forum 10: week of March 19 - second order knowledge
A detailed question and a broader one.
A) You can see why someone might think that if they know that 63+12=75, they will know that they know it. For they can check all the steps of the calculation and conclude that it was correct. (I don't think this is right, but you can see how it is attractive.) So could we make a parallel argument that if someone knows something much more ordinary, like that there is a computer screen in front of them, then they will know that they know it?
B) The more interesting questions about second order knowledge do not concern whether you know that you know that P, but whether you can know which of your beliefs are knowledge, or know how much you know about a topic. ("I have a lot of opinions about religion, but how much of this is really knowledge, is unclear to me." People often say things like this.) How do these topics relate to the much dry-er ones discussed in the paper?
What is an example of knowing something without knowing that one knows it?Not noticing that one knows?(what do"fail to register"and fail to believe"really mean?).It seems to me that one can only know something first hand,exclusive of second order knowledge,imminantly,or instantaneously.If any perception is held even for a moment in memory,it is by definiton reflected upon,and thus known in the second sense of being a known known(shades of Rumsfeld:-)This would mean that there are really two meanings contained in the single term "know":One meaning is experiential and the other is held belief.It is, perhaps psychologizing,but nevertheless tempting to presume that since S knows something,at some level then she must know that she knows unconsciously.("lapse of attention"p.590)This might perhaps suggest a belief that is unacceptable,and,in being denied thus occludes access to second order knowledge.(How does ISD,or Internal Self Deception sound,or,borrowing from Heidegger's tortured prose,undisclosing?)This would be to argue that KK's failure would rest on deliberate,though perhaps reflexive and involuntary,deliberate unknowing,especially in consideration of the first sentence,"Knowledge involves belief."In the case of children and animals,we might also add that they are not at a stage or level of sufficient guile to tactically avoid and thus successfully undisclose unpleasant or undesirable realities.(as in I just can't face the fact that the zebras are really painted mules) Regarding section 5:it might seem that the collectivised helping-each-other-out communitarian example of Bob and Jack would solve things as in the case given,and that there would be a positive outcome. U:nfortunately,the reverse can also be true,that denial of inconvenient belief can also be collectivized leading to collectively reinforced,rational,yet monstrouly delusional prosecutions of policy internally held by sufficient numbers of individuals and based on 'proven'facts with disastrous results.I have a question about the term 'warrant,'Is it a foundational(ist) term?"Warrant for belief"seems to me to involve some sort of idea of permissability,a kind of etiquette for belief.Does this suggest then that there are some beliefs which cannot be allowed without a warrant,and what constitutes unwarranted?It means a permit,or a guarantee.By whom and by what authority?It has a whiff of dogma to it.
Robert asked about the term "warrant". Partly it's just a fancy word for "justfied". But there are three other ideas connected with it. (They're different, so I avoid the word.)
1) externalists started using the word "justified" with an externalist flavour. So if you get your belief in a way that is usually reliable, even if it is failing to give you a true belief in this case, they call it justified. Internalists said "To hell with this; we'll use our own word, and we won't let them take it away from us."
2) it's part of a fake solution to the existence of Gettier cases. Knowledge is not the same as justified true belief, so we declare that it is the same as true belief with warrant. That is, all warranted belief needs to become knowledge is truth. But then it is utterly unclear how we are to define warrant.
3) There might be something in someone's situation that makes it reasonable to hold a belief, even though it is not part of what would traditionally justify it, for example the fact that the person who told it to you is trustworthy. Then we call this part of your warrant for the belief. (This is inconsistent with 1) - you can't have both motives for using the term. See how it's confusing.)
Re: SECOND-ORDER KNOWLEDGE Christoph Kelp and Nikolaj J.L.L. Pedersen
Excerpts: Knowledge involves belief. Belief is a propositional attitude, i.e. an attitude that a subject holds towards a proposition
principle of knowledge transmission: (KTP) KSKRP → KSP
KTP has some prominent advocates—Hintikka (1962), to mention just one. However, even if we suppose that advocates of KTP are right in maintaining that the principle holds, it is important to avoid confusion about what the principle says. In particular, although it is natural to read KTP as saying that subject S knows that P by knowing that subject R does so, the specific warrant involved in R’s knowledge is not automatically transmitted to, or inherited by, S. This can be so even if S is fully aware of what the source of R’s knowledge—and warrant—is.
I like the reference to Hintikka.
Between Staley and Cobb; and, Kelp and Pederson, it appears possible to bring the internalist knowledge of beliefs that include theology, space, time, quantum mechanics, and multiverses; together, into the externalist scrutiny of justification in scientific enquiry, with the help of Hintikka's logic.
