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 do we assume that we know there is a difference between something and nothing?

For example, we ask questions like: Why is there something rather than nothing? it implies that we know the characteristics of what constitutes nothing and something. What if what we perceive as ...
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Can every proposition be written in a subject-verb form?

Is there a proposition, or more concretely some fact about the world, that cannot be written in a subject-verb (or subject-predicate) form? I was wondering if this is a fundamental limitation of our ...
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How does Kant answer the objection against mind-dependent reality - which is that I can imagine a time when there were no minds?

Kant wrote: ... if I remove the thinking subject, the whole material world must at once vanish because it is nothing but a phenomenal appearance in the sensibility of ourselves as a subject, and a ...
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are fundamental questions like “cogito ergo sum” even provable? [closed]

The rationalist descartian position states that everything can be doubted except doubt itself. With the phrase "cogito ergo sum" it claims to establish the existence of one ones existence, if i did ...
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How does Kant assert existence of the noumena, if indeed he does?

According to Kant the thing-in-itself or noumena is strictly hidden from us and phenomena are conditioned by the categories of the mind such as time, space, causality amongst others. These categories ...
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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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How can one in principle distinguish causality from observed regularity?

Hume showed that one cannot infer cause & effect in nature by induction alone. We only notice that when event A occurs then so does event B. If event A always occurs before event B we are still ...
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Physics and Nozick's explanatory self-subsumption [closed]

What happened with Nozick's idea of the self-subsuming explanation after his Philosophical Explanations? In particular and actually only, I'm interested to learn about published attempts to use or ...
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How is a priori synthetic knowledge possible?

One of Kant's example of a priori synthetic knowledge is the knowledge of geometry, that is of space itself. It is a priori as it cannot be otherwise - it is independent of experience because it is a ...
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What is value of a philosphical argument/theory when a conclusion can never be reached?

I have seen several questions and discussions recently on this forum concerning p-zombies, whether or not what we call consciousness is a tangible entity or merely an illusion or elaborate scheme ...
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Was Gödel the first person to bring up that truth always exceeds the grasp of proof?

Was Gödel the first person to pose and solve this question in mathematics? In the larger philosophical debate, has this question been posed before? Say by Plato or Aristotle? One could interpret for ...
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Has formalized philosophy become stagnant and obsolete? [duplicate]

The first philosophers had no sources and no vocabulary other than what their own powers of reason could muster. But the attitude many on this site seem to take regarding "philosophy" reminds me of ...
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Is induction as a means to reach a conclusion rational?

According to Humes's argument, induction by its nature assumes a uniformity that is not justified. This is a very deep and interesting observation, and a point often used by the religious to justify ...
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Are there proper terms to describe and differentiate the observed and the observation?

What are the accepted philosophical terms that help differentiate between the object and the representation of the object, what is observed and the observation, the territory and the map. Question: ...
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I'm running into this weirdness using the concept of certainty. Why?

I cannot be certain of anything. (Assumption.) I am not certain that I cannot be certain of anything. By asserting (2), I am certain that I am not certain that I cannot be certain of anything. I can ...
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Is modern information technology fundamentally changing the way humans acquire and process knowledge?

It would appear that in the contemporary world, it is hardly necessarily for the individual to 'know' anything. Far more important is the ability to cull knowledge from readily available repositories ...
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Why does statistics work?

Statistics deals with probability, where even an extremely unlikely event has some chance of happening. What if there's a series of these unlikely events going on for thousands of year. I mean it ...
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Is there such a thing as one true love? [closed]

You can often hear couples saying their partner is their one true love in life. Supposing one half of the couple (either the husband or wife) was not born and did not exist in the world, would the ...
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What does it mean to say something in philosophy “goes back to” something else?

For example, "this goes back to Kant, which goes back to Plato."
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How can a mathematician interested in the foundation of mathematics be satisfied by an always partial knowledge of the mathematics?

I don't study Mathematics at university, and I probably will never understand of what mathematics consists of in all its aspects. But I love to find structures and links betwen ideas, and to ask ...
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Is the anthropic principle in physics falsifiable?

The Anthropic Principle states that the fundamental physics of the universe must allow the possibility of conscious life in the universe - as that is an observable fact. It's often qualified as ...
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How exactly does antireductionism undermine the scientific method?

I was reading a wikipedia article on Antireductionism. What I cannot understand is how exactly does antireductionism undermine the "scientific method" to a certain degree?
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Which comes first - truth or provability?

When I'm thinking about mathematics, I usually imagine that every sentence in the language of arithmetic is either true or false, in reality. Thus, I imagine that truth comes first. Afterwards come ...
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How should we understand Hegel's “Absolute Idea”?

I've read about Hegel's ideas on philosophical progress: Hegel's main philosophical project was to take these contradictions and tensions and interpret them as part of a comprehensive, evolving, ...
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What are the methods to evaluate a supernatural statement as carefully as possible? [closed]

I've found out that it is hard to evaluate the truth of a statement which has following 5 properties: They concern events in the future. They are so supernatural, to the point of being outside of the ...
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Is meditation valid to study consciousness scientifically?

In the study of consciousness, neuroscience observes mental phenomena through physical correlations, using techniques such as fMRI, PET and EEG. These are considered valid and reproductible, and can ...
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What are the most basic assumptions one has to make in order to conduct science?

