the old adage goes, "You know more than you think."

"1) One must belief that one knows. (Belief)
2) The content must actually be true. (Truth)
3) One must be justified in his or her belief. (Justification)"

My opponent's description of knowledge would suggest he is discussing Declaratve knowledge. I ask my opponent to please clarify if this is the case.

Epistemology is the body of philosophic study dealing with knowledge and its application.

Epistemology may branch to questions such as:
1) How ought we define knowledge?
2) How do we attain knowledge?
3) How might we confirm knowledge?

There are many potential avenues of this debate, ranging from the nature of tautology and axiomatic information to psychology and empirical relationships.

I ask my opponent to please clarify whether this debate will be focused on conceptual knowledge or empirical knowledge? Additionally, shall this debate be focused on personally justified knowledge or communal knowledge?

"1) One must belief that one knows. (Belief)
2) The content must actually be true. (Truth)
3) One must be justified in his or her belief. (Justification)"

Contra 1: As I have clarified in the definitions, this pertains only to declarative knowledge.

Contra 2: Barring transcended revelation (as depicted by Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologica or Plato's allegory of the cave) there is no way to be absolutely certain of what is objectively true. If this is true, we must yield to statistical certainty within our understanding of truth.

Contra 3: I assume this is the intended crux of the debate - whether or not empiricism ought be considered a justified method to attain knowledge (given the fact it makes unprovable assumptions about the nature of reality). Such axioms include the conservation of energy; that conditions are repeatable, etc.


I contend that we are justified in our scientific understanding of reality (within a statistical certainty). I take a utilitarian perspective on the matter and do not wish my opponent or audience to conflate justified knowledge with absolute knowledge. From my perspective, knowledge is best described as any mental content which effectively helps one predict trends and interpret conditions in one's environment.

Debate Round No. 1


Clarification Points:
1) For the sake of argument, we shall run with Declarative Knowledge. I should make clear, however, that the intent of the debate is not so much semantic understanding--though the distinctions made surely add a nice background to the matter--but rather whether or no a key component of knowledge (i.e. justification) can indeed be obtained.
2) To address my opponent's second requests, it should follow that what has been presented as possible dichotomies are in fact lesser forms of a greater component, namely knowledge in its most general form. I cede that I was unclear about the intended direction of the debate, and for that I apologize. With that in mind, I ask that the focus be maintained to address whether or not an individual has the capabilities to justify his own knowledge.
3) I do have a concern that I need to address that was brought up about the potential to conflate justified knowledge with absolute knowledge. Since this debate is about the justifiability of knowledge period, to say 'justified knowledge' or 'absolute knowledge' in this context are without meaning in the context of this debate as they both presuppose that a knowledge COULD in fact be justified.
4) Of the information provided, Contra 3 best presents a proper form to which the debate could proceed. It is indeed a component of knowledge attainment, however, there are of course other ways one could attain knowledge, supposing knowledge could in fact be obtained (because of the justifiability concern). Such methods might include appeals to reason, sometimes referred to as 'Armchair Philosophy', or a priori methods in general. I ask that my opponent encompass his response to the discourse to include both a priori and a posteriori methods of knowledge attainment into the set of arguable points.

The justifiability of something is directly related to the reliability of the method of attainment.

