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Knowledge and Certainty
Does knowledge require certainty? Do you know something if there is a chance you could be wrong? Suppose you are given a lottery ticket that has only 1/1000 chances of winning. Should you throw it away, knowing that it’s a losing ticket? Why not?
Unit 2: Readings
Assignment: Descartes: Meditation I, p. 144-149
Descartes Meditations 1,2,3, 6
Descartes, René, Elizabeth Sanderson Haldane, and G. R. T. (George Robert Thomson) Ross. “Meditations: Excerpts.” In The Philosophical Works of Descartes. Cambridge : University Press, 1911; 1973. http://archive.org/details/isbn_052109416x.
Unit 2: John Cottingham on Descartes
When should you doubt?
Scene from the movie DOUBT
In our pursuit of knowledge, Descartes held that we should not say we know anything unless it is absolutely certain. But are there times when there is too much at stake to require absolute certainty before we should say 'I know.' In the movie DOUBT, Sr. Aloysius thinks Father Flynn has sexually assaulted a young boy but she has no proof. Should she say 'I know'?
Unit 2: PowerPoint Slides