Epistemology Philosophy Term Paper

Download this Term Paper in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Term Paper:

Nozick's Subjunctive Conditional Account Of Knowledge

Nozick in Philosophical Explanations (1981) posited nascent ideas regarding personal identity, free will, the nature of value and knowledge, as well as the meaning of life. Nozick is also noted for his epistemological system which posited a manner to deal with the 'Gettier problem' as well as those posed by scepticism. This argument has been considered highly influential purportedly eschewed contention or justification as a necessary and important requirement for the acquisition of knowledge (Schmidtz 210).

Subjunctive Conditional Account of Knowledge with Gettier-style Problems and Scepticism

Nozick established certain additional conditions for knowledge and suggests that each condition should be necessary so if there is a situation that fails to meet the criterion, an individual would be able to clearly ascertain that the condition is not a circumstance or subscribed to the notion of knowledge acquisition or knowledge itself. In addition, for Nozick the conditions for knowledge should be in and of themselves so that if all conditions are satisfied will be equated with knowledge (Nozick 172).

According to Nozick as cited in Schmidtz (2002), the "Four Conditions for S's knowing that P: (1) is true; (2) S. believes that P; (3) if it were the case that not P, S would not believe that P; and (4) if it were the case that P, S would believe that P" (Schmidtz 211). The third and fourth conditions put forth by Nozick are referred to as counterfactuals, meaning subjunctive conditional or an "if then" consideration to suggest that if that were the case then what follows would be determined true. He refers to his epistemological theoretical process as a "tracking theory of knowledge" (Schmidtz 211), arguing that the subjunctive conditionals elicit critical aspects of an individual's intuitive understanding of the concept of knowledge. As such, for any fact that is given, the individual's method has to reliably and consistently track the truth regardless of various conditions determined to be relevant; which has been considered to be closely aligned with reliabilisim or justified belief.

Further, in Nozick's theory as cited in DeRose (1995) he asserts that "if P. weren't the case and S. were to use M. To arrive at a belief whether or not P, then S. wouldn't believe via M. that P." Moreover, "if P. were the case and S. were to use M. To arrive at a belief whether or not P, then S. would believe, via M, that P" (DeRose 1). In this philosophical equation, M represents the method according to which S. arrives at a belief regarding P (whether or not).The subjunctive condition, accordingly, is considered unrelated to the condition determined to be causal. In situations where P. is the partial cause of an individual's beliefs, Nozick ascribes a causal necessity for the individual having the belief absent cause and as such the effect would not occur. For Nozick, in a situation such as this, the subjunctive condition would be satisfied although not considered equivalent to the causal one (Nozick 173).

Nozick considers the subjunctive condition to be both intuitive and powerful and difficult to satisfy. The power the subjunctive condition has, however, does not mitigate or rule in such a way that everything regarding knowledge cannot be questioned.

Scepticism suggests that an individual does not know what he thinks he knows which according to Nozick's estimation, leaves the individual more confused if not convinced. This assertion regarding scepticism, in Nozick's estimation undermines the concept of knowledge which would summarily make knowledge and the acquisition of knowledge virtually impossible. Nozick's offerings regarding subjunctive conditioning are posited to quiet the skeptics through connectivity and hypothesis that determine the possibility for knowledge to exist even in the light of the questions raised by skeptics. However, Nozick maintains that the hypothesis and the conditions to determine knowledge should be so in order that the questions raised by skeptics can be considered logical. What is known must be known in such a way that one can intelligently and convincingly squelch the possibilities raised by scepticism (Nozick 174).

Nozick posits a historical relationship between scepticism and knowledge that philosophy has attempted to contend with and primarily refute scepticism based on the notion that in arguing against knowledge, he refutes what scepticism suggests. Still others who consider knowledge and scepticism ascribe to the notion that scepticism is not reasonable as the skeptics' ideas are considered extreme and conclusions to be false (Nozick 188). Further, Nozick maintains that the sceptics' argument is bolstered by intellectual and theoretical attempts to refute what the sceptic puts forth. The sceptic is not to be taken lightly nor his arguments considered tobe without reason. Furthermore, those arguing on the side of the acquisition of knowledge and knowledge itself should not take for granted that sceptics' would be reckless and simply cavalier in the arguments in which they put forth. Moreover, the subjunctive condition determinedly excludes instances of the kind described by Gettier, according to Nozick.

Gettier in "Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?" posits an argument from a premise that the conditions outlined in the Four Conditions by Nozick and other theoretical formulas are false and insufficient to determine the truth of what is being argued (Gettier 121). His argument entails the following:

First in that sense of "justified" in which S's being justified in believing P. is a necessary condition of S's knowing that P, it is possible for a person to be justified in believing a proposition which is in fact false. Second, for any proposition P, if S. is justified in believing P. And P. entails Q. And S. deduces Q. from P. And accepts Q. As a result of this deduction, then S. is justified in believing

P (Gettier 232).

Forbes refers to Gettier's and those arguments like it as operating from a position of inference which operates from a false belief (Forbes 45). He further argues that Nozick recognized as Harman suggested the requirement of the "lemmas be true" as a means of excluding such beliefs from the concept and realm of knowledge could not be done. Both Harms and Forbes use the example of the vase in the box as a means of refuting what Nozick has posited regarding subjunctive conditioning. Forbes argues that because Nozick's only remark of the consequence the example shows is that it is "somewhat counterintuitive" (as cited in Forbes 45) is insufficient as an explanation to refute the probability of the scepticism put forth. In this situation, Forbes maintains that this case is not managed by theory being considered over intuition because the hologram produces a false belief that the vase is actually true resulting in the individual believing it to be real.

