Hypothetical cases in epistemology DQ


Hypothetical cases in epistemology DQ

Hypothetical cases in epistemology DQ

Instructions: This second discussion focuses on some initial problems–you might call them ‘case studies’–in the theory of knowledge (epistemology). These cases all involve a hypothetical person named ‘Al’, who makes certain claims about what he knows about the world.

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First, submit an initial post by 11:00 p.m. on the 19th in which you consider each of the following scenarios involving Al’s beliefs. (You must post first before being able to access other posts.) You should provide an answer for each of the problems below (numbered 1-4), and provide an explanation for why you answered each case as you did.

Second, after submitting your initial post, read each of the other posts, and then choose and respond to at least two other students’ posts by the 21st by 11:00 p.m. Our goal is to begin to develop a general framework for understanding what knowledge is, why knowledge is philosophically problematic, and how we might go about finding a reliable means of differentiating between real knowledge as opposed to opinion.

Imagine a thirty-something year-old man named Al, who holds various beliefs about himself and the world, much as you and I probably do. Assume for the same of discussion that Al is completely convinced by these beliefs; he does not doubt them, and if you were to question him about these beliefs, he would question whether or not you had a firm grasp of reality.

Al believes the people who claim to be his parents are his parents. If prompted, Al will point to the fact that both of the people he identifies as “Mom” and “Dad” claim they are his parents; in addition, Al has what looks like a birth certificate indicating someone with his name was born to these people on a certain date in the past.
Does Al know these people are his parents? Why or why not?

You ask Al what he had for fourth period in grade ten of high school. He informs you, “Latin.” When you ask Al how he knows this is a true statement, he says, “because I can clearly remember taking the class then.”
Does Al know this to be true, or does he merely think he knows this? Explain.

Al states that the atomic weight of carbon is 90. He says he knows this because he is presently looking at a website that specifies this atomic weight under the heading “carbon.”
Does Al know this fact about carbon? Why or why not?

Al states that 1, 245 divided by 1,987.5 equals .626415. He knows this, he says, because he saw this answer in the back of his math book (assume the problem was a homework problem in a college math class).
Does Al know this to be true? Why or why not?

Al says that all triangles have three-sides. He claims to know this because he believes the definition of a triangle includes the idea of having three sides.


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