Knowledge does not exist outside a mind, not in books, articles, encyclopedias, etc.
Such works are filled with symbols for warranted thoughts, conceptions, and perceptions of presumed external events.
They are analogous to written notes on a sheet of "music." The notes, themselves, are not music.
When the symbols are played, music occurs.
When the symbols in a book are supported by evidence and "translated" into thought, knowledge occurs.
There can be no knowledge in the absence of a method including some or all of the following: observation, rational assumptions, e.g., a physical world beyond our perceptions, peer review, axioms, rules, laws, primitives, language of "numbers," logic, verifiable and/or falsifiable claims, predictability, recurrability, and more; See SCIENCE below.
All knowledge is based upon some assumption.
Knowledge is a warranted state of mind; i.e., it is supported by ONLY AVAILABLE evidence which accounts for its non-absoluteness, i.e, its being ONLY PROBABILISTIC in character to varying degrees.
A claim to knowledge may be warranted even though upon the discovery of more evidence, it turns out to be false.
Psychological CERTAINTY (that can "exist"), i.e., not of shadow of doubt that your claim to knowing something is true, must not be confused with evidential certainty which, according to available evidence, cannot "exist."
You know you left the scissors on the kitchen bar (later to find evidence you had not).
There are claims we know that are true or false.
There are claims we do not know whether they are true or false even if they may be.
There are claims that can't be known to be true or false.
There are claims that it makes no epistemic sense to say are true or false, i.e.; they are epistemic nonsense claims.
There is no knowledge without evidence.
According to available evidence, absolute knowledge does not exist because we can never have 100% evidence.
All knowledge is probable because evidence is open-ended (i.e., never all in).
There are, however, many loose uses of the term 'knowledge.'
See "Use of the Term 'Know'" below.
All knowledge is a (capital S) Subjective experience, but not all Subjective experience is knowledge.
A small s subjective experience is private, not accessible to the sense faculties.
Examples: the shell-shocked veteran who "sees," "hears," and talks to his "friend" whom no one else can see or hear; each person's concept of God, and attendant theistic "existents."
A (small o) objective experience is accessible to the sense faculties directly or indirectly (with the use of instrumentation); i.e., it is public.
Examples: Direct: trees, dogs, people, rocks, etc.
Indirect: television, movies, photographs, germs, molecules, atoms, etc.,--graphics, morphing, and faking excluded.
SO-CALLED SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE:
Perceptual, Conceptual, Absolute, Religious, Theistic, Mathematical, Common Sense, Intuition, Faith, Authority, Innate, Instinctive.
Extra sensory "perception," Precognition, Reincarnation, Clairvoyance, Telepathy.
OF THE TERM 'KNOW' (often with psychological
I know I am a person. (INNATE--BY DEFINITION)*
I know I think (Descartes): "I think, therefore I am." (INNATE, ALSO CIRCULAR)*
I know 1 + 1 = 2. (PRESCRIPTIVE, BY DEFINITION, ROTE LEARNING)
I know Lincoln was shot. (DOCUMENTARY)
I know there is a god. (CONDITIONED BLIND FAITH)*
I know there are atoms, electrons, quarks, etc. (INDIRECT AND/OR CONSTRUCTIVE, i.e., CONSTRUCTS)
I know: fill in the name of your best friend. (RECOGNITION)
I know the sky is blue. (SENSE THAT IS "COMMON" and NAME ATTRIBUTION)
I know there are other minds. (INFERENCE)
I know he is in pain. (INFERENCE--DEDUCTION FROM BEHAVIOR)
I know she/he loves me. INFERENCE--DEDUCTION FROM BEHAVIOR)
I know the encyclopedia is full of knowledge. ( BELIEF)
I know absolutely I saw my friend leave the room. (PSYCHOLOGICAL CERTAINTY and also a HIGH PROBABILISTIC DEGREE OF KNOWLEDGE.)
SOME FUNDAMENTAL ELEMENTS OF SCIENCE : TWO THEORIES OF TRUTH
Correspondence - Physical - Based on --- Induction -- A posteriori -- Synthetic -- By experience -- Descriptive
Uses declarative world experience (probable) experience can or appeal to of physical
statements (statements) conclusions cannot physical attributes
about the world propositions weak, strong now be empirical
that can be good, bad verified facts
verified or falsified directly or
Coherence ---World of --- Not based --- Deduction ------ A Priori ------Analytic -- By Definition -- Prescriptive
Arguments ideas on experience necessary before tautology
Hypothetico- conclusions: or in the cannot
deductive, mathematics, absence of be verified
if ---then, logic, laws experience
valid or invalid hypotheses
SCIENTISTS vs SCIENCE
An individual who will A complex of data, hypotheses,
Offer a theory, hypothesis, etc. rules, laws, observations, etc.
