Epistemology - Epistemology Epistemology is one of the core...

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Epistemology Epistemology is one of the core areas of philosophy. It is concerned with the nature, sources and limits of knowledge. Epistemology has been primarily concerned with propositional knowledge, that is, knowledge that such-and-such is true, rather than other forms of knowledge, for example, knowledge how to such-and-such. There is a vast array of views about propositional knowledge, but one virtually universal presupposition is that knowledge is true belief, but not mere true belief (see Belief and knowledge ). For example, lucky guesses or true beliefs resulting from wishful thinking are not knowledge. Thus, a central question in epistemology is: what must be added to true beliefs to convert them into knowledge? 1 The normative answers: foundationalism and coherentism The historically dominant tradition in epistemology answers that question by claiming that it is the quality of the reasons for our beliefs that converts true beliefs into knowledge (see Epistemology, history of ). When the reasons are sufficiently cogent, we have knowledge (see Rational beliefs ). This is the normative tradition in epistemology (see Normative epistemology ). An analogy with ethics is useful: just as an action is justified when ethical principles sanction holding it (see Justification, epistemic ; Epistemology and ethics ). The second tradition in epistemology, the naturalistic tradition, does not focus on the quality of the reasons for beliefs but, rather, requires that the conditions in which beliefs are acquired typically produce true beliefs (see Internalism and externalism in epistemology ; Naturalized epistemology ). Within the normative tradition, two views about the proper structure of reasons have been developed: foundationalism and coherentism (see Reasons for belief ). By far, the most commonly held view is foundationalism. It holds that reasons rest on a foundational structure comprised of 'basic' beliefs (see Foundationalism ). The foundational propositions have autonomous justification that does not depend upon any further justification which could be provided by inferential relations to other propositions. (Coherentism, discussed below, denies that there are such foundational propositions). These basic beliefs can be of several types. Empiricists (such as Hume and Locke ) hold that basic beliefs exhibit knowledge initially gained through the senses or introspection (see A posteriori ; Empiricism ; Introspection, epistemology of ; Perception, epistemic issues in ). Rationalists (such as Descartes , Leibniz and Spinoza ) hold that at least some basic beliefs are the result of rational intuition (see A priori ; A priori knowledge and justification, recent work on ; Rationalism ). Since not all knowledge seems to be based on sense experience or introspection or rational intuition, some epistemologists claim that some knowledge is innate (see Innate knowledge ; Knowledge, tacit ; Kant, I. ; Plato ). Still others argue that some propositions are basic
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This note was uploaded on 06/14/2011 for the course PHIL 1001 taught by Professor Murrayskees during the Winter '10 term at Walden University.

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Epistemology - Epistemology Epistemology is one of the core...

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