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Questions tagged [epistemology]

Epistemology is the study of knowledge, acquisition thereof, and the justification of belief in a given claim.

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Why should I trust experts?

If we trust experts, do we then elevate them as determiners of the truth? When we trust our surgeon to do a good job in surgery because he is an expert, do I forfeit my right to criticize experts on ...
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What is an event that was a counterexample to Occam's Razor?

I am asking for a set among n competing hypotheses where the simplest one was H_i but the correct one was H_j where i is not the same as j. That is, a time when scientists tested a bunch of hypotheses ...
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How do I keep up with the latest in the cutting edge of philosophy? [duplicate]

I always viewed philosophy to be dead after the arrival of modern science. The last great philosopher in metaphysics was Kant, I believe the others who followed him were made irrelevant by the ...
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Is it possible that I'm “God” or a special being/deity?

I know the first thing you may be thinking upon reading this, but there's more to this than you may have assumed. This is not one of those crazy questions where ego-driven maniacs simply call ...
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What is an example of an innate idea?

I don't see any justification to argue a person has an idea or knowledge that is not derived from its environment. How come Plato raised this question at all: How is it that we have certain ideas ...
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Do picture proofs of the Pythagorean theorem make it empirical?

As I understand it, the Pythagorean Theorem, which defines the metric for Euclidean space, is said to be strictly mathematical in the sense that it is derived from a set of purely theoretical axioms (...
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Why is epistemology done from a phenomenological point of view?

I'm currently in a class where we are studying, among other things, the philosophy of perception. The papers we have read so far, for example Grice's "The Causal Theory of Perception" and Strawson's "...
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Does Epistemological Infinitism Require Infinite Regress? [on hold]

According to infinitism:"No reason is sufficiently justified in the absence of a further reason. That is, there are no foundational reasons". Pretend that somehow there was a statement whose chain of ...
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Are there writers on the topic of an inherent human bias towards the value of rational thinking?

Some people place humans as 'higher animals' because we are uniquely capable of rational thought, while most other animals are not. This assumes that the trait of rationality is superior to other ...
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Where is the line between Quantum Mechanics and Relativity?

I've asked the question below on Physics SE but it seems an answer may not be straight forward... Question: Is there any answers from Epistemology or philosophy-of-science? Its often said QM is ...
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Thomas Kuhn's “paradigm” and its 22 different uses

Thomas S. Kuhn, both in his Second Thoughts of Paradigms [1971] and in the Postscript to the second edition of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions [1970], refers to someone who found 22 different ...
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What if the Evil Genius in Descartes' “I think therefore I am” put into our minds the action of doubting?

I am briefly aware of Descartes' argument that even if an Evil Genius made us believe that the world is real the fact that we can doubt this shows that we are thinking and that through thought we can ...
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Are there any attempts to define “doubt”?

Traditionally, Knowledge is defined as a True Justified Belief (Let us ignore epistemic caveats and objections to this definition). According to Wittgenstein, there is no place for knowledge where ...
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Was Kant right about space and time (and wrong about knowledge)?

According to Kant our empirical experience is synthesized from sensations through categories. Apparently, unconscious "productive ability of imagination" mediates the process using the schemes of ...
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Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." I think this statement raises some kind of epistemic problem. Like, how are we supposed to conclude the potential non-existence of something, like ...
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Does bayesianism accept the idea of knowledge

In bayesianism, you get probalities for the truth of any given statement. As I understand it, this can never be 100%. Since there is no "most certain" you can be, does that mean there is no conception ...
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What kind of circularity, if any, is it acceptable for a philosophical argument to contain?

I'm studying circularity in arguments and was wondering if there is any acceptable circularity possible in a good philosophical argument. For instance, I gather that some regard rule-circularity as ...
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What does Hume's “customary connection” between objects mean?

David Hume writes "All belief of matter of fact or real existence is derived from some object, present to the memory or the senses, and a customary conjunction between that and some other object." ...
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Question about the Argument of Recollection from Plato's Phaedo

Under the argument of recollection, what would the answer to the following scenario? A young child has not learned a single thing about geometrical shapes. If a person were to draw a triangle and ...
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What is the difference between Theory of Knowledge and Epistemology?

What are the differences, similarities, and contrasts between the two fields of study, namely, Theory of Knowledge and Epistemology? Are these terms interchangeable? Are they near-identical? What ...
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A Neo-Kantian View on Causality?

Quantum non-determinism seems incompatible with Kant’s defense of causality in his Second Analogy. Stephen R. Palmquist however provides an interesting and appealing case against this supposition, ...
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If a proposition a priori if the premises require empirical evidence?

If I say that 50% of birds are black, and so I then say that I have a 50% chance of choosing a black bird if I pick a bird at random, is this an a priori or a posteriori proposition? Since given the ...
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Does Descartes' internalism make him vulnerable to scepticism?

I've been reading about internalism and externalism and their responses to scepticism. I'm aware that many regard internalism as more susceptible to a sceptical attack than externalism, for example ...
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Philosophers who did not think that language is more special than cognition as a whole

There are pretty many philosophers who talked and wrote on the philosophy of language. Usually language only means the use of words and symbols, however, I noticed that symbols may have different ...
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What are the relationships between Foucault's medical gaze, scientific investigation, and Buddhist detachment?

