I’m hoping to make this post a little like my earlier one where I made a series of syllogisms. Hopefully this will let me create some sort of substantial definition of knowledge while explaining some of the obvious premises of it. Here goes.
(Premise 1.1) We think nothing but our thoughts – this should be self explanatory
(Premise 1.1) We can’t know anything we don’t think – hopefully this is also obvious
(Conclusion 1) We can only know things that we think
(Premise 2.1) A physical world exists – ie. the computer screen you’re reading this on is made up of real, physical matter.
(Premise 2.2) We perceive the world based upon what actually exists, and how our senses interpret this information – What else would there be to observe?
(Premise 2.3) Our senses are also composed of the physical world – factors in the physical world and the physical world alone influence how our senses sense
(Conclusion 2) How we sense (perceive) the world is entirely dictated by the physical world – note, we don’t necessarily interpret things this way, but you current sensory input is dictated by the physical world
(Premise 3.1) How we perceive the world (sensory input) influences thoughts – for example, if you see a clown, you will likely start thinking about clowns. Note that premise 3 is based upon conclusion 2
(Premise 3.2) Memory of previous thoughts (conscience experience) also influence thoughts – if you were chased by a madman dressed as a clown earlier in your life you will likely think bad thoughts when you think of clowns
(Premise 3.3) unconscious thought of previous experience also influences thought – if the clown that chased you had red hair, you might have an uneasy feeling about all red-haired people, but may not know why. This also explains ‘gut feelings’
(Premise 3.4) Nothing else influences a current thought – I may be wrong in this, but I really can’t think of anything else.
(Conclusion 3) A thought is influenced solely by experience (conscience and unconvinced) and sensory input
(Premise 4.1) At one point you had no previous experience to draw upon – unless you believe in previous lives, this should be obvious
(Conclusion 3, Premise 4.2) A thought is influenced solely by experience and sensory input
(Premise 4.3) Previous thoughts constitute entirely your (conscious and unconscious) experiences
(Conclusion 4)Sensory input completely influences thoughts – Note, this is basically John Locke’s idea
(Conclusion 1, Premise 5.1) We can only know things that we think.
(Conclusion 2, Premise 5.2) How we perceive the world is entirely influenced by the physical world
(Conclusion 4, Premise 5.3) Sensory input completely influences thoughts
(Conclusion 5) We can only know things that exist in the physical world.
Ta da! I have used (hopefully proper) logic based on what I see as true premises and have reached a solid conclusion about knowledge (take that philosophy). However, it is not an all encompassing conclusion, as just because we can only know things that exist in the physical world doesn’t mean that something that exists in the physical world is knowable, but for something to be knowable, it must actually exist. Someone could of course argue, “Well what about concepts, like 1+1=2?”. I would say that there indeed exists one object in the world, along with another object that when put together, form something that can be termed “two” objects, so indeed, 1+1 = 2 does exist in the real world and is therefore, knowable.
If anybody (*cough Stephen Downes cough*) would like to point out flaws in either the truth or validity of my arguments, or use the Socratic method to try to find a counter example I would appreciate it. Hopefully it will let me improve my own interpretation of epistemology and give me a new, better one. However, if you have any suggestions (other than telling me why I’m wrong :P) and care to share that would be great too!