Reliability of Empirical Evidence:
It is certainly possible for one to argue that empirical evidence is a reliable method. Probably in general, when we think of what exactly empirical evidence aims to do, we would think that its purpose to allow predictions to be made. If something can be predicted, then it can naturally be exploited. For example, knowledge that the temperature fluctuates according to a standard allows farmers to exploit the seasons for crop production and it also allows them to know when they should plant certain crops so as to prevent loss. However, while it is certainly possible to imagine THAT one could know something like this--and as a side note this is lending to the reason why I was hesitant to specify that the knowledge I'm referring to is that of a declarative nature--this does not entail that it is possible to do this. Empirical evidence is certainly, for most practical purposes, an effective measure of prediction. However, we CANNOT be sure that the causation we have come to expect from our data is in fact a causation, and rather not some elaborate correlation or something of the like. The Humean (sic) idea of constant conjunction aims to explain why a person does indeed identify such patterns in reality, but it does not necessitate that there is in fact a causal relationship. It is this lack of causal relationship and/or the inability to know that the conjunction is in fact causal necessitates that the predictability of an event be based entirely on the CHANCE that the future shall follow the past's conjunctions. Considering then that there is indeed a chance that the outcome could break the pattern of conjunction (as there may not be a causation, but rather a correlation) one cannot properly be justified in knowing anything that might include or be included in a causal chain. Surely for the intents and purposes thus far, empiricism has proven well. However, there is no surety that empiricism WILL CONTINUE to prove as well. We can only assume and predict, based on the probability that empiricism has shown us thus far, that empiricism will continue to serve us well. However, in doing this, we necessarily use empiricism in our justification of empiricism and thus invoke fallacious circular logic.

Reliability of the Senses and Reason
While there is certainly an argument to be made that asserts reason is exempt from error as it is 'pure' in a sense, as Cartesian thought might maintain (cogito ergo sum no doubt asserts this), however, this is arguably false. Just as any sensory modality could be lacking efficacy and thus performing inadequately as compared to 'proper', so too can reason fall victim to this same detriment. Ailments of the mind can affect HOW a person reasons. Naturally, one might argue, however, that 'reason' itself is of a nature that can only be understood under appropriate conditions, which might necessitate proper working faculties. However, it is here that I appeal to skepticism. Suppose, for example, that the BIV scenario is true. In this case, any affective measure taken upon an individual would be affecting a something that doesn't actually exist. If the BIV scenario is true, then there is no world in which reason exists either, as the existence of reason would be only necessitated by the necessity to induce reason onto something. And as there is nothing that exists, there is similarly nothing that reason could apply to. At best, reason could exist as an empty set, but it would rendered moot if this were the case.



My opponent rightly expressed an err in my phrasing. I euphemistically used 'justified knowledge' to express the concept of contingently justified knowledge such as statistical information or any similarly tentative understandings – as opposed to absolute and unquestionable knowledge. In my argumentation I will demonstrate the validity of tentative justifications for knowledge.

Fundamentally, reality outside of the mind is not necessary, but I will post two varieties of arguments. One form shall be under the assumption that a physical world exists outside of the mind, and the other form shall be without that assumption (meaning mind is the only form of reality).

Assuming Physicalism
Simply said: a priori statements deal exclusively with tautological extrapolations (identity and postulations into unknown trends) while a posteriori deal exclusively with empirical fact (statistically verified physical relationships). While I contend that empirical knowledge justifiably aids in the prediction of trends and interpretation of conditions in one's environment, I belief a priori knowledge is a function of social coherency and a means to empirical understanding rather than justifiable knowledge itself. As visionary Howard Bloom illustrates in his interview with media icon T.J. Kirk (May 2010) and in his book Global Brain; diverging schools of ideology and conceptual language serve the whole of a society by promoting a diverse and comprehensive exploration of empirical potentialities. Just as ocular tissue and cochlear tissue differ in the stimuli they interpret (as they serve to aid a rounded understanding of the external world), likewise, diverse world-views or perceptual paradigms function to produce a rounded understanding for the whole of human consciousness. In this way, theoretical (a priori) deductions are a means to reach statistically confirmed empirical facts. I propose that a priori knowledge should therefore be considered a mode of procedural knowledge aimed at achieving declarative knowledge, as each individual is unwittingly a working component of the whole. If we are to take any position within a priori knowledge it should be that of intellectual reservation or epistemological pluralism (colloquially: agnosticism). The justification in this case is that you can never be wrong with any logically coherent a priori reasoning (and knowledge).

“[W]e CANNOT be sure that the causation we have come to expect from our data is in fact a causation.“

Empiricism in its purest form does not deal with causation and only necessarily comments on correlation. For example, when testing a drugs correlation with lower likelihoods of cancer, clinical trials will establish whether or not a statistically significant (95% confidence or higher) correlation exists between administering the drug and lower rates of cancer exist. When dealing with complex variables or matters of probability, it is important to note that empirical correlations are considered stochastic and not deterministic – I.E. Acute exposure to gamma radiation at specific levels will raise the probability of developing cancer later in life.