Further, Forbes argues that the case presented by Gettier demonstrates that 3 and 4 of the four conditions do not sufficiently supplement 1 and 2 in the acquisition of knowledge in general. The "transmission principle" as he refers to the four conditions, if correct, demonstrates that statements 3 and 4 are not required either as they fail to speak to kinds of knowledge. The relative notion of knowledge Nozick introduces through the use of method M, that the theory asserts an individuals' belief via M. somehow satisfies the conditions in 5 and 6, Forbes argues the inoperativeness of what has been suggested. He maintains that the 5th condition is one preferential to the 3rd because S. may know that P, in particular circumstances where an inactive failsafe mechanism is available generating the belief that P. In S, which could only be true if P. were determined to be false. However, Forbes insists that the kinds of mechanisms that would be necessary to make the aforementioned work out as Nozick originally suggested in the absence of the use of M. fails to mediate the 5th even if the 3rd is determined to be false (Forbes 46). Rather, he suggests that in order to make the statement correct with the right mechanisms in place, the correct situation would posit that'd really doesn't know

Forbes outlines an example to explain how this last statement is correct. In the scenario he puts forth, a man believes he is talking to his friend on the telephone, but an actress is actually imitating the friends' voice. The actress didn't get through to the man before the friend did, and even if the man isn't really talking to his friend, he believes it to be so. According to Nozick, the man doesn't know he is not talking to his friend, which Forbes maintains is true, as there is an alternative that is relevant as the man was unable to distinguish his friend from the actress. For Forbes, the arguments that Nozick offers in the utility of 5 and especially 6 are problematic and inconsistent and unnecessary for knowledge. He further argues that Nozick's theory leaves out the possibility that knowledge can result from opportunity and circumstances that present themselves as even the smallest change may actually impact the kind of knowledge an individual acquires.



Cite This Term Paper:

"Epistemology Philosophy" (2011, December 14) Retrieved October 23, 2016, from http://www.paperdue.com/essay/epistemology-philosophy-48511

"Epistemology Philosophy" 14 December 2011. Web.23 October. 2016. <http://www.paperdue.com/essay/epistemology-philosophy-48511>

"Epistemology Philosophy", 14 December 2011, Accessed.23 October. 2016, http://www.paperdue.com/essay/epistemology-philosophy-48511

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Philosophy of Education Create an

    It is important for students to understand that the world does not exist in isolation, but the skills we learn overlap in our journey into learning. Epistemology: Epistemology asks us to ponder the question: what is knowledge how does knowledge of one event or process impact other events, how do we know what we know? Within my educational philosophy, the concept of knowledge is, as it is in Bloom's hierarchy,

  • Epistemology and Philosophy of Socrates and Plato

    Epistemology and Philosophy of Socrates and Plato Epistemology is the theory of knowledge. It attempts to answer such questions as: How does one acquire one's knowledge? What is knowledge? What is possible for us to truly know? Epistemological inquiry also deals with skepticism regarding certain claims of the true nature of knowledge. Ontology is the science of being. Ontological inquiry attempts to answer the fundamental questions of existence, and thus is

  • Epistemology and Theory of Knowledge

    From an epistemological perspective the focus on reporting and analysis, control and management that were the initial design goals of these systems led to an overly-reliant mindset on historical data. As a result, a posteriori knowledge was deficient in the first decades of these systems being used. The need for explaining and analyzing the epistemological structure of these systems' transitions from being entirely a priori centric to seeking to integrate

  • Epistemology Immanuel Kant s Explanation on How We

    Epistemology Immanuel Kant's explanation on how we gain knowledge is preferable to that of David Hume. The mind can be compared with the computer in illustrating how the mind gathers and processes information or sense-data from generalizations, which in turn derive from a categorical imperative. A person need not experience something before he can apprehend or learn it. Exposition. David Hume believes that all ideas are derived and become knowable only from

  • Philosophy Empiricism Empiricism Does it Collapse Into

    Philosophy: Empiricism Empiricism: Does it Collapse into Idealism? What is Empiricism? It is important at first to identify the fact that "empiricism" may refer to a method -- for example, the "empirical method" of observing child behavior, or an "empirical study of cancer in rats" -- and it also may refer to the philosophy (or the theory) that embraces empiricism. That philosophy of empiricism, by one definition, "has its roots in dualist theories

  • Philosophy Final Soccio s Archetypes of Wisdom Gives

    Philosophy Final Soccio's Archetypes of Wisdom gives a relatively thorough survey of philosophy from ancient "wise men" like Socrates down to present-day university professors like Martha Nussbaum. It gives a sense of philosophy as not only applicable to serious questions in our daily life, but also. I think the three biggest areas in which I learned from Soccio's survey of philosophy relate to religion, utilitarianism, and something I would like to

  • Philosophy it Seemed Was One

    The central ideas about this knowledge may be categorized into four parts: knowledge, wisdom, belief, and opinion. Some are individualized -- some culturally based, some based solely on sensory perception, and some, from consideration. In its most practical state, "knowledge" may be information about which we are aware -- facts, figures, accepted truths, ways of doing things. Wisdom, in contrast, takes that knowledge and allows individuals to make judgments and

Read Full Term Paper
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved