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Why knowledge has intrinsic value?Why dow value knowledge for its own sake?

Why knowledge has intrinsic value? Why dow value knowledge for its own sake?

Not everyone thinks that knowledge has intrinsic value -- after all, many people purport to subscribe to the claim that ignorance is bliss. This was the position taken by Cypher in the movie The Matrix -- he thought he would have been better left in The Matrix, thinking that he was tasting a delicious steak, even though it was all just a fiction. Cypher's seems to be that knowledge lacks any intrinsic value.

But we can perform some thought experiments to check our own intuitions on the matter. Suppose some aliens kidnapped you, took you to their planet, performed some experiments on you, and then returned you to your bed. But before they did any of this they gave you some powerful drugs to keep from you any knowledge of the whole experience. In thinking about such a case, many people think they are worse off for not knowing what happened to them. This lack of knowledge seems bad, over and above the harm of the experiments themselves.

Or, if you've seen the movie The Truman Show, think about Truman and his predicament -- he's essentially the butt of a cosmic joke. Now the producers of the Truman Show are not quite as good as they should be, and so there are cracks in the facade that let Truman guess that things are not quite right. So suppose the producers were a little bit better and Truman really had no sense of what was going on. Everyone is treating him like he's the king of the world, and he's happy. Truman is deluded though -- he doesn't know the truth about his reality. In thinking about such a case, though, many people have the intuition that Truman is worse off for this lack of knowledge, even though he's happy. If you share this intuition, that would suggest that knowledge is valuable for its own sake and not because it facilitates something like happiness -- in this case, it might actually take away happiness.

Of course, this doesn't quite help to show why knowledge is intrinsic, but it should help to motivate the claim that it is.

There's an accessible treatment of some of these issues in Chapter 4 of Thomas Hurka's book, The Best Things in Life if you want to do some more reading on the topic.

Immanuel Kant remarked that the Jews lived in a culture that encouraged

Immanuel Kant remarked that the Jews lived in a culture that encouraged selfishness and dishonesty in business dealings. More recently it is generally accepted that gypsies produce a culture that centers on cheating gullible non gypsies into spending money on fortune telling while also engaging in other forms of cheating or theft. The latter assertion is generally regarded by both academics and the public as truthful but the claim made by Kant is regarded as anti-semitism. When we attribute anti-semitism to Kant is that because we know a priori that his remarks were in egregious error over facts or is it because the historical record shows that Jews were not a part of a culture of a kind that Kant imagines that culture to be? If he was wrong then could he be simply misinformed? Why should we believe what is said by supposedly reputable sources about gypsies if people have been so wrong about the Jews or conversely why should we be disposed to doubt Kant's claim since he may be simply conveying what was...

Everything you say about gypsies, including that word, is objectionable. Whatever is "generally accepted" about those people who are often called gypsies, is a stereotype that cannot be used as reliable information about the behavior of this group of people. Kant is similarly just wrong on Jews, he was employing a familiar stereotype of his time as you are about gypsies at our time. It reminds us that philosophers are just as likely as anyone else to fall foul of lazy forms of thought.

What is value of knowledge?

What is value of knowledge?

Knowledge may be valuable in itself i.e. for its own sake. When you ask "What is the value of knowledge?" you may be asking what else is it valuable for. There is hardly any human activity that is not aided by relevant knowledge. Medicine and technology are the result of applying scientific knowledge to a vast range of human needs.

Can we know for sure that the external world exists? I was wondering about it

Can we know for sure that the external world exists? I was wondering about it for a while, and yesterday I thought that it must. You see, when I drink alcohol, it is an empirically experienced factor that affects my mind. That would mean that my mind is connected to my body. And because I can observe, smell and taste alcohol, that would be a proof that my senses can be trusted, at least to a degree on which they operate. Is that a valid argument?

You asked, "Can we know for sure that the external world exists?" That will depend, of course, on what's required for such knowledge. Some philosophers have said that such knowledge requires a successful proof of the existence of the external world, but many other philosophers (especially in the last few decades) have said that no such proof is required. For those who think a proof is required, G.E. Moore famously (or infamously) offered one: see this link. If you investigate Moore's proof at that link and in other places on the web, I think you'll get a sense of how the proof you offered might be received by various philosophers.

Is knowledge based on memories?

Is knowledge based on memories?

