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Evidentialism and Reformed Epistemology

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Jason Dulle

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« on: November 17, 2008, 06:09:14 pm »

WLC says the skeptic's ploy is to get you to buy into the notion that you must know how you know something before you can say you know it.  But isn’t this what knowledge is: justified true belief?  If we have no justification for our beliefs, how can we say it is knowledge?  

Is WLC only arguing that justification is not required for all beliefs to be counted as knowledge (e.g. properly basic beliefs)?  Or is he arguing that a belief’s being properly basic is itself our justification for thinking it to be knowledge?  If the latter, would the reasoning be that since a properly basic belief, because it is properly basic, cannot be questioned without employing the very knowledge that is in dispute, and this in itself constitutes our justification?


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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2008, 09:23:59 am »
Hi Jason.

Not all knowledge can be justified before accepting it. Take the reliability of the senses--the assumption that what you observe is, in fact, an accurate picture of reality.

How do you know that you're not simply dreaming that you're reading this post right now? Do you have any reason whatsoever to think so? You could be in a coma in the ICU after a terrible car wreck.

Yet, I don't think that very many people would subscribe to this belief. I'm sure there are some, more so after the release of the Matrix trilogy, but very few would feel satisfied with such an explanation of reality. Rather, they assume with no justification that what they are seeing is, in fact, real.

This is an example of a presupposition--what Craig calls a "properly basic belief".

Clearly, not all presuppositions would be true simply because they are unable to be justified. However, what is necessary is that all of a person's presuppositions "fit together" to make a single, logically consistent worldview. Logical consistency is the only standard of truth when it comes to ultimate truths such as the nature of reality or the existence of God.

This is the basis of presuppositional apologetics.
"Those who do not become dishonest or hostile are the most difficult to debate. Addressing others in a respectful and considerate manner conveys favorable impressions of their belief system. Providing rational answers to questions creates positive image of the person and their beliefs. Thank goodnes

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Jason Dulle

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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2008, 01:30:03 pm »

Skyler,

I would agree with virtually everything you said.  In fact, I discussed properly basic beliefs in my post as beliefs that do not require justification.  Properly basic beliefs cannot be evidentially justified.  We know them by intuition, such as the laws of logic and mathematics.  I did muse, however, that even these beliefs are justified--not by external evidence, but by the fact that their denial requires their employment.  One cannot deny the laws of logic, for example, without using the laws of logic to do so.  Because this is self-refuting, it is itself justification for these properly basic beliefs.

But that was not the point of my post.  What I was asking is why it should be thought a ploy to require justification for our knowledge claims before we can consider them knowledge, when justification is an essential element of knowledge: knowledge is justified, true belief?  It seems to me that the traditional account of knowledge demands that evidence be presented, at least for everything other than properly basic beliefs.


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Randy Everist

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« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2009, 11:56:01 am »
jasondulle wrote:

Skyler,

I would agree with virtually everything you said.  In fact, I discussed properly basic beliefs in my post as beliefs that do not require justification.  Properly basic beliefs cannot be evidentially justified.  We know them by intuition, such as the laws of logic and mathematics.  I did muse, however, that even these beliefs are justified--not by external evidence, but by the fact that their denial requires their employment.  One cannot deny the laws of logic, for example, without using the laws of logic to do so.  Because this is self-refuting, it is itself justification for these properly basic beliefs.

But that was not the point of my post.  What I was asking is why it should be thought a ploy to require justification for our knowledge claims before we can consider them knowledge, when justification is an essential element of knowledge: knowledge is justified, true belief?  It seems to me that the traditional account of knowledge demands that evidence be presented, at least for everything other than properly basic beliefs.

But even then the logic is self-referencing. For instance, even though the laws of logic are justified in the fact that we have to use them, we must use logic to show that is in fact true! And to show that is true we must use logic, and so on and so forth. There are some things that must be accepted as true without true justification, if only for pragmatic purposes (we cannot know any other way, and thus have no justification to believe that we must have justification for every belief!).

"Every great man was thought to be insane before he changed the world. Some never changed the world. They were just insane."

Check out my blog, "Possible Worlds," at http://www.randyeverist.com

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George Bell

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« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2010, 03:48:31 am »
RandyE wrote:
Quote from: jasondulle

Skyler,

I would agree with virtually everything you said.  In fact, I discussed properly basic beliefs in my post as beliefs that do not require justification.  Properly basic beliefs cannot be evidentially justified.  We know them by intuition, such as the laws of logic and mathematics.  I did muse, however, that even these beliefs are justified--not by external evidence, but by the fact that their denial requires their employment.  One cannot deny the laws of logic, for example, without using the laws of logic to do so.  Because this is self-refuting, it is itself justification for these properly basic beliefs.

But that was not the point of my post.  What I was asking is why it should be thought a ploy to require justification for our knowledge claims before we can consider them knowledge, when justification is an essential element of knowledge: knowledge is justified, true belief?  It seems to me that the traditional account of knowledge demands that evidence be presented, at least for everything other than properly basic beliefs.

But even then the logic is self-referencing. For instance, even though the laws of logic are justified in the fact that we have to use them, we must use logic to show that is in fact true! And to show that is true we must use logic, and so on and so forth. There are some things that must be accepted as true without true justification, if only for pragmatic purposes (we cannot know any other way, and thus have no justification to believe that we must have justification for every belief!).



I simply call this type of thing an assumption based on necessity.  It's necessary, otherwise literally nothing would make sense.  If we're all a brain in a vat somewhere, then so be it.  But until some kind of evidence for that comes into view, we have to assume - out of necessity - that what we're experiencing is, in fact, real.

I guess my question would be how the existence of God is properly basic in this sense?


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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2010, 07:47:40 pm »
When I step in fresh dog pile, I can begin knowing something is wrong before I actually know exactly what is the something wrong and on what foot.  It begins with the senses, such as a new addition to the sole of my shoe that affects my walk.  It could be sight that indicates something is protruding from my shoe.  It might be a faint smell.

Someone who has proven to be trustworthy might just tell me about it too.


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