I bought Epistemology, by Richard Fumerton and Epistemology: A Contemporary Introduction, by Robert Audi. Can you suggest other titles and also some criticism on them?
There are many explanations about the epistemology from a variety of sources. I suggest you read this introduction about epistemology.
To make your reading easier, i will try to explain related to this introduction. I will try to explain the simple structure of epistemology with simple explanation as well. Hopefully you can understand the basic structure of epistemology and further having ability to expand understanding at any directions with reasonable open minded.
Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that is expected to help us to understand anything at all about knowledge.
The final goal of the study of epistemology is expected that we can know the existence of a knowledge.
Some limitations of epistemology can be determined by understanding:
- What is knowledge?
- Relation to belief
- Also how to obtain it.
- And the farthest limits that can be achieved by epistemology.
What is knowledge? Knowledge is justified true belief.
Something is true and we believe it proven (justified) to be useful or we believe (and justified) that something is true, therefore we found knowledge.
We believe in something, because something is justified as true and useful, then it's a knowledge
What is belief? If knowledge is justified true belief, then how can someone exclude "belief" to make a separated definition? (since "belief" already within knowledge)
Some philosophers assert knowledge can be gained without belief. Something can be considered as knowledge without obligation to belief it.
Whether a statement is true or not, or whether something is true or not (because lack of awareness), but once we perceive it, then it's already a knowledge.
By defining knowledge as something true or false, a belief has its own place to be defined. It's a true knowledge. What i believe is a true knowledge.
It's about the way we believe in something. We believe in something because something can be justified reasonably.
But the essence is, because something may be considered to be true at different point of view, therefore there is different justification whether something is true for someone may be different for someone else. There is no general aggreement of what is the correct justification.
- Knowledge is something true because we believe it through justification (reasonable justification), OR
- Knowledge is something true or false and belief is the true knowledge.
How to obtain knowledge?
Kant said that a priori knowledge is “knowledge that is absolutely independent of all experience” (Kant 1787, 43)
We can have a correct understanding because we know something is correct without experiencing something outside ourselves to justify the correctness.
“Water is H2O” is a necessary truth, but it can only be justified empirically, that is, a posteriori
We are sure of something because something must be justified through empirical experiences.
What is the farthest limits that can be achieved by epistemology?
It depends on how far for someone define empirical. If empirical is anything that can be perceived by our five senses, then our knowledge may be widen as far as what can be perceived by our five senses. But if someone believe in sixth sense then knowledge can be more widen then usually known through the five senses. We can learn this through divine illumination.
My criticism is to remind us to define proposition as dependency to avoid us from contradiction and paradox. These are my point of view to make a better comparison to widen our possibilities to understand epistemology. Knowledge & Belief, Dependency of Proposition & Is a priori knowledge possible?.
It's not a complete introduction on epistemology, but may be it's a start to make easy understanding to explore further within possibilities of epistemology.