Epistemology

epis·te·mol·o·gy (noun – \i-ˌpis-tə-ˈmä-lə-jē\):
the study or a theory of the nature and grounds of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity

Mike at Talking Philosophy describes the idea of “knowing” something in three components:

In very rough and ready terms, to know a claim is to believe the claim, for the claim to actually be true and for the belief to be properly justified.

He then provides a succinct philosophical depiction of Republican errors this election season, ones which should readily be avoided not just by campaigns, but by anyone who attempts to express the validity of a claim to knowledge:

[…] political narratives are typically aimed at crafting what amounts to an alternative reality story. This generally involves two types of tales. The first is laying out a negative narrative describing one’s opponents. The second is spinning a positive tale about one’s virtues. While all politicians and pundits play this game, the Republicans seemed to have made the rather serious epistemic error of believing that their fictional narratives expressed justified, true beliefs.

While epistemologists disagree about justification, it seems reasonable to hold that believing a claim because one wants it to be true is not adequate justification. It also seems reasonable to hold that a belief formed by systematically ignoring and misinterpreting available evidence is not justified. That is, it seems reasonable to hold that fallacies do not serve as justification for a claim. Hence, it seems reasonable to hold that beliefs based on such poor reasoning do not meet the standard of knowledge—even if we lack a proper definition of knowledge. (emphasis mine)

In other words, though this should not be a surprise, attempting to invent truth does not actually create objective truth. Simple but important result.

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