[lit-ideas] Re: Disimplicatures of "Know"

  • From: Donal McEvoy <donalmcevoyuk@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 12 Jan 2014 23:00:12 +0000 (GMT)

Only meaning to help out: but it seems to me that 'necessary' is the correct 
term here, not 'sufficient'. That is, in JTB-theory k cannot be "knowledge" 
unless (1) k is true (2) k is believed (3) k is justified. Here (1) (2) (3) are 
each necessary and none is therefore individually 'sufficient'.


Of course, this suggestion may be just my misunderstanding.

Donal




On Sunday, 12 January 2014, 12:47, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
 
I wrote:

JTB theory would seem to predict that, since knowledge is absent, at least one 
of its necessary conditions for knowledge must be missing here, but which one 
is it ? It doesn't seem to be either truth or belief or justification; most 
likely Tom simply hasn't got the relevant information, or forgot it.

Here 'necessary' should be replaced with 'sufficient.' JTB theory predicts that 
the statement 'Tom doesn't know that... etc' cannot be true if all 3 of its 
conditions are met.

O.K.



On Sunday, January 12, 2014 1:13 PM, Omar Kusturica <omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
 
Well, I suspect that the English verb 'know' is indeed polysemous. In fact, 
every language I 'know' other than English has a different verb for personal 
knowledge from that which is used for propositional knowledge. In Serbian, it 
is 'poznavati' vs. 'znati,' in Italian it is 'conoscere' vs. 'sapere' etc. But 
we are now discussing propositional knowledge so we will leave that aside.

The reason I brought up negative forms is that it seems to me that JTB theory 
has problems in accounting for these which are not apparent with the 
affirmative forms. Let us assume that Bill is a history scholar who doesn't 
believe that the Battle of Trafalgar took place in 1805; say that he has strong 
evidence suggesting that it took place in 1804, or in 1806. JTB theory seems to 
predict that, since one of its necessary conditions (belief) is absent, we 
should now be able and willing to say:

Bill doesn't know that the Battle of  Trafalgar took place in 1805.


But in fact, such usage seems odd and misleading in the context; much more 
likely I would say "Bill doesn't think that...etc"
Now let us assume that Tom is a high school student, and we say that:

Tom doesn't know that the Battle of  Trafalgar took place in 1805.


JTB theory would seem to predict that, since knowledge is absent, at least one 
of its necessary conditions for knowledge must be missing here, but which one 
is it ? It doesn't seem to be either truth or belief or justification; most 
likely Tom simply hasn't got the relevant information, or forgot it.

O.K.







On Sunday, January 12, 2014 12:18 PM, "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" <Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx> 
wrote:
 
In a message dated 1/11/2014 1:53:15 P.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx writes:
Denial of knowledge might also be an interesting  case for JL to play with. 
Let's see: I don't know that Stockholm is the capital 
 of Sweden; I don't 
know that the Battle of Trafalgar took place in 1805. Such  statements would 
seem odd, for if I didn't know that, how was I able to say it ?  First 
person present tense usage of negation of 'know that' is seemingly 
 problematic. 
Future tense too: Tomorrow I'll know that that the Battle of  Trafalgar took 
place in 1805. Can it be that I don't know it now ? But to take a  little 
more serious example, if I say: He doesn't know that the Battle of  Trafalgar 
took place in 1805; He doesn't know that force equals mass times  
acceleration. It might be awkward to explain in terms of JTB theory what is  
being 
denied here. Most likely I am not denying that it is true, and most likely  I 
am not talking about lack of justification. So, that leaves us with belief,  
but surely I am not saying that he was told  that the Battle of Trafalgar  
took place in 1805 and refused to believe it?

Well, there are a couple of  points that may merit separate
 treatment.

(i) I would think, as I did in  my post "Knowing that and Ignoring Whether" 
that 

'ignore whether'  

is more correct than

"don't know that".

(ii) Negation can  be a 'bother', as some might  say.

Strictly

~K

provided

K iff JTB

may apply  to each component.

And even further consider:

A: I'm being very  republican, you know.
B: You are!
A: But I trust the king of France  doesn't know that!
B: He doesn't. He does not exist.

Cfr.

B: I  trust the King of France ignores that.
B: He does. He does not  exist.

----

So, in an ascription of knowledge, the first item that  may fall under the 
scope of negation is the existence of the alleged  knower.

Harnish discusses cases like:

A: I did not know you were  pregnant.
B: You still don't.

In this case, Harnish notes, the  implicature is that A is NOT pregnant: 
i.e. the negation of a claim to knowledge  is understood as
 a negation to a 
claim to the truth of what is alleged to be  known.

----

(iii) first versus other persons. Omar is right that there seems to be an  
asymmetry, which should never amount to polysemy, though, about the  
first-person use of "I know" (or "I ignore" for that matter) and third and  
second 
person uses. Note incidentally, the ubiquitousness of "you know" in  
conversation, but the almost lack of "you don't know".

(iv) Re: (ii), it may be useful to be reminded that Grice once coined  what 
he called a square-bracket device to represent the immunity of  negation on 
context.

Thus, he does not know that p.

Or It is not the case that he
 knows that p.

may receive the treatment at least as follows:

K iff JTB

~K = ~[JT]B

-- in the context above, it is the BELIEF bit that is negated, not the  
'justification' nor the
 'truth'.

~K = ~[J]T[B]

-- in the context above, what is immune to negation is the justified  and 
belief bit. The truth is denied.

Finally:

~K = ~ J[TB]

-- in the context, which seems the most common, what is immune to negation  
is the truth and the belief part; and the negation applies to the 
justification  bit.

Grice calls the items inside the square-brackets as having attained -- for  
the purposes of the conversation -- what he calls a 'common ground  status'.

(iv) It may do to relate Omar's examples above to scientists. Popper seems  
to value (in "Sources of Ignorance and Knowledge") what Newton 
 ignored. 
Popper quotes from Ramsey to the effect that the heavens (or  skies) are so 
vast (a point also made by Geary) that what Newton ignored by far  exceeded 
what he KNEW. Popper is less clear as to what Eddington
 IGNORES  (after all, 
Popper's main point is that we are aware of what Newton ignored  because of 
Eddington's experiments). I submit that there was some bit of a  defence (or 
defense or even praise) of ignorance on Popper's part -- his  focus on 
'ignorance whether' rather than 'knowledge-that' (even, to use  McEvoy's and 
Popper's parlance, 'objective-knowledge-that).

(v) Grice discusses bits of this in terms of (a) 'neg-raising' (the  
implicature of "He knows that not-p" becoming "He doesn't know that p", and the 
 
prevalence of this in conversation, even in the first person) and (b)  
factiveness in the words of the Kiparskys (that he quotes): "He doesn't know  
that 
p", or "he doesn't realise that p" or "He he didn't discover
 that..." carry 
'factive' implicatures which should be treated on a case-by-case basis and 
in  terms of their embedded contexts.
 Grice's favourite was "regret" ("He 
didn't  regret his father's death", "He knew he regretted his father's dead", 
"He  believed he knew he regretted his father's dead"). Another 'discover': 
Captain  Cook didn't discover that p, because p wasn't the case. And so on.

(vi) Other. And Etc. Or not. 

Cheers,

Speranza



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