The Instigator
STMannew
Con (against)
Winning
1 Points
The Contender
lol101
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points

Is "justified true belief" a good definition for knowledge?

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
STMannew
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/25/2015 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 448 times Debate No: 78104
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (1)
Votes (1)

 

STMannew

Con

To say "justified true belief is good definition for knowledge" is a conflation of belief and knowledge, as all "belief" is believed to be true and as such its justification is implied in one way or another. However, not all knowledge is known to be true.
Therefore, "justified true belief" is a good definition for belief instead.
lol101

Pro

Let's take a gander at some definitions.

Belief: "a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true"

Knowledge: "awareness of something : the state of being aware of something"

True: "real or genuine"

Justify: "to provide a good reason for the actions of (someone)"

All "justified true beliefs" are indeed beliefs, but the hole in your claim is that not all beliefs are true and justified. Knowledge is still a belief, it's just true and justified. Knowledge has been supported with factual evidence to consider it knowledge itself. A belief is something that you think is true, and if you perceive knowledge as true information, then you obviously think that it's true.

For example, if I believe that a Bumblebee has some yellow, but I can't possibly be sure, then I would look up the color "yellow". Sure enough, I would find information that matches with what I perceived from the sight of the Bee. I used justification to make it a justified true belief. Even if you are absolutely sure that the knowledge you perceive is true, it's still what you believe; it's still what you think is true. Otherwise, you would consider it true, but also think it's false? That is a paradox right there. Knowledge is a belief that I have simply justified to make it true.

But when you say that justified true beliefs match the definition of "belief", it sadly points out the chink in your armour. You are assuming that all beliefs are true and justified, which is false. Some beliefs are not justified and have not been provided with proof to suggest that they're indeed real. If I say that a Bumblebee is 3 feet tall, I have no justification or proof suggesting that it may be true. I simply cannot find a record suggesting it's true, then it remains unjustified. In fact, there may only be evidence supporting that it's physically impossible for a Bumblebee to be 3 feet tall. How about believing that I am an alien? I have no proof supporting that, so it's unjustified. And since there is evidence that rejects my claim, (Pictures of me inside a womb, or pictures of my Mother in Earth while I'm in her womb) that makes it false, which is the opposite of true.

There you have it. Justified true belief is a good definition for knowledge, since I have proven that it's still a belief (something you think is true) and is justified by facts that you perceive. You then have good reasoning to believe it's true. Hence my Bumblebee example.

Sources:
1]http://i.word.com...
2]http://i.word.com...
3]http://i.word.com...
4]http://i.word.com...
Debate Round No. 1
STMannew

Con

Hello lol101,

Thanks for joining me in this debate. I plan to respond to each claim you made.

lol101 said: Belief: "a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true"

STMannew said: A justified true belief is belief too, so is a justified true belief just based on "a feeling" also?
If not, then "belief" isn"t based on "a feeling" either is it.

lol101 said: Knowledge: "awareness of something : the state of being aware of something"

STMannew said: I see nothing in your definition of "knowledge" that suggests that "knowledge" is true or justified, but just a "state of being aware of something" that may or may not be true.

lol101 said: True: "real or genuine"

Justify: "to provide a good reason for the actions of (someone)"

STMannew said: So, what reason do you have that suggests that "knowledge" is "true" or justified?

lol101 said: All "justified true beliefs" are indeed beliefs, but the hole in your claim is that not all beliefs are true and justified.

STMannew said: Strawman, as I haven"t suggested in any way that "all beliefs are true". But only that "justified true beliefs" are in fact beliefs.

lol101 said: Knowledge is still a belief, it's just true and justified.
Not all knowledge is a belief, because not all knowledge is "true and justified", as if all knowledge were true and justified, then

STMannew said: You have conceded, as if not "all knowledge is a belief" and "all justified true beliefs are indeed beliefs", then not all "knowledge" can be justified true belief. So, it is only beliefs that are justified in being called justified true beliefs.

lol101 said: Knowledge has been supported with factual evidence to consider it knowledge itself.

STMannew said: Not true, but "knowledge" as defined by you is just "awareness of something : the state of being aware of something".

lol101 said: A belief is something that you think is true, and if you perceive knowledge as true information, then you obviously think that it's true.

STMannew said: Actually if "a belief is something that" one believes "is true". And no-one can "perceive knowledge as true information"; rather we believe what we perceive to be true instead. Then we don"t and can"t "perceive" anything to be true, but we can only believe something to be true.

lol101 said: For example, if I believe that a Bumblebee has some yellow, but I can't possibly be sure, then I would look up the color "yellow". Sure enough, I would find information that matches with what I perceived from the sight of the Bee. I used justification to make it a justified true belief.