I have come under the impression that much of my opponent's argumentation is influenced by David Hume. Hume spoke of the uncertainty for how mental projections relate to objective reality (the supposed cause of the projections). I would argue that consideration for the nature – or so far as the existence – of objective reality is irrelevant to the conversation. Either physicalism is true (and an external reality causing mental projections exists) or subjective idealism is true (and projections are literally unadulterated true reality). How we care to gauge the experiences of reality is all that matters in terms of scientific reasoning.

Assuming Subjective Idealism

“[T]he inability to know that the conjunction is in fact causal necessitates that the predictability of an event be based entirely on the CHANCE that the future shall follow the past's conjunctions.”

This is to say if the reality we are currently experiencing is within the matrix (or some smiliar thought experiment such as Plato's cave or BIV), and every empirical fact from gravity to atomic mass is part of a code that may be altered from an external plane of reality. Scientific truth of today is tentative and the result of a best fit answer from the data available. If it were discovered that reality, as we currently experience it, is the matrix, our current empirical understanding wouldn't be invalidated – it would be understood that the rules of matrix are contingent upon another level of reality with an entirely different set of rules. In the same way that the classic but technically obsolete quantum theory of the 1950's is still used today to educate radiation safety technicians, older theories still have practical application from a utilitarian sense. If it is the intention of a cultural movement to train a suicide bomber completely apathetic to their own well-being, indoctrinating that individual into a believe system which displaces his motivation and drive to suit the needs of the cultural movement, than the conceptual knowledge implanted in the individual was successful in its intention. Language is instructional not descriptive, and in the same light, knowledge too would seem to be instructional.

“[W]e necessarily use empiricism in our justification of empiricism and thus invoke fallacious circular logic”

I disagree with this premise. Empiricism, as I mentioned in my previous submission is contingent upon several key assumptions (e.g. conditions are repeatable). Axioms are not arbitrarily determined and must be necessary to a concept's make-up to be considered true. There exists a consistency of some degree between moments of time; so much so that the words I write can be understood. The conceptual entity you identify as Molzahn persists between moments (even if shifting and changing slightly between). If moments of time lacked consistency, conceptual reality as a whole could not exist. If conceptual reality does not exist, than we cannot be experiencing this debate. Therefore, at the very least anyone reading this MUST be experiencing conceptual reality, and conceptual reality has rules it abides by (the laws of logic are an example). By this virtue, we can say at the very least that some knowledge is justified, QED.

The Truth
We all experience projections of our mind. We know certainly that these projections exist but without definite context of how these projections relate to one another. The only thing that is experienced is a dance of correlations between these projections. However temperamental these figments of mind may be, they still allow impressions that extend to other patterns. These correlations may be studied in order to transit between forms, and thereby to whatever degree, studying the flow of forms helps to predict what is to come more-so than not making predictions from the forms. Should we follow Humes example and say that the only difference between reality and fantasy is conviction? Even reality and fantasy coincide with each other. One may easily lose coherency of the fine line between the two and call all forms of fantasy part of reality. Even if this is true, this does not change the fact that the ideas exist compatibly with each other in a system of perceptual syllogism.

If we enter into the realm where logic does not apply, we are no longer dealing with conceptual reality (and that branches more into sensory existentialism).

The rules of language are an example of a level of reality under conceptual reality which bears rules and specific forms. Is it possible to experience a level of reality with no contingency to any axiomatic rules? Certainly. But within the level of reality that philosophical commentators discuss ideas, this kind of communication is contingent upon certain rules being true.

Debate Round No. 2


As a preliminary note to the voters, I greatly urge you NOT to take grammar or spelling errors into your consideration. Please address the only the issue as it was intended; an incorrectly used spelling does not make a statement's intent any less true. With this many words, my opponent and I are both bound to make them. With that being said, let's move on.

