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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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What is the difference between everyday realism and metaphysical realism?

At an everyday level, we seem to subscribe to a from of strong realism which doesn't leave any room for skepticism. We are certain that individuals who hear voices in their heads or who have ...
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Did Kant consider Newtonian mechanics a priori?

Did Kant take Newtonian physics as being synthetic a priori? I get the feeling he did. If he did, how did he justify this, it seems like a huge blunder for such a careful thinker. I mean... Kant ...
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What are the characteristics of an 'objective' statement or argument?

Can anyone explain what an "objective" statement or argument really is? How can we decide that one statement is more objective than another?
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Is number π empirical or a priori?

I used the example of π, but this applies to other transcendental numbers as well, such as e Kant classified statements into 4 epistemic categories based on two criteria: The Analytic/Synthetic ...
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Does non-empirical knowledge exist?

I think this question might be dismissed very easily, but I'd like to try to provoke a sort of blurring-the-lines idea that may be interesting. I'll start by putting two definitions here, the first ...
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Is this a legitimate solution to the brain in a vat problem?

The problem: "Since the brain in a vat gives and receives exactly the same impulses as it would if it were in a skull, and since these are its only way of interacting with its environment, then it is ...
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Are we born critically synthesising concepts?

Following this question asking about whether we are born 'critically thinking'; which suggested this question asking whether we are born with Kants categories. Expanding further on the original ...
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What kind of philosophical questions are transcendental philosophical questions?

There are a lot of different philosophical questions and I'm interested in knowing what kind of questions are asked in or what kind of questions does transcendental philosophy try to answer. I've ...
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Is evolutionary “morality” really the same thing as human morality?

In a different question I asked, Chris Johns' answer pinpointed exactly why all of the answers didn't satisfy me, so I'd like to ask a follow-up question which will further focus my question - would ...
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Is there an accepted term for the idea that: “an idea's validity is increased with age”

Is there a field or term which can be used to describe conjecture on the notion that: The validity of an idea is related to the length of time it has been debated. Such a field would concern (or, ...
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Have the implications of cybernetics on epistemology been studied?

I would like to know what is the state of the art. There are several approaches in epistemology, from the various variants of positivism, to pragmatism, and many others. In cybernetics a system ...
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We know substances by means of their accidents?

Where does Aristotle or St. Thomas Aquinas say we know substances by means of their accidents? For example: To know the substance of an apple, I first have to sense its quantity and qualities: shape, ...
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How would anyone know if they saw the equation of everything?

Given this answer by user34445 to the question: Final theory in Physics: a mathematical existence proof? https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/76058/final-theory-in-physics-a-mathematical-...
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Why do we tend towards discretizing things around and within us?

Why do we tend towards discretizing things around and within us? Do our senses (for space and time) fool us into this notion all the way into the need for discretizing abstractions themselves, e.g. An ...
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What is 'Pragmatic Encroachment'?

Question What is 'Pragmatic Encroachment'? Overview I tried to read https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/knowledge-analysis/#PragEncr but it was too dense + wordy (too many unnecessary complex ...
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“cogito ergo sum” and then…?

After his ever so famous "cogito ergo sum", Rene Descartes' second (deep?) thought was something like "God exists" (according to my literature). I think he brought this up mainly due to historical ...
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Is the Cartesian methodological doubt deeply flawed?

In order to acquire irrefutable knowledge, Descartes first doubted everything, even the existence of an external world. Then, starting from the "cogito, ergo sum", he started proving the existence of ...
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Can you adequately discuss Philosophy, without _doing_ philosophy?

NOT the Meta question. But In order to convey a philosophical idea, a speaker must regularly interpret an original work. Not only that, but subsequent to the all to frequent 'discussion', he must ...
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Nature of self-evident statements

Can there exist a "self-evident" statement? That is, can there exist a statement that offers sufficient substantiation for itself? For example, a statement can be constructed This statement is ...
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Has, as Richard Rorty hoped, solidarity successfully replaced objective truth as the aim of cognition?

It seems relatively clear that Richard Rorty's postmodern project of eliminating "objective Truth" as something that inquiry and cognition can (reasonably?) hope to attain, or aim for, has to a large ...
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How do we understand something?

Is there some theory that explains this. When I reflect on how I reason through to an understanding of something (the Eureka moment), it appears that to me that the steps are never sufficient and that ...
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Is assuming nothing equal to assuming something?

When someone assumes there's something, the general consensus is that it means there was nothing, and he added a layer of "somethingness". I'd like to question that and ask, when someone argues that "...
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Is it possible to prove the invalidity of logic without using logic?

Is it possible to validly invalidate logic without using logic? Mere assertion gives rise to the question, "How do you know?". At that point, you end up having to use logic to justify the thesis ...
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What is res in res cogitans or res extensa?

Substance is that which has no dependent relation on any other; and unlike an atom, is infinitely differentiable - it has parts; and those parts thus distinguished have relations amongst themselves; ...
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Why are negative facts more 'shadowy' than positive facts?

Source: p 268 Middle, Introducing Philosophy for Canadians: A Text with Integrated Readings (2011 1 ed).   Second, the theory doesn't satisfactorily explain what true beliefs correspond to. With ...
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Is the Socratic Method is the best way to teach philosophy?

