Saturday, January 2, 2010

True Cognitions

Can there be a criteria by which one may decide if a cognition is true? How can we "test" the truth or objective validity of our knowledge? Call these questions the problem of the theory of knowledge.

In order to solve this problem, we should have to have a criterion by the application of which we could decide whether or not a cognition is true. But this criterion would itself either be or not be a cognition. If it is a cognition, it would fall within the area of what is problematic, the validity of which is first to be solved with the aid of our criterion. Accordingly, it cannot itself be a cognition. But if the criterion cannot be a cognition, it would nevertheless - in order to be applicable - have to be known, i.e., we should have to know that it is a criterion of the truth. But in order to gain this knowledge of the criterion, we should already have had to apply it. In both cases, therefore, we encounter a contradiction. A "validity criterion" is consequently impossible.

Is there a solution?

(Apologies to L. Nelson)

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