Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 175 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [epistemology]

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

8
votes
2answers
1k views

How do we know how to follow a rule?

This question seems to either be at the forefront or the background of countless philosophical enquiries. Much has been written on Wittgenstein's rule paradox (e.g. Kirke's Wittgenstein: On Rules and ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

How can we know if God is lying or not? [closed]

Stated more generally: Are there entities whose claims—by the nature of their existence—are outside the scope of rational inquiry? Consider the example of the Abrahamic God, the relevant matter not ...
10
votes
6answers
46k views

What is the relationship between philosophy and science?

While philosophy and science as held as separate disciplines (and often taught in completely different colleges within a university [i.e. College of Liberal Arts vs. College of Science]), it is ...
8
votes
3answers
338 views

What does 'consciousness' indicate in the context of the anthropic principle?

The anthropic principle postulates that our universe is selected for the presence of consciousness in it. I cite Wikipedia: the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations ...
1
vote
1answer
131 views

Structural understanding vs. emotional connection [closed]

Question: Is there a line of philosophical thought or a named theory/area-of-inquiry that deals with the phenomenon of a person perceiving/believing that appreciation for an event/topic/item decreases ...
16
votes
17answers
43k views

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 ...
4
votes
6answers
991 views

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 ...
14
votes
4answers
8k views

What are some methods of defining things?

In my experience, many definitions define an object/idea by merely listing it's characteristics. For example: Avocado a large, usually pear-shaped fruit having green to blackish skin, a single ...
16
votes
7answers
817 views

Is it possible for a layperson to suitably evaluate scientific disputes?

As a layperson, I try not to fall victim to the Dunning-Kruger effect. As an example, one area where I know that I am vulnerable is when biochemistry intersects with nutrition and disease. Is it ...
7
votes
3answers
4k views

Is a priori and a posteriori knowledge objective or subjective?

In a description of David Hume, examples of a priori and a posteriori are given: a posteriori: "Dogs are carnivores" a priori: "Bachelors are unmarried" I am having trouble differentiating between ...
-1
votes
5answers
699 views

What are some good critical readings of the film The Matrix?

Where might I find some thoughtful philosophical or critical readings of The Matrix, in particular which treat the primary theme of virtual reality?
17
votes
5answers
4k views

Can a lack of knowledge or understanding invalidate a positive claim?

Consider the example of causal determinism. It can be phrased in many ways, all with identical meaning: - The idea that "every event, including human cognition and behavior, decision and action, is ...
1
vote
1answer
320 views

Why don't color blind people have a different theory of physics? [closed]

I have heard from numerous sources that our senses cannot be relied upon and therefore all knowledge that we have is subjective & relative. In other words, many people claim that variance in ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

How to characterize Kant's usage of the term “noumena”?

Wikipedia gives an explanation of Kant's usage of the term noumena, part of which reads as follows: By Kant's account, when we employ a concept to describe or categorize noumena (the objects of ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the best scientific argumentation against the Dust Theory?

The "Dust Theory", by Greg Egan, states that... ... there is no difference, even in principle, between physics and mathematics, and that all mathematically possible structures exist, among them ...
6
votes
2answers
244 views

Are there any philosophers who advance a non-foundationalist absolutism?

I'm sure my terminology is poor here (background in math more than philosophy), but are there any philosophers who have advanced a distinctly non-relativist epistemology without ultimately coming out ...
12
votes
1answer
5k views

Representation versus cartography in Deleuze and Guattari?

Can someone help me contextualize and concretize the theme of representation (what they sometimes call "tracing") versus cartography ("mapping," "diagramming," even "meta-modeling", etc.) in Deleuze ...
29
votes
8answers
3k views

To what extent do we choose our beliefs?

Are we free to choose our beliefs? Or is our belief in a proposition something that is thrust upon us by the weight of the evidence we have in favor and against the truth of it? For example, is it ...
5
votes
1answer
825 views

Can Kant's Copernican revolution be viewed as an extension of Wittgensteinian language games?

Forgive me if this question is clumsily posed. The so-called 'Copernican revolution' of declaring the mind as bringing objecthood and properties to objects, rather than their perception bringing ...
5
votes
5answers
199 views

How can adults understand the feelings of infants?

Freud claimed that we forget our childhood, not because our brain is not powerful enough to retain memories, but because our first three years of childhood are so daunting and difficult that our brain ...
3
votes
0answers
946 views

how are rationalism and empiricism related to modern epistemology? Should epistemology be seen as incorporating both? [closed]

Epistemology by simplest definition is the theory of knowledge and one of the things it addresses is the source of knowledge. On the other hand we know that rationalism (deduction) and empiricism (...
6
votes
2answers
212 views

Philosophy of Philosophy and Experience [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What is the practical use of philosophy? Does philosophy move us toward a deeper understanding of the human condition, or does philosophy push us away from understanding the ...
16
votes
3answers
666 views

Are all philosophers subject to a variation of the Socrates problem?

Obviously, the specific problem of knowing who Socrates was and what he taught is wholly unique to the man. However, reading books and articles about philosophers and philosophy, I'm struck by the ...
21
votes
12answers
3k views

How does one tell apart left from right?

I can look at one hand and know (not necessarily immediately) that "This is my left hand". How do I know this? (How can I be so successful at judging this?) This question is inspired by the classic ...
14
votes
3answers
445 views

Are there JTB epistemologies which reject the knowledge of some Gettier problems, but in which religious experiences still justify belief?

Such is my current worldview that there is no religious experience or numinous feeling that could justify faith in any god. This is because, in the wake of a slew of discoveries about the ...
3
votes
1answer
94 views

Is the classification of information a result of properties inherent to that information or inherent to human reasoning?

