Knowledge and Mistakes

  • Håvard Løkke
Part of the Studies in the History of Philosophy of Mind book series (SHPM, volume 10)


This chapter is about how we attain knowledge, and how we fail to do so. I argue that a true thought counts as a piece of knowledge if and only if it has the right sort of causal history. I also argue that these so-called cognitive thoughts are the criteria of truth in the sense that they are guaranteed to be true and able to guarantee the truth of that which can be inferred from them. So I argue that there are three kinds of knowledge, namely the information conveyed by our senses, the information contained in our preconceptions and the conclusions that can be inferred from our sense-perceptions and our preconceptions. I then argue that we fail to attain knowledge if we assent to a thought that is either false, or true but not caused in the right way. I also argue that we make such mistakes either because we are so hasty that we form a belief before we have reasons to do so, or because we are so self-deceived that we do not heed the reasons we have. Both kinds of mistakes can give rise to emotions. So I detail what emotions are, according to the Stoics, and why they are so damaging.


Consistency Test Causal History Indistinguishability Argument Wise Person Dispositional Belief 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Håvard Løkke
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AgderKristiansandNorway

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