In our exploration of counterfactuals, we explored regrets and the principle of explosion, and how I think they could effect human behavior. In this post, we’re going to explore knowledge, and how its requirement for justification may alter human psyche.
Overlooking for a moment the complications posed by Gettier problems, philosophy has essentially continued to operate on the principle that knowledge is justified true belief. The obvious question that this definition entails is how one can know whether one’s justification is sound. One must therefore provide a justification for the justification. That justification itself requires justification, and the questioning continues interminably.
The conclusion is that no one can truly have knowledge of anything, since it is, due to this infinite regression, impossible to satisfy the justification element. In practice, this has caused little concern to philosophers, since the demarcation between a reasonably exhaustive investigation and superfluous investigation is usually clear.
How does this effect human behavior? In what areas do we seek justification? Performance, looks, or any number of other things.
If you were obsessed with looking good, you may seek the opinion of others. You may stare in the mirror. Even if you think you look good and others say you look good, they could be wrong. You could be wrong. So if you seek knowledge of your good looks, you may never be satisfied with your justification. And if you’re never satisfied with the justification, you may never be satisfied with your looks.
There is undoubtedly always room for skepticism. If there is an infinite regress in the justification, where do you draw the line? When do you accept the justification?