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 Class Forums - Summer 2013
 PHIL 100-101 - Introduction to Philosophy
 What's Consistency Got to Do With Knowledge?
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Tom Trelogan
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1418 Posts

Posted - May 27 2013 :  06:08:02 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Here's the place for us to talk about our first big question on line. Make sure, before you post, that you've read my lecture on Consistency and Knowledge. Also, remember that what we mean by "consistency" here is logical consistency.

Nina Campbell
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1 Posts

Posted - May 27 2013 :  10:19:17 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think that consistency and knowledge go hand in hand together simply because knowledge is truth to a particular group, and if it wasn't consistent, then how would anyone agree that it was truth and believe and follow that knowledge? We always say that two plus two is four, but if we sometimes found it to be three, that would make our knowledge inconsistent and therefore untrue because no one could believe that it was factual knowledge.

[Very lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]
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Tom Trelogan
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1418 Posts

Posted - May 28 2013 :  08:42:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
At one point here, Nina, you ask: "If it wasn't consistent, then how would anyone agree that it was truth and believe and follow that knowledge?" Is your question about how anyone could do these things if knowledge wasn't consistent? If so, then I'm puzzled, because I can't see how what you're talking about here could be logical consistency. Help me out.
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Tommy Gardiner
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3 Posts

Posted - May 28 2013 :  08:46:19 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Nina, I think that "knowledge is truth" is true from a personal perspective. Truth is such to an individual but I think it is difficult, at best, to say that there exists an infallible set of truths within any group. Among any group you will find differing ideas about truth and what truth even is. Take religion, for example. Within Christianity, Islam, and Judaism there are varying sects. Already there is a division among groups of people who believe differently when it comes to what the truth is. To delve deeper, if you were to walk into a Catholic church during mass on Sunday you would find many people who consider themselves to belong to the same group. That group is said to consist of followers of the same set of truths. A truth, in my mind, is something that one believes, or considers true in one's own mind. Even if one were to undergo a change in one's beliefs later on, at that particular point on the timeline of existence it would still have been a truth.

Even further still, if you look into the leaders of Catholicism (or any other religious group) you would find a smaller group of people who are considered to be well studied and to have some expertise concerning the truths belonging to their body of knowledge (and belief system). However, from bishop to bishop, just as from person to person in that mass, you will find varying opinions and beliefs as to what things are true. Each one will translate the messages from the sacred texts in different ways and will arrive at different ideas as to what the truth is. So, I think we have to establish firmer guidelines for knowledge, separate from truth, before we can arrive at any sort of cohesive idea about the ways in which consistency relates to knowledge.

[Very lightly edited to enhance readability -TT]

Edited by - Tommy Gardiner on May 28 2013 08:46:55 AM
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Spencer Wright
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1 Posts

Posted - Sep 13 2013 :  09:40:27 AM  Show Profile  Click to see Spencer Wright's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
Tommy, I know that you said we need to establish something more firm as a definition for knowledge but I would like to ask a clarifying question. It seems that what you are saying that when we find several of the same answer to the same question from many different groups then it is more likely to be true. Is this what you are saying? Also I would define knowledge as information on any topic that can be learned or taught that has a single solid and correct answer. For example I would say that things in the instance of opinion are not a knowledge or at least not the only knowledge on one topic, such as being able to cook yourself breakfast in the morning, but as Nina said before two plus two is equal to four. It is provable as the only correct answer and that is what makes it knowledge.

This takes me to a thought that I had not had before this discussion which is that a main definition of knowledge is the logical consistency of the knowledge. Do you agree?
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