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 - and what's the place of experts in a democracy?

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 there 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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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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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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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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1answer
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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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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 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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Is 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? Given the ...
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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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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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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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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 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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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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1answer
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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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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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Is the problem of logical omniscience intractable?

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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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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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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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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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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2answers
106 views

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 ...
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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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Have any modern philosophers redone Descartes' Meditations?

With insights we get from the cognitive sciences, and advancement in philosophy in general (such as the coherentist theory of Truth) we would definitely do the Meditations differently.
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Looking for a book to compliment Zammito and Mohanty in understanding the ethos of post positivistic realism

There are two books which I consider to be indispensable to an understanding of contemporary western culture’s post-truth/alternative facts (scientific and cultural post modernism/structuralism/...
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1answer
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Arendt on Factual Truth in “Truth and Politics”

I'm reading Hannah Arendt's "Truth and Politics" (1967). I thought I was getting it, but then I read two statements that to me, seem to be in conflict with one another: "Factual truth, on the ...
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Do good explanations have to be true?

Is it so that whenever one gives an explanation to a question starting from 'why' or 'how' the explanation that we receive in return always is true in nature? From one perspective, an explanation is ...
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Does a priori knowledge exist and can we prove objectivity through it?

My friend and I got into an argument around Kant's categorical imperative. Eventually, ignoring all of that rigmarole, he argued that a priori knowledge was subjective. Things like 4 > 3 don't have to ...
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What is evidence?

I know I should know what evidence is, but I have been unable to find an in-depth definition of it. I originally thought that it was a when an argument against a theory or hypotheses was proven ...
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Does Psychology benefit Philosophy?

This question got me thinking: It is widely held that Philosophy precedes the Sciences, birthing them. and continue to inform them. It is also evident that there are times when science has informed ...
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Is there any study about how half-baked philosophies encourage maladaptive thoughts? [closed]

There are many schools of philosophy that advocate refuting perceived phenomena, for example: Taoism: the bad equals the good, why be afraid or avoid the bad ones? Science: before proving it ...
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Can “free will is an illusion” be proven logically? [closed]

What is your view or argument?
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Objectivity and subjectivity

What are all the different ways that we can define these two ideas. Do there actually exist things that we can say with certainty are Objective and things which exist that are absolutely subjective or ...
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Can you adequately discuss Philosophy, without doing philosophy?

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 interpret the listener's point ...
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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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Explain kant's conception of causality as an a priori category prescribed by the understanding to all possible objects of experience?

How does causality relate to the a priori and experience? I am having trouble connecting the dots. Any help would be great!
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How are the assumptions underlying logic chosen?

Logic works based on certain assumptions about its rules. How are these axiomatic assumptions selected in the first place, given that a system of logic does not exist prior to the point of selection? ...
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Does Philosophy benefit from parsimony?

It is well established doctrine to apply Occam's razor to scientific theoretical development. The basis for which may range over the demonstrated practical success of the principle, to a vocational/...
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Question about the “catch-all” hypothesis as a response to the “bad lot” objection

In response to van Fraassen's "bad lot" objection, I have seen in multiple papers (and in the response of Lipton, from what I remember) refer to the idea of the use of a 'catch-all' hypothesis which ...