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Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 53, 2008

Theory of Knowledge

Hui-Min Lin
Pages 183-189
DOI: 10.5840/wcp2220085327

Knowledge and Information

Obviously, “To know” is different to “be informed”. For “to know”, we have a motivation to reach certain proposition we thought is meaningful to us; however, for “be informed”, we just passively receive propositions or we gain certain propositions without much deliberation in which these propositions may be useful to us. The proposition “Wang collected 19 wins in both MLB 2006 and 2007” seems information but not knowledge to us, in the sense that we just be given this proposition and we exploited it to entertain our friends around us. However, in the case of I am a sport agent; “Wang collected 19 wins in both MLB 2006 and 2007” is surely knowledge but not just information for me, in the sense that I have a motivation to reach this proposition to do my work best. I “know” that Wang collected 19 and “inform” the team to consider his contribution to the New York Yankee. The Yankee of course “knows” Wang’s performance, I the sport agent “inform” the Yankee the fact of 19 just push the Yankee to reconsider this information seriously or tell them the significance of this information. What I want to tell them or remind them is what we said knowledge, not just information. Knowledge then has more elements than information does in our daily usage. It is less direct that there exists a distinction between the proposition of knowledge and that of information. The content of the two may be totally the same, the difference of the two may be vague; but the distinction of the two is necessary, at least they have different meanings in our daily usage. I think the epistemic reliabilism or externalism is not capable to bring out that point. The result leads to reliabilism any proposition that is just the information be qualified as the knowledge. But we think intuitively that the value of knowledge is more than the value of information, therefore, we need a better account of the knowledge which we are favorable.