Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Epistemology Final- Natalie Galbraith

Initial Question: Can knowledge be false?

To begin this unit we were all faced with the question “what is knowledge?” Initially i thought information is knowledge.  Then I started to wonder and came across my question.  If knowledge is information, and information can be false, can knowledge be false?  The reading I found helped the most with answering my question.  It was a paper about knowledge and assumptions highlighting the idea that the majority of our knowledge is based on assumptions.  It used the example of parking your car to help explain this better.  If you park your car in front of your house then go inside, you have the knowledge that your car is in front of your house, but what if the car is stolen while you’re inside?  You have a justifiable reason to believe your car is parked outside, but it is still false knowledge.

During my in class discussions I didn’t learn much more new information on my topic but I did gather a more solid understanding of what the paper had been addressing.  With Sydney we talked about the differences between true, true belief, and justified belief.  We agreed true is something you are seeing, justified belief is something you saw, and true belief we struggled to define but decided it is something you haven’t seen but still believe in.  Defining these ideas made me think about my topic more because they connected to each other.  Most of our knowledge is based on assumptions, but our assumptions are justified by other events or facts.  You may have the justified belief that your car is in front of your house because you parked it there, but unless you are looking at the car at that point in time you are just assuming no one has stolen it.

For my Phil’s day off i decided to keep it simple and ask some of the people around me a question I had.  I asked them if they thought knowledge was what they know or what they think they know.  I asked three people and they all agreed that knowledge is what you think you know.  All this helped me with was once again confirming that knowledge is based on assumptions and assumptions can be proven false at any time.

Conclusion: Knowledge can not only be false, but a large portion of the time it ends up being so because even if we have justified belief of something we never know if that information is true unless we are directly seeing it occur.


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