Sunday, 1 January 2017

When does one 'know'?

Know not if I've put down this earlier or not, all the same wanted to get this off my chest.

Why is it that in most of our discussions, whenever we speak of 'knowledge' we assume it to be 'perfect knowledge'?  In our usual conversations, it is not so bad, but in philosophical discussions, this seems to be taken for granted: knowledge = certain and complete knowledge.

Last term we had one whole course discussing 'knowledge' as understood by Plato in his dialogue, Theatetus. Even here, the whole time we were working on the assumed principle of knowledge as 'right and complete knowledge'.  I understand that knowledge does include certainty but even mistaken knowledge is knowledge.  I may have some wrong information, even then I know.
Anyway, one thing that's dawning on me more and more: I'm beginning to question the very basic things of philosophy! 


  1. What do you mean? I may have some wrong information, even then I know. Then you have a wrong assumption not knowledge.

    Knowledge is supposed to be fact which implies that it is true. You may certainly have incomplete knowledge but unless the information were right, it would not be knowledge. Otherwise, any idiot would be the most knowledgeable person because of the wrong information s/he spouts.

  2. Sorry again, can you equate knowing with knowledge? Knowledge is a passive thing and in the past. Knowing is active and present. It seems like I can go through the processing of knowing something that turns out to be wrong. For example, a failed experiment. My knowing is true and the knowledge of what is not, is true. But I still wouldn't know what is and so can't say that I have that knowledge. And if I didn't know that I have wrong information, then I might have the experience of knowing but not the knowledge. We can't ever say that we know fully because it's not possible to verify everything.

    If you're beginning to question the basics, then you're beginning to learn what philosophy is! Not bad at all,eh?


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