From this note from a clinical psychologist, the Foucault's gaze is described as: ... with this powerful gaze the physician could penetrate illusion and see through to the underlying reality, that ...
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Are humans becoming more hive-like? Does this have philosophical implications?

Have any philosophers taken up human hive-like behaviour and its implications? EO Wilson and others have outlined eusociality, a mode of group selection acting in addition to selection at the ...
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How did Kant define knowledge?

A recent question about the Plato's formula K=JTB (knowledge is justified true belief) made me curious as to what Kant thought on the matter. In the prefaces and the Introduction to the first Critique ...
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What irreducible functions constitute thinking?

Because all new knowledge, to be not illogical, must obey logic i.e. every thinking step must be consistent with rules of logic; so can we write an effective procedure/algorithm which may be followed ...
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Opinions on the Newcomb Paradox [closed]

Need some opinions on the Newcomb Paradox. You’re invited to play a game, which consists of an opaque box and a transparent box. In the transparent box, there is $1000. You can see it and it will ...
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Can Philosophy explain itself?

This question is prompted by recent questions: A short, understandable definition of philosophy and Do you need to know what philosophy is to study it? Sciences are usually well defined, and the task ...
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On the nature of reality from different scientific views [closed]

I apologize from many imprecisions that you will find both in the grammatic and in the ideas. Close your eyes and then reopen them. So: how does the universe, the experience, emerge? Then, we can ...
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Can the affirmation “All taxes are theft” be considered an a priori truth?

Hans Hermann Hoppe is a popular Economist from the Austrian School whose central ideas seem fundamentally right. However, I see him as having very poor argumentation skills and more than once I read ...
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Is there a name for trying to divine hidden meaning from clear communications? [closed]

I'm not sure if this is a philosophy question, but it seems to fall within the domain of epistemology, so I thought I'd try to get an answer here. My question arises from several questions I have ...
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What is considered to be unknowable?

Has anyone tried to classify what is considered to be unknowable in the physical world to define it more precisely? I can think of some basic classes of ideas and some, perhaps disputable, examples ...
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What is the difference between knowledge and belief?

Sometimes this image is used to explain what agnosticism is and how it's independent from belief: It makes some sense but I still have confusion understanding it. What is the difference between ...
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How is the theory of divine revelation coherent?

There is a long history of Christian philosophy† drawing a distinction between knowledge gained from rational/empirical sources and knowledge from divine revelation. It seems Tertullian was one of the ...
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Are there logicians who argue that knowing and believing are NOT amenable to formal study via modal logics?

Vincent Hendricks and John Symons notes the following about epistemic logic: Epistemic logic gets its start with the recognition that expressions like ‘knows that’ or ‘believes that’ have ...
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General solutions to the generality problem

The generality problem is determining when to count individuals as part of a group. It crops up in many places. In Epistemology, Reliabilism has a difficult time describing how general processes are. ...
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How is the conflict between created by reason and external aspects of knowledge resolved?

Pragmatism is, roughly, the stressing of actions in talking about the content of knowledge. Externalism is, roughly, the stressing of dependence on the external public world in talking about ...
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Was mathematics invented or discovered?

What would it mean to say that mathematics was invented and how would this be different from saying mathematics was discovered? Is this even a serious philosophical question or just a meaningless/...
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Is it possible to sidestep ontological claims by pivoting on epistemological ones?

Is there a "trade-off" between ontology and epistemology? Is there a level of discourse or abstraction where it is possible to evade ontological questions by pivoting on epistemological ones? Or ...
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Does anyone have any good resources related to art and objective knowledge?

I am researching for a school project and so far all of the sources I have found are too difficult for me to understand (I am a high school student with English as my second language). Please help!
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My first thought is always: I AM

This question is derivative of the question here: Could 'cogito ergo sum' possibly be false? It is noted by authors such as Nietzsche and Kierkegaard that there are several assumptions ...
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Is there a limit beyond which mathematics, if used correctly, cannot be applied to reality?

And if so, why, and which? Take this case: If I've two apples and I believe that with two more I'll have four apples, then I implicitly believe that summation applies to reality. Yet there are ...
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Who/What is the source of knowledge?

This question mostly pertains to physics and math, but I think it fits best on this site. I am not very familiar with philosophy, so I apologize if my question is not very formal. Essentially, the ...
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Indirect Realism – what are the main objections?

In dialog with others about philosophy, I have generally assumed that the basis of epistemology is a settled question – I. E. that the Locke/Russel/Popper approach, that our worldview is a hypothetico-...
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What is the empirical basis for justifying mathematics?

In the introduction of a very nice book by M. Giaquinto, called Visual Thinking in Mathematics, he investigates the conditions that give rise to mathematical knowledge - the following ideas are ...
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AGI and Quine's conundrums:underdetermination and holism

How has [or will] the prevalence of “big data” – the exploding plethora of information and computing power to classify, categorize and correlate it, combined with Artificial General Intelligence, or ...
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References discussing self-evident truths?

I am interested in philosophical or logic-based texts that discuss the nature of self-evident truths, which seem related to Alvin Plantinga's discussion of so-called properly basic beliefs. I am more ...
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How is it possible to accept non-rational beliefs?

Assume an epistemological foundation of sorts that admits rational intuition and empirical evidence. Then you can gain new beliefs through experience/sense perception, or extrapolating from prior ...