A finite being who can be wrong. (All of this is in the hopper)
Science is on going, "infinite
-- goes on "forever." It
cannot be "wrong." Only
elements within it can be wrong.
Science is self-corrective.
Science is the hopper (receptacle). When elements of science pass into the hopper, the elements of
science are almost certain, i.e., very highly probable true. The "certain" content and achievements of
science remain in the hopper.
\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ / / / / / / / / / l Theories, laws, etc. (a priori) l
\ /------------------- l These are the tools that lead to the l
\ Theories, etc. / l second aspects below. l
\ / 2______________\/___________________
\ Science /------------------------l Accomplishments, facts, predictive l
\-------- ---------/ l events, (perceptions), evidence, i.e., l
\ / l _facts of science.__________ l
\ / \/
\ / "Certain" according to
\/ available evidence.
Mistakes and discards
ts of Science
--- Physical --- Based on ---
Induction --- a posteriori --- synthetic --- By Experience ---
World Experience (Probable)
about the world
(propositions) weak, strong
--- Not based on --- Deduction --- a priori ---
By definition --- prescriptive
of ideas on experience
mathematics absence of
logic, laws experience
Offer a theory , hypothesis,
laws, observations, etc.
(All of this is in the hopper)
A finite being who can be
Science is on going, “infinite” – goes
On “forever.” Cannot be
Only elements within it can be wrong.
Science is self corrective.
is the hopper (receptacle) when elements of science pass into the
the elements of science are almost certain, i.e., very highly probable true.
The “certain” content and
of science remain in the hopper.
Theories, laws, etc. (a priori)
\ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ / / / / / /
l These are the tools
that lead to the l
/-----------------------l__second aspect below_______________l
\ ---------- ------------------ /-------------------------l
Accomplishments, facts, predictive l
l events, (perceptions), evidence, i.e., l
l facts of science.
The physical, mechanical, and/or electronic, etc., application of acquired scientific (and practical) knowledge to the technical and practical (training) purposes and needs of humankind.
VERIFICATION vs PROOF.
1. The coherence and consistency of statements to each other -- as in logic and math, i.e., no contradictions.
2. The NECESSARY conclusions are COMPELLED by valid reasoning from premises.
3. A process or operation that establishes the validity and/or soundness of arguments.
4. In induction, conclusions are always only probable and the "argument" is only good, bad, weak, or strong, i.e., from highly to barely probable.
The establishment of the truth and accuracy of falsifiable claims by an appeal to public, (i.e., accessible to the sense faculties) objective, factual, testable, recurrable evidence.
Non-falsifiable claims such as are posed in metaphysical, transcendent, supernatural, theistic, and truth-by-definition language are not subject to verifiability in any epistemic sense as related to the physical world.
Until some tool better than verification is discovered, it will have to do.
The USE of words does not guarantee that they are intelligible, e.g., "I predict God will strike me with a lightning bolt within the next 15 seconds."
This sentence is an instance of the fallacy of hypostatization.
To predict such an event, there must first BE the possibility to be predicted, otherwise, "I predict," is synonymous with, "I claim."
Being struck by lightening does not verify, "God did it."
Such a use of the term 'predict' in this claim has no more epistemic value than does the hypostatized term, 'God,' (or any abstract term) designating a non-physical, imperceptible entity.
No statement is a prediction merely because the term "predict" is used in it.
Some event that cannot be known will occur CANNOT BE predicted when there is an impossibility of any evidence for it.
Failure of the claim, called a "prediction," is not due to not having been stricken with the bolt of lightning but to the hypostatized "entity," an incorporeal, unknowable god, being INCAPABLE of doing anything.
With a spin on Aristotle who said all talk of beginnings and endings of the universe is unintelligible, likewise such uses of language, questions as the following, for which their answers would be unverifiable, are either unintelligible or call for hypothetical answers:
Who created the universe?
Why is there something instead of nothing?
When did the universe begin (i.e. some specific date)?
How many atoms are there in the universe at this moment?
What is there after life? (Pope John Paul II)
Where do our souls go after death?
Above all else, it must be understood that verification is not a principle founded on blind faith, a fact that so many thinkers, who equate it to "positivism," don't seem to understand.
It is a tool subject to peer, and evidential, correction.
It is important to emphasize that such concepts as: verification, falsity, truth, evidence, testing, and knowledge are probabilistic in nature because evidence, itself, is never ALL in -- according to available evidence.
To use these terms with a sense of absolutivity, except of course psychological certainty (some might argue even the latter is not certain), is to abuse language.
SEE FILE 21: PERENNIAL QUESTIONS