Unit 2 - Epistemology

Unit 2 - Epistemology - Unit 1E - Epistemology Lecture:...

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Unit 1E - Epistemology – Lecture: Plato’s Meno , Knowledge and Skepticism – E. Clark – February 26, 2011 Three branches of philosophy I. Metaphysics – The study of reality II. Epistemology – The study of knowledge III. Axiology (Mainly Ethics ) – The study of value(s), esp. human value(s) and conduct. Epistemology IV. In what way is epistemology a distinct branch of philosophy? A. It seems to be both a branch of metaphysics and a branch of ethics: 1. Meta-epistemology: What knowledge is, philosophy of mind, etc. 2. Normative epistemology: What we ought to believe, normative policies. 3. One question that is distinct is whether and how it is that we have knowledge the question of sources of knowledge and the issue of skepticism. B. So there are three main themes or questions: 1. The nature of knowledge – what is it? 2. The attainment of knowledge – whether and how we have it? 3. The value of knowledge – why we should seek it and how? Plato’s Epistemology V. In the Republic : had to do with the stability of the objects. Knowledge is infallible because of the objects that are known . VI. In the Meno : Questions about the stability on the side of the subject, especially regarding belief acquisition. Includes questions about the nature, attainment and value of knowledge. VII. Three epistemological themes in Meno : A. The puzzle of inquiry: 1. Presented as a dilemma: No reason to search for what you already know; no way to find what you don’t know. 2. Socrates rejects the dilemma by proposing a third option, namely that knowledge is attained by recollection. 3. Questioning the servant was supposed to demonstrate or give evidence for the truth of recollection. 4. What are some possible answers to the puzzle? 5. An alternative explanation: there is a difference between what something is (its definition), and what it is like (its characteristics); knowledge can come in degrees.
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Unit 1E - Epistemology – Lecture: Plato’s Meno , Knowledge and Skepticism – E. Clark – February 26, 2011 2 B. The issue of knowledge attainment: Did the servant already know? Did the servant learn? What are the possible answers? Some general theses about the acquisition of knowledge: 1. Rationalism: innate knowledge, or can attain knowledge by sheer reason. Moderate version: the foundations of knowledge are reason, self-evident truths. 2. Empiricism: the mind is initially completely blank ( tabula rasa ), knowledge only comes by sense experience. 3. Hybrid/moderate views: a. Moderate version of rationalism: the foundations of knowledge are reason, self-evident truths. E.g., Intuitionism i. Kind of a radical empiricism, but not limited to the senses, e.g., logical, or even metaphysical relations.
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Unit 2 - Epistemology - Unit 1E - Epistemology Lecture:...

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