STMannew said: Actually if you "believe that a Bumblebee has some yellow", then you would already know what the color "yellow" is, so why would you need to "look up the color yellow"?

lol101 said: Even if you are absolutely sure that the knowledge you perceive is true, it's still what you believe; it's still what you think is true.

STMannew said: No-one can be "absolutely sure" what they perceive to be true, unless they believe what they perceive to be true first.

lol101 said: Otherwise, you would consider it true, but also think it's false? That is a paradox right there. Knowledge is a belief that I have simply justified to make it true.

STMannew said: Strawman, I said no such thing and you are conflating belief and knowledge.

lol101 said: But when you say that justified true beliefs match the definition of "belief", it sadly points out the chink in your armour.

STMannew said: But "justified true belief" is a belief, hence that is why it"s called "justified true belief" and not "justified true" knowledge. And something actually demoting what we call it isn"t a weakness at all.

lol101 said: You are assuming that all beliefs are true and justified, which is false. Some beliefs are not justified and have not been provided with proof to suggest that they're indeed real.

STMannew said: If all belief is believed to be true without exception, then all belief is justified in one way or another. If not, then please be so kind as to say which one of your beliefs you don"t believe to be true?

lol101 said: If I say that a Bumblebee is 3 feet tall, I have no justification or proof suggesting that it may be true. I simply cannot find a record suggesting it's true, then it remains unjustified.

STMannew said: If you "say that a Bumblebee is 3 feet tall" without "a record suggesting it's true", then that"s a lie.

lol101 said: In fact, there may only be evidence supporting that it's physically impossible for a Bumblebee to be 3 feet tall.

STMannew said: Semantics, as there is NO "evidence supporting that it's physically" possible for "a Bumblebee to be 3 feet tall".

lol101 said: How about believing that I am an alien? I have no proof supporting that, so it's unjustified. And since there is evidence that rejects my claim, (Pictures of me inside a womb, or pictures of my Mother in Earth while I'm in her womb) that makes it false, which is the opposite of true.

STMannew said: More semantics, actually there is just no evidence to support your claim, so you"re just conflating belief and unbelief, as neither of us believes you are an alien. Thus we have unbelief that you"re an alien instead.

lol101 said: There you have it. Justified true belief is a good definition for knowledge, since I have proven that it's still a belief (something you think is true) and is justified by facts that you perceive. You then have good reasoning to believe it's true. Hence my Bumblebee example.

STMannew said: But my argument is that justified true belief is a better definition for belief than knowledge. As you haven"t been able to demonstrate that belief isn"t sufficient to be a justified true belief, as all you have done is conflate belief and unbelief because no-one believes "a Bumblebee to be 3 feet tall" or you"re "an alien" to begin with. And you are also conflating believe and perceive, as "something" isn"t "justified by facts that you perceive", but "something" is "justified by facts that" one believes instead.

You conceded the argument when you admitted that a "justified true beliefs" are indeed beliefs," and because it is a belief and can still be true and justified. Therefore, justified true belief it is a better description belief rather than knowledge, as all belief is believed to be true and is justified in one way or another. But not all knowledge is believed true and thus justified.
lol101

Pro

lol101 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
STMannew

Con

For some illogical reason belief has been diminished to the point of a mirage, reduced in importance in informing us of the truth and reality to a mere phantasm. When in reality all belief is believed to be true without exception and no truth can be known without that truth being believed first.
When it comes to humanity, belief is the psychological part of humanity that informs us of reality. Without our own mental act of belief truth and reality is unknowable. There is no knowledge of the truth without belief, as all belief is believed to be true, but not all knowledge is known to be true.
lol101

Pro

lol101 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
STMannew

Con

STMannew forfeited this round.
lol101

Pro

lol101 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
STMannew

Con

Seeing as though lol101 has apparently forfeited, I will respond to the argument that GadZukes posed in the comment section.

GadZukes: "How we know what we know is the branch of philosophy called epistemology."

STMannew: "How we know what we know" isn"t a "branch of philosophy called epistemology". But the reason (how and why) we know the truth is because we believe it and not because of "epistemology" at all.

GadZukes: "Renee Descartes famously said that he thinks, therefore he exists (paraphrased). Later on in his life, he modified this that he knows he exists because he doubts (also paraphrased). Modern physics (Tyson) and neuroscience (Eagleman) shows us that we don't know a whole lot, no matter what."

