MIGHT KNOWLEDGE BE INSERTABLE?

Tillson, John (2018) MIGHT KNOWLEDGE BE INSERTABLE? Educational Theory. ISSN 0013-2004 (Accepted for Publication)

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Abstract

Can we coherently conceive of our having knowledge inserted into our minds, bypassing forms of knowledge acquisition hitherto relied on? Insofar as technology develops apace, it is wise to start thinking about how we would use it before its uses are available to us lest we should unreflectively abuse it. Second, while having knowledge inserted might turn out to be physically impossible, its metaphysical possibility would still make reflecting on its desirability fruitful, since evaluating this will help us to better understand what it is that we value about education and about knowledge. While handling practical knowledge and theoretical knowledge (or ‘knowledge how’ and ’knowledge that’) somewhat separately, I argue that, for each, insertion is conceivable. I contend that if a) we seem to be able to imagine inserting knowledge, b) our seeming to be able to imagine it survives extended critical reflection, and c) we can cash out what it would consist in with plausible detail, then we have defeasible reason for thinking that inserting knowledge is in fact metaphysically possible. In section II, I discuss five objections to the thesis, so as to subject the case to extended critical reflection. These include arguments that inserting knowledge requires inserting justification, but that justification cannot be inserted, that the possibility of inserting false beliefs undermines the possibility of self-trust which is crucial to knowledge tout court, that inserted content has the wrong causal history to count as knowledge, and that inserted knowledge would lack the appropriate connections to other mental items in order to count as knowledge. In section I, after motivating the question I briefly consider an imaginary scenario presented in the fictional film, The Matrix, as an example of what is meant by implanting or inserting knowledge. I then proceed to flesh out the scenario with some more plausible details to help make the case for its coherent conceivability.

Item Type: Article
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Education > Education Studies
Depositing User: John Tillson
Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2018 17:53
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2018 17:53
URI: http://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2384

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