Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Is Knowledge a Type of Belief?

When I was an undergraduate in philosophy, everyone knew that knowledge was a kind of belief. The only issue was what kind of belief (was it "justified, true belief" or something else. "S knows that p" entails "S believes that p", although not the other way around.

The interesting blog Experimental Philosophy has a result that suggests many people intuit otherwise. Apparently, people given a scenario about a corporate chairman causing damage to the environment are more likely to agree that the chairman "knew" harming the environment was wrong than that the chairman "believed" harming the environment was wrong.

Is this just a bias, like when we are told that Sandra is a strong feminist and are asked to evaluate which is more likely, "Sandra is a Christian" or "Sandra is a liberal Christian". People will say the latter is more likely, contrary to fundamental axioms of probability.

Or do people have a different conception of knowledge?

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