Questions tagged [epistemology]

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

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How can you determine if a hypothesis (mathematical logic ones) is falsifiable enough to be “good”?

We had a group discussion and the prof gave us the following question and left. The problem is that I hardly understand the question. How can you determine if a hypothesis (in particular, ...
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Can one have propositional knowledge without knowing the corresponding proposition?

The concept of propositional knowledge -- knowledge that one has through holding a justified belief in a proposition that states a fact -- is a foundational one in epistemology (for example, it is ...
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Does “Uncertainty is the only certainty” cause any paradox?

It seems to me that this avoids the self contradictory "everything is uncertain, even uncertainty" while allowing agnostic positions, by allowing only uncertainty as the only thing certain, sort of ...
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Is it true in some sense that the only “truth” people are capable of knowing is the “truth” that they assume to be true?

What are some viewpoints on the following assertion in philosophy and logic? Anything people argue to be true is only their assertion based on some axioms or premises which they assume to be true (...
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What is the procentual probability that we live in the objective reality independent of our consciousness rather than in some virtual reality?

I am aware than it is impossible to prove anything in real life. Therefore we can't prove that the picture of the reality we are percieving through our senses is a subjective picture of an objective ...
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Uncertainty and evidence

Under uncertainty, precise probability cannot be assigned, see my other question: How valid is assignment of probabilities when evidence is totally lacking, as in Pascal's Wager? In this case, either ...
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Has the manifestation of ideas been explored before?

I'm trying to figure out whether the manifestation of ideas has been explored before. It's similar to Richard Dawkin's concept of memes, but I'm not quite sure if it is the same. Suppose an ...
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Quine's perspective on laws of nature

I am studying Lewis and his best system account of laws of nature so I am wondering what is Quine's viewpoint on laws on nature and if his perspective is similar to the lewisian one.
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Is this an argument about the world or about human cognition?

This is a question about a thesis I have encountered regarding the relation of abstract mathematics ( Category Theory in particular ) with reality and the nature of human cognition. The argument goes ...
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Application of Epistemology to Robotics or other machine-based “exploration” systems?

So, as epistemology is the main branch of philosophy dealing with knowledge, it would be reasonable to assume that (multiple) people tried to apply ideas from it to practical knowlegde-accumulating ...
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Contemporary problem of induction

What is the contemporary opinion on the problem of induction? It seems that no justification can be given, according to the SEP and an Oxford lecturer. It seems that the SEP does not provide any ...
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Why are there never any disagreements about what date today is? [closed]

Today is 8/20/2019. I know this because my computer says so. But when I was growing up, people did not have computers to tell us the date. Yet somehow, everyone agreed on what date it was. And this ...
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Are some religious claims subject to empirical testing?

Almost all (Christian) theists assert that humans experience everlasting bliss in heaven. Is this possible? So the real issue is whether it is logically possible that an unending life (in which one ...
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Doubt about the possibility of knowing someone is actually saying the truth [closed]

Except for a few cases in which you can have proof someone is saying the truth, can you actually ever know if someone is being honest when they say things like "I love you", "this is nice" or "you ...
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Two questions on the principle of indifference

(Sorry if it is not within the format of the site to ask two questions like this, please tell me if I should break it up into two separate questions) The principle of indifference states that ...
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If a person claims to know anything could it be disproven by saying 'prove that we are not in a simulation'?

Everyone starts out at 0 and if anyone wants to say that they know something they have to prove that claim. Is the counter to this person claiming that they know something logically correct? Person 1:...
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What is the difference between faith and belief in philosophy?

Is there any difference between faith and belief philosophically speaking? I am trying to think of these two concepts as separate, but I am unable to unlink them. Is there any answer or any texts ...
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All philosophers are nerds. So, no squares are circles [duplicate]

Can the above argument be valid? If it can, I want to know why, as far as I see, even though the conclusion (no squares are circles.) is true, it doesn't seem to be following the premises (not a ...
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How does one argue for the rationality of assigning subjective probabilities in the context of Pascal’s Wager?

As a follow up from this discussion on a previous question I asked, I’m wondering how defenders of Pascal’s Wager/“strong” atheists who hold that the probability of God’s existence is zero justify ...
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In an argument: why True P and False C is invalid, but False P and True C is valid?

P= premises; C= conclusion. Some Americans are women (True). Brad Pitt is an American (True). Therefore, Brad Pitt is a woman (false)-- invalid. All dogs are ants (False). All ants are mammals(False)...
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Could an argument with false Premises and a true Conclusion be logically valid?

Am unsure (leaning more towards no): true P and true C is valid, false P and false C is valid, True P and false C is invalid, how about false P and true C? P= Premises; C= Conclusion. People who ...
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Would answering belief challenges be the same as the scientific method?

Let's say I believe this statement: "all swans are white". Someone comes and asks me these Socratic questions: "is it true that all swans are white?", "is there an instance that a swan is not white?", ...
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How can the position of skepticism avoid becoming incoherent on the problem of the criterion?

Concerning the problem of the criterion, there has been said to be three traditional responses: methodism, particularism, or skepticism. Although other philosophers have proposed that there are more ...
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The notion of knowledge for Kant and mathematical objects

As far as I understand the notion of knowledge in Kantian philosophy, we cannot speak of knowing something unless there is a relation between its concept and some object of intuition in experience. ...
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Why do we punish crime?

I have no formal training whatsoever in philosophy but have a question nonetheless. I am sorry if this is way off topic for this site. Crime begets punishment: let us say that punishment is prison. ...
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How can we decide which view to accept concerning our ultimate justification of our knowledge (Münchhausen trilemma)?