My opponent seems to hold a very heavy notion akin to Cartesian skepticism. In this model, my opponent maintains a version of cogito ergo sum in reference to the readers and those involved in this debate. However, Descartes was simply lacking in his derivations on this matter. I understand this is a loaded notion to some, but with delving, one can see that reason should be no exception to doubt. There are two notions to reason that stand to be engaged. The first notion, concerning the ability to reason, is a simple point. Descartes mentions the notion of clear and distinct perception which essentially contends one's ability to reason. As such, under the specifications of this idea, we must turn to the second notion of reason, that reason can be. In this realm, we must engage the idea of what exists. It appears my opponent systemically morphs this point by addressing notions of predictability, practicality, and contingency, but the matter stands that all of these things are in fact contingent on reason existing in the first place. The notion of predictability or practicality rests upon the presupposition that the reason or evidence to predict or to deem something practical exists. As my opponent forcefully drives the Cartesian point, I shall turn my attention to Descartes and his, for lack of a better word, laziness. Descartes was simply not skeptical enough. In the realm of possibilities, there exists a model in which nothing exists and Descartes' Grand Deceiver was in fact deceiving beings that didn't exist. To validate any one particular ontological claim, apart from its impossibility due to the scope of understanding, would be simply a matter of opinion. No amount of research or thought would allow a person or any number of persons to validate any ontological claim about skepticism due to the inherent nature of the problem to be addressed. While I hate to do this because it is almost a cruel move, I must invoke a rigidity claim here. No model can exist without certain rules or presuppositions don't exist in our actual world. This surely sounds like a digression, but bare with me. Suppose a claim of ethics is mentioned. In this claim, one argues that it is wrong to have people as slaves. In our world, this claim is true. Through rigidity, one cannot claim that a world where the past was different where we still had slaves now and that it was socially acceptable exists, because the rigidification of this claim would necessitate inheriting the notion of unacceptable slavery into this model, as the model was created out of a world where it was unacceptable. In this same step, claiming reason is inherent in a similar fashion as Descartes did is as much a fallacious step as the slavery model. There need not be inherent reason, nor need there be a world where reason exists. In this notion, there are one of two possibilities. Our world has reason, and no matter what model we come up with, inheritance will play its role. The other, is that our world does not have reason, and the models will inherit a lack thereof. So this should beg the question as to which is ours. Ah, but therein lies the beauty. As we cannot be sure, we cannot know. We cannot be justified in either claim. And if all knowledge should be contingent on one of these models being correct, but neither can be justified, you do not have a sound argument. If your argument is not sound, it is not complete. And if its not complete, well, we all know the consequence there. What this then tells us is that empirical evidence, predictions, probabilities, claims about reality, and anything else we might attempt to know, are all claims based on a system of beliefs that cannot be justified in the first place. Therefore, our knowledge in any form cannot be justified.


I am skeptical as to whether reason can be doubted. I ask my opponent to provide justification for the concept that reason can be doubted. As the audience will realize, any justification of my opponent's argumentation would result in a concession that ideas can be justified. Suppose for a moment that my opponent claims no justification is needed for a nil position: is this a known fact? How can we be certain that we are not being deceived by our own minds into believing that this is the case? If this is certainly the case, justified knowledge has been demonstrated. If this is not the case, my opponent's position (within the defined terms of the debate) represents only unsubstantiated conjecture.

The presence of linguistic comprehension is justification that logical syllogism is a necessary component of the reality you are currently experiencing. This truth may manifest in the mind as a potentially fallible conceptual objective. It is important to keep in mind that the finger pointing toward the moon is not the moon itself.

The problem with asking for justification outside of conceptual reasoning is that some forms of experienced reality may not be compatible with conceptual forms (provided those forms of overlapping reality exist). This is part of the inspiration for several philosophers to champion the axiom, "I feel therefore I am." Can I prove to you that you are thinking right or feeling right now? Of course not; it is part of privileged knowledge. You and only you will know in yourself whether you are thinking (experiencing cognition). If you are experiencing cognition, the words I draw here are not something in my head because you will experience me as a projection of your own mind, as a part of your own conscious workings. If the projection of me exists in your mind, some level of identity exists in your reality, therefore syllogism exists, and therefore logic must apply (if only to your identification of me).

