Life, or something like it (2)

2007-09-25

It's not easy to pick an order, but in the end it doesn't really matter I guess. That's why we'll be talking about the knowledge model (epistemology).I already mentioned it last time. The model I use starts at nothing. Nothing is certain, everything is unknown.In the course "foundations of knowledge" several models were explained. The model I constructed at the time was put down by somebody because I didn't have the answers to his, fair, objections there and then. I didn't have the time to think about the consequences of the theory, I have now. First I'll explain the theory, then the objection.The principle isn't very new. I don't think it should be considered a new theory, it actually isn't very special. It is how I see it right now though.Knowledge starts at the collection of a number of assumptions. These assumptions by themselves have no truth-value and their validity don't have to be defended. Anything concluded (deduced) from these assumptions should be considered knowledge. The epistemology (philosophy of knowledge) in this model therefore exists of assumptions and conclusions (implications).Conclusions are correct (under restriction of the assumptions) as long as logical deductive steps are made from the assumptions. This doesn't exclude paradoxes, but I've come to believe they are part of any theory, like it or not. Live with it.The objection then went as follows. With this definition of knowledge it appears as if anything is knowledge and truth has nothing to do with it. This is not the case. The conclusion itself is knowledge, independent of the truth-value of the assumptions. The knowledge can become useful when you encounter a situation where the assumptions are true (or false). This is in fact the model we use in every day life! We make assumptions and draw our conclusions. Sometimes it's very obvious, like in math, but other times it's far more subtle, like why your hand is touching your nose.It's actually pretty simple. Everything can be knowledge but it's the application of the knowledge where things go wrong.Next time we'll talk about... well... that's gonna be a surprise, for me as well :)