Advances in Computers, Vol. 25 by Marshall C. Yovits

By Marshall C. Yovits

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It would have us see the members of K as representing no more than plausible opinion. As Nietzsche put it, human “knowledge” is fiction masquerading as truth. Present-day “postmodernism,” for all intents and purposes returns to this position—as does the sociology of knowledge school of the so-called strong program. Skepticism represents perhaps the most drastic step—that of accepting . . nothing at all and remaining adoxastos (doctrinally uncommitted), as the Greek skeptics put it. It calls for simply suspending judgment in matters of scientific theorizing.

The prospect of metaknowledge roots in the reflexivity of thought—the circumstance we can have doubts about our doubts, beliefs about our beliefs, knowledge about our knowledge. The development of metaknowledge is a crucial component of epistemology, and in its pursuit we encounter some very interesting but also disconcerting results, seeing that attention to the actual nature of our knowledge yields some rather paradoxical facts. Of course, knowledge as such must be certain. After all, we are very emphatically fair-weather friends to our knowledge.

The paradox is that our metaknowledge conflict with our knowledge, seeing that one of the things we cannot avoid adding to our knowledge is the item of metaknowledge that some of our knowledge claims are mistaken. The Preface Paradox analogy accordingly indicates that we cannot use present knowledge to correct itself—even where we recognize and acknowledge that it requires correction. And our deliberations here indicate that we cannot use present knowledge to complete itself even though we know it requires completion.

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