Skepticism, itself, is an appeal to the idea that conceptual identities may abstractly reflect what is true and may not present an accurate or correct impression of how to interpret or predict elements of reality presently in play. One may spend an epic trying to defuse my explanation of skepticism and doubt, but this is all a matter of tautology and lexicography. Once we are able to agree on a language for how to communicate with one another (with the understanding that perfect communication may never exist), one must see that all application of identity is the result of subconscious reasoning and syllogism.

I feel it is necessary to follow through with a discussion about the psychology of belief and why certain individuals will be compelled to champion uncommon philosophies such as absurdism (I mean absurdism in the most literal sense and it is not my intention to imply any derogatory context behind that term).

1) It is my belief that if a concept is coherent with what you already hold to be true, it will be accepted by you as truth.
2) I believe world-views are the result of a mental balance of facts, as the mind seeks to paint a picture that allows for the highest amount of coherency between identified experiences.if your world-view falls in favour of a concept being true (such as the belief that all things should be the subject of doubt), when new information is experienced that significantly clashes with your wold-view, that information will be rejected.
3) When an idea populates your mind sufficiently enough, it alters your perception of reality (this is the function of propaganda and other brain-washing techniques).

As mentioned in the previous round, diverse attitudes and beliefs about reality lead to the enhanced performance and longevity of a functioning society. In the same way that different parts of your mind grind against each other to allow you to weigh the facts, so too individuals in a society contribute to the collective consciousness. It is healthy for a small percentage of individuals to hold unpopular and conflicting views as they catalyze introspect and critical analysis for proponents of the opposing perspectives (in the same way it is useful to have opposable thumbs).

Language (including conceptual language) is instructional. This is to say that it commands a function or a nature of an individual or a group. A Christian preaching the importance of penance is instructing listeners to engage in a particular mindset relative to a social niche. When a young woman negatively gossips about a fellow female, she is instructing her social circle to assess her combatant as someone of low social value. When a marketing company creates advertisements for a produce, they are instructing you to value (and in turn purchase) the product. There are some fairly interesting tricks in psychology that will literally instruct your subconscious mind to perform an action. In the same way that a magician can direct an audience's attention away from reality and convincing them of something that isn't real, so too can a skilled debater draw attention away from reality and make someone believe that an absurdism is true. I ask the audience only to be skeptical of the concepts I present and the concepts my opponent presents - let your own sense of reasoning lead you to the proper conclusion.
Debate Round No. 3


Apparently my argumentative points have been cast aside, so I will repost them so I can look at them again easier (read: sarcasm). DOUBT is the fundamental reason that justification cannot exist. The mere existence of doubt necessarily makes any predictions or probabilities; points my opponent continues to elaborate on but are irrelevant as he speaks of them in terms of practicality towards society, but this debate is not on practicality of knowledge, as no one would doubt nor question that for practical terms, we should assume knowledge is attainable. However, this debate is on whether or not one can actually be justified in his knowing. This point necessarily brings us to skepticism. As skepticism can show that the world we live in may or may not be real, so too may the laws that govern this apparent reality be real or not real. However, this is a question that CANNOT be answered, and no sane philosopher will argue this point. It is simply outside of the scope of our capabilities to answer ontological questions, thus they remain theories.

I shall restate the crux of my second argument (the dichotomy of reason with rigidification):
"[In the realm of possibilities, two exist. That] our world has reason, and no matter what model we come up with, inheritance will play its role. The other, is that our world does not have reason, and the models will inherit a lack thereof. So this should beg the question as to which is ours. Ah, but therein lies the beauty. As we cannot be sure, we cannot know. We cannot be justified in either claim."

