An essay on Knowledge and Belief – John Corcoran

Cunoașterea sau ceea ce putem cunoaște este o temă de analiză importantă pentru filosofie 1 iar acest scurt eseu realizat de John Corcoran vine să prezinte în linii mari nivelurile de cunoaștere la care putem ajunge. Credința (în termeni de cunoaștere) este și ea o formă de cunoaștere.

Cuvinte cheie: knowledge, belief, propositional knowledge, objectual knowledge, operational knowledge, certain knowledge, cognition, credence, probable knowledge, moral certainty, scientific certainty, cognitivism, probabilism, skepticism, inferences, intuitions, lies of ignorance, lies of knowledge


This essay treats knowledge and belief , both in various sens es. The focus is on propositional knowledge (knowledge-that) but it also treats both objectual knowledge (knowledge of objects in the broadest sens e, or knowledge-of) and operational knowledge (abilities and skills, knowledge-how-to, or know -how). It begins with knowledge in a strict sense. In this sense, a given person knows that a given proposition is true only if the person’s judgment that it is true was the culmination of a cognitive process which includes understanding the proposition, gathering sufficient evidence based on personal experience of the facts the proposition is about, and bringing th at evidence to bear on the issue of whether the proposition is true. In th is sense, every proposition known to be true is true. Moreover, knowledge in this sense is personal; it represents a cognitive accomplishment by the knower, and there is no way to buy knowledge or even to impart it. A teacher can assist by directing student attention and encouraging students to become more autonomous by doing things for and by themselves. In this essay, belief that is knowledge in the strict sense is called certain knowledge or cognition. Other belief merits being called knowledge only to the extent that its acquisition approximates cognition, knowledge in the strict sense. Accordingly, propositional knowledge in the broadest sense spans a spectrum between two limiting cases; at one end we have cognition, which is rare outside of mathematics, and on the other end we have groundless belief, which is not [125] knowledge at all; it is called credence here. In this broad sense, knowledge includes cognition but excludes credence. Between the two extremes we have what is conveniently but awkwardly called probable knowledge . Somewhere along the spectrum of probable knowledge we have moral certainty , belief that is sufficiently grounded to serve as basis for responsible action and warranted assertion. A member of a jury should vote to acquit unless moral certainty has been achieved. Scientific certainty is an even higher level of warranted assertibility. We can have scientific certainty that smoking is deleterious to health

  1. Epistemologie