Maybe it is for younger people, but what are better ways for adults? What is better for andragogy? Please put your answer in question form if you are a die hard.
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Kant's need of God [closed]

My main issue is not the understanding of the text in question, it really is a question about his conception in general: Kant defends the idea of God by hypothising a "supreme (original) good", ...
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Is there a name for each individual's perceived sphere of reality?

Is it an acceptable idea that each individual carries their own model of reality in their mind? Is there a name for the model that each individual uses to perceive reality? Is there a name for the ...
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What is the Anti-Realist and Constructionist interpretation of empirical dating methods and existence of the past?

I'm fairly interested in the realism, anti-realism debate and would like to hear, if possible by an anti-realist or constructivist, how dating methods fit into their world view. As a realist, dating ...
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Can radical skepticism be refuted?

The conclusion of an epistemology course I took a few months ago was that radical skepticism can never be refuted because the skeptic chose the radical approach. We can never prove him wrong because ...
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What consequences has Locke's theory of knowledge had on modern political thought?

According to John Locke's notion of tabula rasa, there are no innate ideas in the mind. All human knowledge comes from sensible experience. Assuming this principle, it follows that there is no innate ...
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Missing Shade of Blue in An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by David Hume [duplicate]

I was reading An Enquiry concerning Human Understanding by David Hume, and came across (a couple days ago) a part wherein Hume draws a counterexample towards his epistemological theory and drops it. ...
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What is “intuition” for Kant?

Intuition appears to be a relatively abstract concept, an incomplete cognition, and thus not directly experienceable. Kant says that all knowledge is constituted of two parts: reception of objects ...
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Does Quine consider the Homeric gods to have predictive power?

Quine wrote in his 1951 paper "Two Dogmas of Empiricism": "Physical objects are conceptually imported into the situation as convenient intermediaries not by definition in terms of experience, but ...
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How does Wittgenstein's argument against recognizing private sensations work?

Wittgenstein writes in his Philosophical Investigations in paragraph 270: Let us imagine a use for the entry of the sign "S" in my diary. I discover that whenever I have a particular sensation a ...
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Should modern empiricists embrace string theory?

Conventional wisdom says "no", lack of new predictions being the main criticism. Johansson and Matsubara review string theory from various empiricist perspectives, and the best they can say (for ...
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What is Wittgenstein's “criterial solution” to the problem of other minds?

I'm having difficulty with the language in this article on the Problem of Other Minds. It provides 3 solutions to the epistemological problem of other minds in section 1.1 - "The Epistemological ...
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Does existentialism presuppose the supernatural?

When it comes to debates about the existence of an "all powerful all knowing god" believers and non-believers alike often times both agree that the existence of that god can't be scientifically or ...
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What are the objections to the axioms of modal logic?

I am looking for good/classical references on objections/criticism of modal logic. I am a bit familiar with the work of Quine but find his objections around the paradoxes of material implication or ...
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In greek philosophy, what is the difference between “gnosis” and “episteme”?

In greek philosophy, Plato especially, what is the difference between "gnosis" and "episteme" ? Both apparently designate different types of knowledge, but I couldn't find any precise description of ...
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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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Is perfection conceivable?

It is a given that we can conceive normal things like a regular hot dog or a space shuttle. It is also a given that we can conceive perfection in things that are fully understood, like a perfect cube ...
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Embryo stem cells and the concept of “person”

I have to do a very good,clear and simple presentation on embryo stem cells so that everyone can understand. I have done the part of biology regarding this cells but I have to do the part that regards ...
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How has big data affected theory formation, underdetermination and the realist/construtivist debate? [closed]

How has [or will] the prevalence of “big data” – the exploding plethora of information and computing power to correlate it – impact[ed] (i) the scientific method’s theory/hypothesis formation, (ii) ...
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Is it provable that epistemically possible (possible for all I know) does not imply possible?

Here is an argument that it is not. Let's start with some equivalences: X is epistemically possible iff X is possible for all I know iff not (X is impossible given what I know) iff X is not ...
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What are atheism and agnosticism? [closed]

(Apologies for the crazy length question) Whenever the thorny issue of theism vs. atheism comes up -- especially on the internet -- a further issue always seems to arise concerning what these ...
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Can correspondence and coherence views of truth be compatible?

If in the course of interacting with an external world, a person is creating a set of coherent knowledge about this world, then there should be a mapping between their beliefs and the external facts. ...
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What is the “simple logical truth” that makes omniscience self-contradictory?

Patrick Grim claims in "Problems with Omniscience" that there is a "simple truth well established as a logical theorem", which shows that omniscience is a contradictory concept. I am failing to see ...
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Does Valberg's “personal horizon” entail life after death?

The personal horizon is, Valberg contends, the subject matter whose center each of us occupies, and which for each of us ceases with death. This ceasing to be presents itself solipsistically not ...
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What does Foucault mean by discursive practices or discursive constitutions in definition of discourse?

Foucault uses the concept of discursive practices or discursive constitutions in the definition of discourse. What does he mean by this concept? How are discursive practices different from ...