What does it mean “to know”?

I know who you are. I know what you mean. I know that earth is a planet in our solar system. I know I will die someday. I know.

To know something means that you understand something, that you have knowledge of something.

To know means we have an understanding of what we know versus what we don’t know.

To know means we are conscious of our thoughts.

To know means we have are confident in our understanding of something. What is it that gives us confidence to say we know?

To be able to say we know something means we were able to filter out the millions of other little facts that we already know to focus on something of importance.

To know is a mental abstract concept, but most likely embodied as with everything else in life.

Based on these definitions, computers don’t know anything. Although computers can hold unlimited pieces of information, transform that information in countless ways, they don’t know anything.

What kind of data structure in the brain could allow us to say we know and could this be implemented in a computer? Is this brain structure part of the brain simulation engine or some other separate system.

1 comment

  1. Paul Topping says:

    To know X means only that our behavior is different from what it would be if we didn’t know X. Philosophers seem hung up on “grounding” but it shouldn’t be that hard. I suspect they try to look inside the brain and lose sight of what knowing means. It is a failure of imagination, the same one that inhabits the Chinese Room thought experiment.

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