Do not let my opponent's attempts to reformulate the argument fool you, the reader, as this debate is NOT about a practical knowledge. It is about the ability to actually be justified. And in this sense, by the argument above and in preceding rounds, I have shown, without doubt--something my opponent banks his entire argument on--that knowledge CANNOT be justified as there is simply no scenario that can be definitively determined to be true such that said scenario would justify knowledge. In this regard, one cannot be certain of which world we live in, a deceptive reality that reason exists, or the world in which it doesn't. As we cannot be certain of which, we cannot know. And as we cannot know, we can never be justified as a REQUIREMENT of justification is to be aware of which world model we actually live in so that we can be sure that our justification mechanism is in fact reliable. If our mechanism is not reliable, we cannot be justified. Our mechanism is our faculties, and as our faculties may or may not actually exist, they are certainly not reliable. While it may seem a strange thing to suggest that you, the reader, do not exist, it is entirely possible in the realm of logical possibility. Since an ontological claim could be made to represent such a view, and ontological claims of existence CANNOT be known, they can only be ASSUMED or SUPPOSED as true, then such a strange world is entirely possible. In this case, I direct your attention back up to my recap, as it ties back into this.

I would like to thank my opponent for his time and say that I greatly appreciate the debate that we have had. I ask the audience to be as fair as possible and be sure to understand the arguments that have been presented in their entirety before making your decisions. It is quite possible to think that you've understood either of our points, but in doing so you, as the voter, may have taken one of our terms in a non philosophical semantic, thus potentially taking our argument to mean something else entirely.


As I look back on the debate I wonder whether my opponent was attempting to create a bastardization of what justification is. In terms of propositional logic, we have set terms or premises that we validate an argument through. Premises can be either tautological in nature (e.g. males of a species are those which produce sperm) or empirical in nature (e.g. Hellium has an relative atomic mass of 4.0). Justifications are only necessary when extrapolating or interpolating new information.

Schools of thought, such as physical-chemistry, will pertain to a certain range of possibilities in terms of how to interpret data and thus inherently necessitate premises (such as the conservation of mass and energy). Those necessary concepts are called axioms. Each school of thought (paradigm) will have its own set of assumptions that it runs off of. Scientific paradigms are shifted whenever new information clashes with a premise (such as Newtonian physics in the advent of quantum physics). Ideological paradigms will reject new information if it clashes with the initial premise (such as Young-Earth creationism and fossil records). Each piece of knowledge is justified by being coherent with the axiomatic foundation of the worldview we are interpreting it through.

I suspect my opponent is suggesting we interpret the situation by using as few axioms as possible (and this was the result of his Humean inspiration). He has created a paradigm based on the premise that all other ideas are unreliable conjecture. Given this, we effectively eliminate the justification for seemingly all knowledge because it can no longer be verified axiomatically.

But that's exactly the problem, why should we accept this paradigm? What's the justification for it? It's an ideological paradigm serving no practical function. It gives us no meaningful instruction on how to engage elements of reality. I clarified from the beginning that I cannot produce a metaphysically absolute justification for knowledge that everyone is obligated to agree upon, only contingent justifications. I cannot prove to a dreaming man that he is experiencing reality in terms of logic and concepts - because perhaps he isn't. Perhaps our impressions of dreams are only crude syllogistic renderings of the woken mind. The point is that under a certain state of consciousness, you can make justifications contingent to that state of mind. Is there 100% certainty that events will unfold as you predict? No, but that has nothing to do with propositional justification. "Given these circumstances, should we expect X?"

I can show you that if you are reading these words that certain rules and justified extrapolations do apply, but I can't prove to you that this will always be the way of reality with metaphysical certainty, only relative and contingent certainty (statistical certainty in the case of empiricism). This has been my position from the beginning.

I wish to thank my opponent for this debate; I found this very enjoyable. Consider the points and vote according to your own sense of reason.
Debate Round No. 4
No comments have been posted on this debate.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Cliff.Stamp 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con needed to open with strict definitions for justified.
Vote Placed by briski 5 years ago
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Replace "convincing" in the argument category with "cohesive" because I don't think "convincing" is possible or relevant in this type of debate where the position held can have no bearing on behavior (consequence/utility). We still act as if belief is justified, regardless, and always. My personal belief was, and still is, with CON's position but his treatise was incomprehensible. Pro's was better, but both made me think - "I'm not a philosopher, I just play one on TV" to be honest.