[lit-ideas] Re: Can You Imagine 2 + 2 = 5?

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 16:36:31 -0800

Andreas wrote re My Last Sentence (an unpublished poem by Robert Browning)

But knowing something doesn't guarantee that it exists. Robert's last sentence should be (I'm guessing) "...certain that X is known, thus X exists." We can indeed be utterly certain (not merely imagining or guessing or illusioned or mistaken) about something, but it still won't exist.

What I had in mind and sorry for the confusion was that being certain that Ursula lives in Canada e.g. doesn't entail that she lives there; i.e., it doesn't entail that the proposition 'Ursula lives in Canada,' is true. In other words, x was standing in for a proposition.

Usually, for the most part, all things considered, given various obscure conditions, one know THAT so-and-so. And although Mike knows many wise things in this sense, he also knows HOW to do many things refrigerative that would astound and amaze us.

The from-Plato-on definition of 'knowledge' is something like 'true, justified belief (the 'justified' being added to rule out 'knowing' what time it is from looking at a clock that unbeknownst to the 'knower' has stopped for years.

I saw the knowledge/belief distinction used in real (i.e. nonphilosophical) life when in a film when a prosecutor asked a witness, 'Do you KNOW, Mr. Smith, or do you only BELIEVE?' All parties (well, it was a film after all), seemed to understand the distinction.

Robert Paul,
making it up as he goes along

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