Justified True Belief

Education for Human Flourishing, Cover

After rattling the reader’s cage by exploring Have you been properly educated?, Paul D. Spears and Steven R. Loomis argue:

Most of the abilities that we associate with knowledge in the educational field turn out to be mostly a capacity to recite. … As humans we are constantly engaged in mental activities.  We constantly access and categorize everything around us.  We experience the world around us and we have beliefs about the world, some of which are true and some of which are false.  We justify our ideas through our rational capacities, by which we set up a system of understanding that arbitrates what can be constituted as knowledge, what is and is not an accurate depiction of reality.

To claim we know something implies we have sufficiently good reasons to say the things we believe are as we say they are.  Knowledge is justified true belief. Each of these categories — justification, truth and belief — plays a necessary but not sufficient role in determining knowledge, and each should be explained in order to see how belief, justification and truth form an integrated concept of knowledge. — Education for Human Flourishing: A Christian Perspective.* InterVarsity Press, 2009. p.103-4) .

Questions …

  • Are Paul D. Spears and Steven R. Loomis on track with their definition of knowledge?  Note:  earlier they distinguish three types of knowledge
    • technical knowledge or what is more commonly called know-how
    • propositional knowledge, which is knowledge of facts
    • knowledge of acquaintance, which is knowledge about something in direct awareness (78-80, 103).
  • How do you define knowledge and describe it’s acquisition in general, in your discipline?
  • What scholars/resources/books have you found most helpful in shaping your understanding of knowledge?

*Find the title appealing? Then check out the Preface & Precis of Book and Chapters.

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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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  • W. Brian Lane commented on February 4, 2010 Reply

    There’s a similar discussion about the contrast between PhD work and scholarship at http://condensedconcepts.blogspot.com/2010/02/phd-without-scholarship.html that you might enjoy.

  • Thomas B. Grosh IV commented on February 4, 2010 Reply

    Brian, Thank-you for the link!

    All, A few ‘off the cuff thoughts’ on the ‘granting’ of a ‘higher’ degree. … It seems that ‘potential,’ research interests of the advisor, professional gate-keeping and institutional branding are significant. One can’t and isn’t intended to ‘learn it all’ as a student.* The student learns the framework, ‘essentials’ and ‘tools for further exploration.’ Much of ‘being a scholar’ and the intricacies of professional life are learned ‘in practice in the guild.’ Sidebar: I think a basic education/communication class or 2 should be a pre-requisite or educational requirement for all receiving higher degrees or a higher criteria for scholars hired to teach 😉

    Not refined … ‘off the cuff’ … welcome thoughts/revisions …

    *Note: this is where professional education, such as provided for health care practitioners depart from many other ‘higher degrees.’

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