I just wanted to talk a bit about what we discussed today the kk principle- that you can know something because you know that someone knows that. A part of me wants to say that this can't be a case of knowledge because in order to KNOW something you must have reasons or evidence for it. But then again how can we personally experience everything and know everything only through personal experience. Obviously we gain much of our knowledge through testimony. So is S knows that R knows that P is not necessary a case in which S doesn't have evidence or proof. I think S can in fact have evidence without personal experience. The fact that S even says I KNOW that R KNOWS means that obviously R is a legitimate source and expert or has enough evidence for S to be certain or to KNOW that R does in fact know it. So although S himself doesn't have the evidence and or did not collect it personally if he is in fact saying that he KNOWS R KNOWS it it is because he KNOWS that R HAS THE EVIDENCE. If R was just saying something which S was not sure about or wasn't sure that R really knew it or had good enough reason to know it then S would never say I KNOW. I feel like just the wording makes this statement correct because we are not saying that S believes that R has some reasons to know P rather we are saying that S KNOWS (he is certain because R is a reliable source etc) that R KNOWS (he has facts and evidence and experience) that R. Therefore I do think that S can in fact know that R also. His evidence may not be PERSONAL experience but his evidence is the fact that he can in fact trust R as a legitimate and reliable source.
I agree that it is appealing to be able to use testimony gain knowledge. However, I think this forces us to ask other questions, such as how do we know that one's source of information is reliable? Can we assume that if they have been a reliable source of information in the past, that we can trust them to be a reliable source in this case as well? Or is it a matter of checking to see that they have evidence to support their testimony? I guess I'm a little sceptical of second-order knowledge, when I think about how confidently one can know something based on testimony, my instinct is that one needs to see the evidence that the other person has, which leads us back to first-order knowledge.
I think this question fundamentally rests on one's definition of knowledge. Most conceptions of knowledge involve truth and belief + some other factor. But what is it to believe in something? Must we be conscious of every belief, or are there areas (e.g. intuitions) which we do in fact make use of and believe in, but do not conscious reflect on or Take the example of the chicken-sexer that we discussion in 220. The chicken-sexer knows the gender of chicks. His ability to pick out chicks based on their gender is overwhelming and is not something that can randomly occur. Let's call the chicken-sexer Bob. Bob definitely knows that sex of the chicks. We know that Bob knows the sex of the chicken because of objective evidence such as the fact that his ability is more than mere chance. If we can say we know, then Bob should know of his ability as well. After all, he should know himself better than we do. But does Bob really know that he knows how to sex chickens? There seems to be something lacking altogether in granting that Bob knows. He has intuitions, ungathered thoughts. We can say he really knows?
I think the second question takes us down the thorny path of the ever-present issues with self-knowledge. First, how do we come about any knowledge about ourselves? Is it by the incorrigible, infallible methods of introspection advocated by Descartes, or by a more modern behaviorist account of observing our own actions using the same methods as we do for actions of others? This accounts for the externalist/internalist debate mentioned numerous times in the paper. Since there are so many ways in which our intuitions about our own skills and knowledge (like the fact that everyone thinks they are smarter AND a better driver than an average person) turn out to be erroneous, I'm sure that there are many cases of misattribution of beliefs or amount of knowledge actually possessed by an individual. Now the tl;dr bit: The Visual Cognition lab at UBC has recently published a paper on the ideomotor responses used in answering trivia questions with a Ouija board. First,the participants were asked to answer a few dozen questions like "Is the capital of Brazil Rio de Janeiro?" online. They also had to indicate whether they knew the answer, or were "just guessing". Some time later, they came into the lab and had to answer similar questions, this time using the Ouija board and blindfolded. Furthermore, at the start of the experiment, the subjects were told that there will be another participant using the Ouija planchette; this participant was actually a confederate, who took their hands off the planchette after the participant was blindfolded. Overall, there was a significant increase in the percentage of correct answers given using the Ouija board, especially for the "just guessing" questions. Part of the hypothesis proposed by the authors is that the reduced responsibility (since the participants thought there was another person involved) made them guess the right answers more readily! This is a perfect real-life example of how, many times, we don't really know what we know. There is so much information that we acquire every day in many ways, and only some of it is available for conscious retrieval. This already places our knowledge of our own knowledge (pardon the pun) under a big question mark. I apologize for the wall of text. The study I referred to can also be found here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1053810012000402
They didn't perhaps question whether people looked up the answers to questions of which they were unsure?