In a paper I wrote for a class last quarter, I began with the concept of "music as a lens for culture" and ultimately ended up drawing parallels between culture, language, and music -- more ...
82
votes
31answers
7k views

What would it take in a book to convince a rational person that it had been written by or directly inspired by a god?

Many of the world's religions are based on a book or text that adherents claim to have been written by or directly inspired by a god, perhaps omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent. My question is ...
3
votes
1answer
940 views

What are the major points of Meillassoux's critique of correlationism?

What are the major points of Quentin Meillassoux's critique of correlationism? I am beginning to work through After Finitude and am finding it difficult to grasp exactly what his critique consists in;...
14
votes
3answers
809 views

Is the simulation hypothesis outside of science?

On the question of the simulation hypothesis (i.e. that reality is a simulation), a friend of mine once remarked he didn't accept it on the grounds of Ockham's razor. To me (with my admittedly ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Was Rorty a Relativist?

Richard Rorty spent much of his career defending his work against accusations of Relativism, and yet his name is often mentioned in such discussions. Are these accusations of Relativism directed at ...
8
votes
1answer
209 views

What are the most important papers regarding the epistemic significance of disagreement?

There's been a debate recently about what is the right way to react to learning that you disagree with someone you take to be your epistemic peer. One approach is the "Equal Weight View". I associate ...
38
votes
11answers
5k views

What should philosophers know about math and natural sciences?

My question is whether a lack of knowledge about formal mathematics or theoretical science in general would have an impact on a philosopher's ability to think and make judgments. Why should a ...
5
votes
3answers
898 views

What is the difference between mathematical knowledge and other knowledge?

We know that these can all be considered as knowledges: 1 + 1 = 2 free delivery for purchases over $100 there are approximately 100 people in this village Alice is dating Bob universe is probably ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the philosophical implications of the uncertainty principle?

What, if any, are the major philosophical consequences of the uncertainty principle? Wikipedia describes the principle this way: [T]he principle implies that it is impossible to simultaneously ...
14
votes
7answers
21k views

What are examples of analytic a posteriori knowledge?

There is the analytic/synthetic distinction and the a priori/a posteriori distinction. These two distinctions form four types of knowledge: analytic a priori synthetic a priori analytic a posteriori ...
8
votes
1answer
170 views

What journal should I read for cutting-edge epistemology?

I'm a PhD candidate, but I still don't read many journals. Where should I start if I want to be up-to-date? One of my areas is epistemology, but this can be a more open ended question if need be.
18
votes
2answers
797 views

Is Science about Truth or Adequate Models?

Is it the general view amongst philosophers of science that science isn't about truth but rather adequately predictive models and therefore it doesn't make sense to speak of a scientific theory as ...
41
votes
9answers
2k views

What basis do we have for certainty in current scientific theories?

Given there is much past scientific belief that we now know NOT to be true, what basis do we have for the seemingly increasing certainty in our scientific beliefs held today being true? On the one ...
15
votes
3answers
636 views

What epistemological systems effectively handle the infinite regress?

I have been following apologetics for quite some time and have run into many claims that certain epistemological methods typically associated with non-theism (for example, empiricism and logical ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Existence of an Intelligible Physical World beyond the Mind [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Are there any philosophical arguments to disprove or weaken solipsism? What justification(s) exist for the generally-agreed-upon axiom that a physical world beyond our mind ...
10
votes
2answers
312 views

Did Kuhn “recant”?

I've heard (from a source which now escapes me) that later in his life Kuhn retreated from some of the more relativistic claims of The Structure of Sceintific Revolutions. Specifically, I think I ...
14
votes
6answers
403 views

Is a language its dictionary?

A dictionary defines words in a language, in terms of other words in that same language. An English dictionary is not the same as a Spanish dictionary, simply because the sets of English words and ...
29
votes
4answers
11k views

What are the philosophical implications of Gödel's First Incompleteness Theorem?

Gödel's First Incompleteness Theorem states Any effectively generated theory capable of expressing elementary arithmetic cannot be both consistent and complete. In particular, for any ...
11
votes
7answers
1k views

When and why do we say that two things are the same?

In a preceeding question I have asked about the foundations of rational reasonning. It seems the concept of identity plays a key role. However "identity" is not observed in the real world: our mind ...
55
votes
20answers
12k views

Is the “omniscient-omnipotent-omnipresent” definition of God consistent?

God is commonly defined as an omniscient (infinite knowledge), omnipotent (unlimited power), omnipresent (present everywhere) entity. Is there any logical inconsistency in this definition? I have ...
21
votes
6answers
6k views

Are there any philosophical arguments to disprove or weaken solipsism?

My philosophy professor once told our class: The only people who believe in solipsism are infants and madmen. I was inclined to agree at the time. Yet years later, I have still not encountered any ...
7
votes
2answers
314 views

What kind of things do we actually know about teapots?

This question is not meant to deal with the religious side of the Teapot (or FSM or the Invisible Pink Unicorn), but rather the inherent epistemological claims and their export to other areas of ...
12
votes
9answers
4k views

When can we call an explanation “rational”?

There are a lot of questions involving rational judgment, rational choice, rational explanation, etc... And at the same time, it seems that "being rational" is a guiding principle for a lot of people. ...
20
votes
5answers
4k views

Is Skepticism the most rational standpoint?

Is Philosophical Skepticism - the one that advocates true knowledge is impossible, the most rational standpoint? I am asking this based on the observation that there are very few things whose ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the relevance of falsifiability in regards to logical arguments?

Is it reasonable to classify logical propositions that rely on deduction and are non-falsifiable as being inherently not worthy pursuing or does this just applies to inductive reasoning?