WoK review session

Which of the JTB criteria do you find most problematic?

I find the “believe” part of the JTB model to be the most problematic. This is because an emotional inclination or belief in something does not always correlate with the truth. To believe, one must have faith, and faith can be irrational or blind as a way of knowing. Beliefs or preconceived notions can cloud our perceptions (confirmation bias) and can be a hindrance in our pursuit of knowledge.

Which criteria do you think should be kept if we are to have rich and meaningful discussions about knowledge in TOK?

I find the most important criterion of the JTB model to be the “justified” part. This is because, in order to obtain knowledge, we must make connections with other knowledge which we already have tucked away in our experiences. In order to draw valid conclusions in information, we must justify them. But justification in knowledge does not always need to be done using reason, as knowledge can be justified using any other way of knowing (emotional intelligence, etc.).

Suggest an alternative to JTB. You may also suggest that the whole endeavor of coming up with a definition is an exercise in futility, but must justify this.

An alternative to the JTB model would be one which acknowledges that knowledge must span across different ways of knowing (it is difficult to know something using one WoK alone, and it is hardly ever reliable to do so). This can be the “intersectional” part of the model. Perhaps a JTBI model can be used instead, so that a component of knowledge would be that it can be known and corroborated using one or more AoK or WoK.

But what is wrong with keeping JTB but acknowledging that different AoKs have different requirements in determining what are sufficient justification and what can reasonably be true?

It is difficult to use the JTB in AoKs such as natural science and human science, where causation cannot be directly observed, but simply hypothesised based on collected data. Hence, it is difficult to determine what is definitively true. In addition, the arts and intuition as AoKs tend to require justification which goes beyond reason, but rather emotion and instinctive inclinations. These areas of knowledge do not depend so much on “truth” in the reasonable sense. Memory as a way of knowing is also fuzzy in the area of truth, as when we recall each memory, we miss certain details and distort some aspects or add things to fill in logical gaps, all subconsciously. Hence, it is difficult to determine if a memory is the truth of the event.

Can’t we also distinguish between capital T truth and small t truth?

It can be difficult to distinguish between capital T truth and small t truth in areas of knowledge such as human science and natural science, because we cannot actually distinguish causation but can make educated guesses. These educated guesses are not necessarily the capital T truth, but are widely accepted as the truth. Our so-called capital T truths may be influenced by our experiences, and it is difficult to determine the capital T truth of anything.

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