I recently came across the Münchhausen trilemma, which I think helps to explain my question. Basically, according to the trilemma, we have three options for explaining the ultimate justification of ...
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How valid is assignment of probabilites when evidence is totally lacking, as in Pascal's Wager?

The SEP article discussing Pascal's Wager states, Premise 1 presupposes that you should have a probability for God’s existence in the first place. However, perhaps you could rationally fail to ...
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Why is Plato's visible world said to be Heraclitean and Plato's intelligible world said to be Parmenidean?

I have been learning about Plato's Theory of Forms, and I have read that Plato's visible world is Heraclitean, and Plato's intelligible world is Parmenidean. I think I understand the parallel between ...
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Are formal sciences rationalistic and natural sciences empiricist?

As the title say, are the formal sciences (mathematics, logic, etc) fundamentally rationalistic while the natural ones (chemistry and physics) fundamentally empiricist? Physics, Chemistry, and ...
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Can Fallibilism itself be fallible?

It says: from IEP Fallibilism tells us that there is no conclusive justification and no rational certainty for any of our beliefs or theses. So, I am just applying fallibilist theses to ...
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Popper on probability

I cannot understand how and why Popper rejects the idea of a theory being "probably true". If a theory can be -more likely- than another (as he states), it means that a theory is more likely to be ...
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Using differential equation to estimate epistemological growth constant

I found some tweets (1,2) describing a philosophy paper as follows: I came across this paper from the academic journal of philosophy that tries to solve a differential equation for an ...
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Is the Münchhausen trilemma really a trilemma?

It claims there are three options of which none of them are satisfying. Circular argument doesn't prove anything because it's just when the premise is the same as the conclusion. x ∵ x Infinite ...
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David Lewis and probability

I have read a general overview on David Lewis in order to have an idea of his philosophical perspective and in particular about humean supervenience. I am wondering how Lewis considers probability in ...
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Can we know anything about the “outside”, if we are in a simulation?

Please note this question isn't about "simulation" as such. It is cast in this way to illustrate a particular sub-to-super ontology relationship: Given that all we see or seem, are the product of ...
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Has no epistemologist noticed the problem with “truth” before Gettier?

According to Wikipedia (indeed not the most trustworthy source, but the SEP article also portraits it this way) the classic belief-justification-truth method of defining knowledge has only been ...
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Who first studied “logical (ir)reversibility”?

Who first studied "logical (ir)reversibility" philosophically? By "logical (ir)reversibility" I mean questions like:Why is it easier to multiply large numbers than to factorize them? understand a ...
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Knowledge and certainty

From a French point of view, influenced by Descartes, knowledge is strongly linked to certainty: strictly speaking says Descartes, I cannot know anything unless it is impossible for me to doubt it, ...
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Why do some actions contain normative implications and some do not

Off the bat, my specific question is actually if someone can point me to the philosophic domain of inquiry which deals with the above question. In context, I am doing a paper on Rawls. Joseph Raz ...
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The extended problem of criterion

The problem of criterion simply states two claims: I can only identify instances of knowledge provided I already know what the ?>criteria for knowledge are I can only know what the criteria ...
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Explanation vs. prediction in statistics and in the philosophy of science?

In the realm of statistics and machine learning, a lot of discussion has arisen recently around the difference between explaining and predicting: That the two are not the same, and that the difference ...
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Are the philosophies of fallibilism, evidentialism and pragmatism mutually exclusive? [closed]

Are the philosophies of fallibilism, evidentialism and pragmatism mutually exclusive? Can these philosophies be compatible and/or complimentary
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Can a solipsist doubt?

I've been thinking about epistemological solipsism, which seemingly necessarily follows from metaphysical solipsism. Namely, that the "world" of the solipsist is one and the same with the self of the ...
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Does our knowledge increase or decrease when we assign 0.5 probability to our belief, after being presented with new evidence?

Suppose there was a girl who wanted to check if she was pregnant. She was relatively confident that she is NOT because contraceptives that she and her boyfriend used are very reliable. Also the ...
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Does falsifiability merely demarcate science from non-science, or does it actually say we should reject non-science?

I see from a quick read of the Wikipedia article that falsifiability is argued by some philosophers to be the defining criterion of science, setting it apart from non-science (there's lots of talk ...
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Is knowledge possible without theory?

Knowledge in the "hard sciences" seems to depend entirely on attested facts upon which a theory is built, the goal of which is to imagine the most plausible none-attested facts (which are in truth no ...
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Pragmatic encroachment: how is the basis for X being accurate different from the basis of when it is accurate to say someone knows that X is accurate?

When is it accurate to say that a person (P) knows that X is true/accurate? This question seems to be answered by the idea/concept of 'Pragmatic Encroachment'; The basic idea/concept of 'Pragmatic ...
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Is there a reason to know? [closed]

I am going to talk about the necessity of the reason to know by talking about the nature of spacetime, and therefore, of our nature. I'm not sure whether this is specific enough for StackExchange, but ...
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What is the the difference between common sense and phronesis?

For refference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_sense https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phronesis For me this started with Giambattista Vico who pretty much had the same idea of "common sense" ...
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Is the story “The happiness of fish” in Zhuangzi about naïve realism?

Here is the story, translated by Victor Mair: Zhuangzi and Huizi were strolling along the bridge over the Hao River. Zhuangzi said, “The minnows swim about so freely, following the openings ...

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