I was reading The Outer Limits of Reason: What Science, Mathematics, and Logic Cannot Tell Us by Noson S. Yanofsky and in some paragraphs of this books, The writer uses the words "epistemic", "ontological" and "epistemological" and first I thought that the word "epistemic" too refers to "relating to the study or theory of various aspects of knowledge" but apparently philosophers differentiate the meanings of “epistemic” and “epistemological”. In this link, it says: "Philosophers differentiate the meanings of “epistemic” and “epistemological” where, broadly, epistemic means "relating to knowledge (itself)" and epistemological means "relating to the study or theory of various aspects of knowledge" but in these contexts, because it comes with the words "ontological" and "epistemological", I am confused and wanted to ask if you can tell me that in each of these sentences, What is the meaning of "epistemic", "epistemological" and "ontological? in this context, does the word "epistemic" refer to the former definition or latter definition? and if it does refer to the latter definition, does "ontological", that is in the same paragraph, refer to "relating to nature of being (itself)"? In other words, I wanna know each of the bold words in the contexts below refers to the former definition or the latter definition? except for the word "ontological" that I said earlier what I want to know.
Here are the sentences from the book:
- on page 55:
From the view afforded by extreme nominalism, it becomes apparent that the reason we cannot answer questions about the ship of Theseus or changes to human beings has nothing to do with linguistic limitations. It is not that we lack the right words or definitions of these concepts. There is also no epistemological problem— that is, it is not a lack of knowledge of the exact definition of the real ship of Theseus. Nor is it a problem of having some type of deeper knowledge of the ship of Theseus beyond its physical stimuli. Rather, we are dealing with a question of existence. In philosophical parlance this is an ontological problem. A real ship of Theseus need not exist.
- on page 67:
Philosophers are usually split as to why there is vagueness. Some philosophers promote ontological vagueness—that is, the reason some terms do not have an exact meaning is that an exact meaning of these terms really does not exist. While there is an exact definition of “above six feet,” there is no exact definition of “tall.” In contrast, other philosophers promote epistemic vagueness. They believe there is an exact definition of vague terms but we simply do not know what it is.
- on page 70:
How is one to understand such paradoxes? Some philosophers say that the sorites paradoxes show us that there is something wrong with the logical rule of modus ponens. By following modus ponens we came to a false conclusion, so modus ponens cannot be trusted. This seems a little too harsh. The modus ponens rule works so perfectly in most logic, math, and reasoning. Why should we abandon it? Other philosophers (who believe that all vagueness is epistemic—i.e., they believe exact boundaries exist that we are not aware of) assume that the rule If n grains are not a heap, then n + 1 grains are also not a heap. is simply false. For them, there is some n for which n grains do not form a heap but n+1 grains do form a heap. We mortals are not aware of which n this is but it nevertheless exists. For such philosophers modus ponens is true, but this implication is simply not valid and so cannot be used in a modus ponens argument. As noted above, to us it seems that vagueness is not an epistemic but an ontological problem. There are no exact boundaries and the implication from n to n + 1 grains is, in fact, always true.