I often wondered: What are the most basic assumptions I have to make before I can even start thinking about life, universe and the rest? So far I have boiled them down to three: There is a world, a ...
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What are some good examples of how structuralism is used in the humanities?

I'm aware that Levi-strauss used structuralist ideas in anthropology - are there any simple examples of how he used these ideas. I'm also aware of it being used in literature - how is that done. Are ...
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Is “I have a false belief” a self-contradictory claim?

I have a friend who said "I have a false belief that I might be able to do [some activity]." When I asked her to clarify this statement, she said, "I believe I can do it, but I also believe that I'm ...
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The coherentist solution to Agrippa’s Trilemma and the possibility of pure/impure justification?

I'm trying to get a grasp on coherentism and what is proposes is the epistemological justification for knowledge. From what I've taken so far, coherentism relies on what is commonly referred to as "...
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263 views

What was the importance of the Liars Paradox in Stoic Logic?

Chrysippus, an influential stoic philosopher wrote 21 books (chapters) in 12 works on the Liars Paradox. This implies that this paradox was of some importance to their epistomology and logic. Why?
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Is Scruton correct in characterising the Transcendental World of Kants?

Scruton in his Sexual Desire, a philosophical investigation says we must distinguish the world of human experience from the world of scientific observation. In the first we exist as agents, taking ...
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What useful definitions have no direct or indirect reference to reality?

(late edit: I have come to the conclusion that no words (or claims) have 'direct' reference to reality since all words are about people's conception. Words reference particular concepts in people's ...
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A priori - knowledge that must be independent of experience?

In "Naming and Necessity" Kripke talks a lot about the notion of a priori. At one point (quoted below) he mentions that some philosophers changed the "can" in the definition of a priori knowledge to ...
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What types of claims (beliefs/ideas/opinions) are there?

I am so confused about the many different a vague words people use when talking about claims. Some people talk about belief as separate from fact and value. Some separate opinion from belief. If you ...
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Is the mathematical notion of a “standard model” a metaphysical or a (purely) epistemic distinction?

When doing mathematics and providing models that satisfy a given theory, we differentiate between standard and non-standard models. Now, assume you are a platonist and believe that the objects ...
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Transcendental Idealism and past time

According to Kant, time is part of the phenomenal realm. What would Kant say about past events such as the big bang when no minds existed? Would he say we can't know such things?
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“Fallacy of failure to comprehend”? [closed]

Is there a name for the logical fallacy of assuming that if one can't personally understand something, it must not be valid? For example, I've heard people refuting scientific evidence on the ...
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Is scientism a self defeating epistemology?

Some who have argued against the validity of scientism have argued that the view that only science can uncover truth is not a scientific discovery but rather a epistemology. Hence it has been claimed ...
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Is Truth the Primary Epistemic Goal?

There is broad agreement that knowledge is more than just true belief. What, though, must be added to true belief to get knowledge? According to traditional epistemology, two more ingredients are ...
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Is Parmenides a Dualist?

It's commonly understood that Parmenides denied the reality of change. That the world we perceive is an illusion. But is Parmenides better understood as the SEP indicates: Both Plato and ...
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876 views

Are Douglas Hofstadter's views on consciousness taken seriously by philosophers?

I'm reading "Godel, Escher, Bach", and Hofstadter's idea that consciousness emerges out of strange loops born out of experience. Now, I know nothing about the philosophy of consciousness at all. But ...
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Applying Bayes' theorem to Sleeping Beauty

Suppose we believe the "thirder" position of the Sleeping Beauty Problem. That is, we believe that P(Heads | Waking up) = 1/3. Applying Bayes' theorem, we get P(Heads | Waking up) = P(Waking up | ...
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Would repeated coin flips change the answer in the sleeping beauty problem?

Suppse Sleeping beauty is told that there was some large number of coin flips, and that she is being woken on the nth flip as a result of it being heads or tails. Should that change her guess from if ...
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What is meant by transcendental idealism?

What exactly is meant by transcendential idealism? Is it simply the idea that we can't possibly observe things-in-themselves directly (like idealism), so (unlike idealism) we know they exist, but not ...
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Relation of Gödel's incompleteness theorems and Karl Popper falsification

Falsifiability is considered a positive (and often essential) quality of a hypothesis because it means that the hypothesis is testable by empirical experiment and thus conforms to the standards of ...
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What is the all (sabba) in the buddhist suttas and philosophical context?

What does the Buddha mean by 'the all' (sabba) as found in the suttas? How is this perspective categorized philosophically and how does this perspective compare with other modern philosophies? I have ...
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Inductive reasoning and justification

Most people agree that knowing something one acquired from inductive reasoning is knowledge, that is justified true belief. For example we observed for years, that Sun rises from the East, we still ...
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Is the idea of dividing the universe into particles anything more than a convenience?

In theory, we speak of a particle as having properties. In reality, the measurement of any property is just an interaction between the target to be measured, and the measuring apparatus, where the ...
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Translations of doctrine and theory [closed]

All translation is interpretation of some sort; What is a good practical method(s) for seeing through the bias of translators and teachers to arrive at the best understanding of the original meaning ...