The Necessity of Exosomatic Knowledge for Civilization and a Revision to our Epistemology

In Norbert-Bertrand Barbe (ed.), Le Néant dans la Pensée contemporaine. [The Nothing in Contemporary Thought.]. pp. 136-150 (2012)
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The traditional conception of knowledge is justified, true belief. If one looks at a modern textbook on epistemology, the great bulk of questions with which it deals are to do with personal knowledge, as embodied in beliefs and the proper experiences that someone ought to have had in order to have the right (or justification) to know. I intend to argue that due to the explosive growth of knowledge whose domain is “outside the head”, this conception has outlived its relevance. On the other hand, Karl Popper’s (1934) Falsificationism, with its emphasis on the objective character of knowledge, is not only a sounder, but also a more appropriate theory of knowledge for understanding the nature and growth of civilization. Later, Popper (1945) generalized this approach to obtain critical rationalism, in which all claims to knowledge, whether scientific or otherwise, are understood as objective solutions to objective problems and can be evaluated by other non-observational - types of criticism. I will first argue that Popper’s methodology is quite suited to the view that knowledge is an objective autonomous product and then adduce his theory of world 3, an ontology that neatly wraps up various considerations. World 3 is the domain of abstract products of the human mind that now have a life of their own, outside of human heads: theories, arguments, problems, plans, etc. I then adduce some other arguments for the autonomous quality of knowledge.
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