Ange, I asked the same question during the presentation! The experiment design somewhat ensured that this would be unlikely: there were 80 questions on the first presentation, and the participants did not receive feedback on whether or not their answers were correct. Out of those 80, only a subset of 8 questions was randomly selected for the next phase, "subject only to the constraint that for each participant, there was one question in each of the eight category combinations: 2 question polarities (correct answer is ―yes/―no) x 2 answer confidence levels (known / guessed) x 2 answer correctness levels (right/wrong))" So it's basically very unlikely, but I wouldn't be surprised if that did happen at least for some of the participants (the very curious ones ;))
How to know which beliefs are knowledge and how much on a topic one actually knows has got to be one of the great mysteries. It seems very much intertwined with Illusory Superiority--average drivers think they're above average (as Olsy mentioned) because people have an inability to notice their own flaws. If those who actually know anything also know they they don't know everything and therefore could be wrong, then they may keep quiet and let those of us who just like the sounds of our own voices make incorrect assumptions about our own depth of knowledge which leads the non-confident expert to accept the idea that their -actual knowledge- is not knowledge at all. Best said, I think, that R cannot know anything based solely on the internal warrant held by S.
I found the point about human infants and animals to be interesting because it seems that if those requirements for second order knowledge are pushed back and applied to people in the past, adults can't have it either, and then the question becomes where is the forefront of knowledge that allows for second order knowledge, and does one even exist at all.
I think the forefront that you are thinking of would be the development of meta-awareness which could be defined in different ways. According to Kelp and Pederson, children lack the ability to grasp the concept of knowledge (i.e. knowing about knowing) at a young age. Presumably this skill develops as the brain matures during early childhood. I'm no developmental psychologist but I'd guess that this skill begins to develop around age 3 or 4. I would say that adults (and children who have matured to the point of developing metacognition) can possess second-order knowledge while very young children cannot. I think the KK-principle needs some tweaking to get around this objection.
One thing I would like to talk about tomorrow if possible is the second-order knowledge that is derived from testimony. Kelp and Pederson seem to assume that the person who obtains the knowledge (the testifyee) can justify that knowledge internalistically, which I disagree with. Since the justification in such a second-order case would have to be the claim that the testifier is reliable (and the evidence why), a way in which this could be strictly internalistic evades me.
Like Andreea mentioned, second-order knowledge calls into questioning the source of the information itself. I also feel the reasoning behind any knowledge attribution can never fully be known, so high questioning and putting the KK principle under scrutiny. I feel it s the reasoning itself, tied with belief which governs the accuracy (and inaccuracy) of a knowledge claim, as it can steer both highly irrationalized claims such as thinking we're better drivers as Olsy mentioned, or rational assertions due to personal experience (although others experience of this knowledge will never be equivalent.) Interestingly, it is thought others account for our behaviour and our dispositions with our interactions or relationships with others are better predicted by our close acquaintances, compared to ourselves as they have a more accurate judgment on ourselves vs. our interpretation of our own experience. Another interesting account for self-knowledge is the behaviour of a 'memory', which becomes altered and changes every time we think of the memory again, skewing the accuracy and interpretation at any given moment, almost distorting the 'perfection' of the experience at the given time and place. This calls into question the relationship between what it means to remember and the level of self knowledge, or knowledge claims at any given point in time. (Hopefully this was relevant)
I am NOT convinced that we could make a "parallel" argument that if someone knows something much more ordinary, like that there is a computer screen in front of them, then they will know that they know it. Knowledge considered to be "ordinary" seems to have very little overlap, if any, with knowledge gained through science or experiments (i.e., in the "scientific setting"). Hence, we must treat the two domains of knowledge separately because second-order knowledge seems much more plausible in the ordinary setting than in the scientific setting. In other words, just because one claims to know something (i.e., first-order knowledge) in the scientific setting does NOT mean that the same person knows (for sure) that they know that scientific fact. If a scientist really possesses second-order knowledge in the scientific setting then it's a rare or unusual case. To go from first to second-order knowledge in the scientific setting requires "justification" in the sense of Staley and Cobb, which definitely does not seem like an easy task, at least at first glance. Whereas the requirements for "justification" in the ordinary setting seem to be much looser and far less strict. This is the barrier I see in making the "parallel" argument mentioned in Dr. Morton's first question.
All this talk of the importance of knowing that you know something seems to undermine the value of knowledge in itself. All this paper seem to do for me is shift the importance of "knowing something" to "knowing that you know something". This essentially makes knowing something meaningless unless you can claim that you know that you know it. I feel like there has to be a better way to describe the phenomenon discussed in this paper, I just can't seem to think of one.