STMannew: I know I exist because I believe the truth; that I exist.

GadZukes: "Nevertheless, we need to know something. We need to know how to survive, how to think, how to explore subjects, how to get employed, and the list goes on forever. Seems to me that we do this via consensus. If enough people believe something to be true, it is for practical applications true. Thus we have a consensus that the Earth is a globe, ergo nobody worries about falling off the edge."

STMannew: Nonsense, as if objective truth exists, then the truth isn"t known by "consensus". And the reason "nobody worries about falling off the edge" is because the Earth is spherical in shape and not because there is a consensus.

GadZukes: "From what I have observed, religions work like this too. Certain beliefs that make up a creed are accepted by members of the religion, with of course variations on themes. No two people seem to think exactly alike."

STMannew: Actually it"s impossible for two different people to "think exactly alike", but that doesn"t mean that different people can"t share the same belief and thus pursue the same moral standards in life.

GadZukes: "I frankly think it makes no difference, that moral compasses exist outside of metaphysics and that whatever happens after death will happen regardless of beliefs."

STMannew: It"s not what "happens after death" that the implication is felt from not having a moral compass. But it is the horrors that those who are without a moral compass inflict during life upon the earth because of a lack of morals that are the problem.

GadZukes: "But that's just me, and a consensus is not necessary to hold this belief. I hold a contrasting idea too, that what one believes during life could be what determines the form of whatever happens afterward. Why not? There's no way to test the hypothesis other than dying, and that makes it impossible to gain consensus among the living."

STMannew: Actually history is strewn with people who thought morals weren"t necessary and they caused the death of countless millions. Again, it"s not what these amoralists do after death that"s the problem, but it"s what they do during life that is so devastating.

GadZukes: "So practical knowledge is for this life; belief is for what might happen afterward."

STMannew: But your "practical knowledge" doesn"t and can"t sustain life, as people deprived of a moral compass promote the lack of morals and cause atrocities to occur.

GadZukes: "We also believe things in this life with which we have no direct experience, and that comes from trusting information sources. I believe Alaska exists and it has the highest mountain in the USA, but I've never been there, never looked upon the mountain. I believe that President Obama exists, even though I've never met the man. Trusting information sources is another form of having faith."

STMannew: Firstly, faith just means the truth one believes.

And if you didn"t believe Alaska has the highest mountain in the USA, then you would be ignorant of the highest mountain in the USA. And if you didn"t believe that President Obama exists, then you would be ignorant of whom the president of the USA is.
So, even though you had "no direct experience", but just because of your belief you were still able to know that Obama is president and Alaska has the highest mountain in the USA.

Wouldn"t that make belief a much more important and amazing faculty than our mere physical senses, and very much underestimated in regards to how and why we know the truth?
lol101

Pro

lol101 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by GadZukes 1 year ago
GadZukes
How we know what we know is the branch of philosophy called epistemology. Renee Descartes famously said that he thinks, therefore he exists (paraphrased). Later on in his life, he modified this that he knows he exists because he doubts (also paraphrased). Modern physics (Tyson) and neuroscience (Eagleman) shows us that we don't know a whole lot, no matter what.

Nevertheless, we need to know something. We need to know how to survive, how to think, how to explore subjects, how to get employed, and the list goes on forever. Seems to me that we do this via consensus. If enough people believe something to be true, it is for practical applications true. Thus we have a consensus that the Earth is a globe, ergo nobody worries about falling off the edge.

From what I have observed, religions work like this too. Certain beliefs that make up a creed are accepted by members of the religion, with of course variations on themes. No two people seem to think exactly alike. I frankly think it makes no difference, that moral compasses exist outside of metaphysics and that whatever happens after death will happen regardless of beliefs. But that's just me, and a consensus is not necessary to hold this belief. I hold a contrasting idea too, that what one believes during life could be what determines the form of whatever happens afterward. Why not? There's no way to test the hypothesis other than dying, and that makes it impossible to gain consensus among the living.

So practical knowledge is for this life; belief is for what might happen afterward.

We also believe things in this life with which we have no direct experience, and that comes from trusting information sources. I believe Alaska exists and it has the highest mountain in the USA, but I've never been there, never looked upon the mountain. I believe that President Obama exists, even though I've never met the man. Trusting information sources is another form of having faith.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Midnight1131 1 year ago
Midnight1131
STMannewlol101Tied
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Total points awarded:10 
Reasons for voting decision: FF