Very interesting (if tantalizingly brief) question. There's reason to think that all human beings rely on their memories for any knowledge they possess. One might think I can know at least some facts about my present-tense experiences without relying on my memory, but what facts could those be? For example, if I'm to know that I have a headache (when I do have one), arguably I must know what counts as a headache, and isn't that something I once learned and now remember?

Descartes (1596-1650) was very sensitive to the role of memory in human knowledge. He famously argued that (a) only if you're aware of the existence of a benevolent God do you have sufficient reason to trust your memory, and that (b) without sufficient reason to trust your memory you know virtually nothing. Both (a) and (b), and Descartes's arguments for them, can of course be questioned. You'll find more at this link.

How do you know that you are sure that your parent are your parents?

How do you know that you are sure that your parent are your parents?

Your question asks about your knowledge of your own certainty: "How do you know that you are sure...?" That's a question about your knowledge of your own mind rather than about your knowledge of your parentage. So I think the best answer is "By introspection -- by looking inward -- and perhaps also by examining your own behavior for signs that you're unsure that the people you take to be your parents are in fact your parents."

If, instead, you meant to ask how you can be sure that the people you take to be your parents aren't impostors, then you might have to seek DNA evidence (in the case of biological parents) or adoption records and other documents (in the case of adoptive parents).

There's also a facetious answer: "Of course your parents are your parents -- that's a tautology!"

Is there any way we can be sure that reality is as we perceive it through our

Is there any way we can be sure that reality is as we perceive it through our senses, or that it is not an illusion that some third party imposes on us? I know that this subject was solved by Descartes, but I'd like to know is there any way of answering this question without an inate idea of God.

I have a question that relates to the french language. The word savoir (to know

I have a question that relates to the french language. The word savoir (to know something) is generally accepted as a verb that expresses a certain knowledge of something. Savoir is used more often than the word connaître (to know someone). Why is it that the word for knowledge (connaissance) is more related to connaître than savoir?

In philosophy there's supposed to be a "problem of other minds". But sometimes

In philosophy there's supposed to be a "problem of other minds". But sometimes our own minds are problems. Is it possible for others, say my friends and family, to know me "better" than I know myself? Might I have a sort of blind-spot where I'm (my self is) concerned that others are able to see more clearly?

It's a good question and the answer seems pretty plausibly to be yes. The impression that people have of themselves can often be off the mark, and that can be shown by how they actually behave. Someone who thinks he's generous might really be stingy, always finding excuses not to contribute his fair share. Someone who thinks she's not very smart might actually have a lot of insight, as those who know her can plainly see. And on it goes. We're complicated beings. There's no reason a priori to think that the part of our minds that tries to make sense of ourselves overall is likely to be especially good at it. No doubt there are some things about ourselves that we're in a better position than others to know, but when it comes to the larger patterns and dispositions that go into making us who we are, disinterested outsiders may well be in a better position than we are to get things right.

What part does emotion play in the acquisition of knowledge? Does the role of

What part does emotion play in the acquisition of knowledge? Does the role of emotion vary across the different areas of knowledge (Natural Science, Human Science, History, The arts, Ethics and Maths) ? Thanks a lot for responses

I think your question presupposes that "emotion" is a fairly simple phenomenon, whereas I suspect that it is extremely complex. But let's sidestep that concern and just try a simple case out.

Scientist A believes that he will very much impress his lover if he unlocks the secret to some phenomenon. Scientist B has no such motivation (and, let us suppose, no other motivator that makes him as eager as A's desire to impress his lover), but works on the same problem.

In this case, it looks to me as if scientist A's success (if he achieves it) will be partly explicable in terms of his emotional motivation, whereas that would not be the case for B. Indeed, it seems reasonable to think that A's emotional motivation might provide stronger motivation than we would find in B. On the other hand, we might worry that A's emotional motivation might also cloud his judgment somewhat, and make him more likely to make mistakes. But this much seems obvious, such an "extrinsic" motivator can certainly function in such a way as to make the acquisition of knowledge more likely.

As a kind of generality, I think it is fair to say that those who have enthusiasm (from the Greek enthusiasmos, which essentially means to be possessed by a divine spirit) are more driven to the discoveries and acquisitions of knowledge than those who are not enthusiastic about their pursuits. I see no reason why this would differ across different disciplines. An excited and enthusiastic mathematician will not necessarily be smarter than a bored one, but I would expect the enthusiastic one to be more likely to advance knowledge. The same, I expect, would be true of historians, scientists, and even philosophers!

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