Questions tagged [epistemology]

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

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Can mathematical sentences in different theories be identified?

My question motivated by a part of this page from Saul Kripke's book Naming and Necessity, which is also viewable on google books. In the middle of the page he say something, which seems unnatural to ...
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Is it possible to have truth if objective randomness exists?

I will do my best to describe both of my terms as clearly as possible. I would describe true randomness as a process that has absolutely no predictability : even if you knew absolutely everything you ...
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How does induction relate to falsifiability?

I was thinking about the question How can I know that I am not immortal? and started wondering about the relation between induction and falsifiability. Regarding the cited question, one thinks: well, ...
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Have any philosophers applied the concept of "underdetermination" to non-scientific contexts?

Most resources I've found on underdetermination approach the subject within the context of science. That's definitely a fascinating area of study, but I'd like to explore ways of applying ...
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Do humans have skills we haven't discovered yet?

I was thinking about the invention of writing. Before we had writing, we didn't have writing; but we had the potential to have writing. We know this because cats and caterpillars don't have writing, ...
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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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Can there be information without a "knower"?

I am trying to wrap my head around the principle of conservation of information as formulated by Leonard Susskind and others, which seems to me at first glance to be incompatible with the 2nd law of ...
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Is it possible to not know that one knows p?

An axiom that is often included in standard modal logic is Kp => KKp If we use epistemic modal logic, so that K translates as 'he knows', then recalling p stands for a proposition, we have that Kp ...
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How does a realist account for causation between universals and particulars?

With respect to universals nominalists maintain that there are no universals and only particulars exists. Conversely, realists says that there are universals. Here is a sketch of an argument against ...
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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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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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Roko's Basilisk as Descartes' evil genius?

I'll try to pose a shortened version of Roko's Basilisk below and then ask about how it relates to Descartes' evil genius: The idea is that down the line may it be decades or centuries from now, ...
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Is there a philosophical term or theory that defines or describes the idea of 'epiphany'?

I am new to the philosophy stack exchange, so please let me know if I need to clarify this question further. I am curious if there is a distinction made in philosophical fields between a typical step-...
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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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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 ...
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What are the similarities/differences between how Kant thinks 'noumenon' limits understanding compared to C.S. Peirce?

Kant stated in Critique of Pure Reason, pg. 273: What our understanding acquires through this concept of a noumenon, is a negative extension; that is to say, understanding is not limited through ...
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What did Thomas Nagel intend to distinguish, in distinguishing 'impression' vs 'perception of reality'?

Source: pp 15-16, What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (1987) by Prof. Thomas Nagel  According to this view, the idea of a dream from which you can never wake up is not ...
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Have there been any attempts to "redo" epistemology without the factivity of knowledge?

Mainstream analytic epistemology seems to take for granted that for S to know p, p must be true. I do not share this intuition. It seems that to be properly internalist about knowledge, one can't ...
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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.
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How does Quine effectively shift from points he has made about knowledge acquisition to conclusions he makes about knowledge simpliciter?

Quine propagated forward an approach to epistemology wherein there was no need of any sort of justification "beyond observation and the hypothetico-deductive method" (Quine 1981). Quine is going ...
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Does 'to believe that P' imply 'to believe that P is true'?

Williams (1973) casually asserts that to believe that P is to believe that P is true. He explains what he means by that: To believe that so and so is one and the same as to believe that that thing ...
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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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How to justify Occam's Razor?

I'm aware of a few justifications for Occam's (or Ockham) Razor, as it's usually understood that extra factors/complexities should not be added unnecessarily. The only truly compelling justification I ...
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Is color actually intrinsic to the object?

I've always been of the view that color is essentially a human representation. That is, the production of the sensation of color is done in the brain and the particular wavelengths of light have ...
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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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How does Husserl's "bracketing" secure a truly presuppositionless study?

I'm reading from an anthology of essays by and about Husserl (collected by Joseph Kockelmans): More specifically, Husserl makes a strong argument against some of the internal problems of various ...
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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 ...
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How is the theory of divine revelation coherent?

There is a long history of Christian philosophy† drawing a distinction between knowledge gained from rational/empirical sources and knowledge from divine revelation. It seems Tertullian was one of the ...
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Is Chomskys universal grammar synthetic a priori?

Chomskys notion of a universal grammar is his way of comprehending that human languages appear to have a deep grammar, and that children appear to learn language as though they are primed for it. It ...
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Where does Kuhn talks about the five characteristics for the choice of theory?

Kuhn (1977, 321–2) identifies five characteristics that provide the shared basis for a choice of theory: 1. accuracy; 2. consistency (both internal and with other relevant currently accepted ...
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How would you know if nonobservable entities exist?

Nonphysical entities cannot be observed. Therefore such entities cannot be verified by observation. How could statements like "God exists" be even considered true? Why would anyone appeal to the ...
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Can we know the fundamental nature of space and time?

Can you please point me to an argument by a notable contemporary philosopher arguing why we may know the fundamental (metaphysical) nature of space and time? In a recent answer to a question I wrote ...
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If the Platonic world exists how would we know?

If we assume existence of a non-material world of ideas that mathematics describes there are some questions that a Platonist has to address. 1) How is the ideal world related to the real one, where ...
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What does Epistemic Closure mean?

I keep coming across this term and would appreciate it if someone could define it for me and also provide a relevant example.
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Descartes' Demon

This week I've been given to study from my highschool teacher Descartes' Demon argument but I have several doubts I fully understand it ,but let me put this in clear order : 1) I understand that ...
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Why is Tarski's notion of logical validity preferred to deductive one?

Its flaws are well-known and serious. To recall, an inference from A to B is valid iff all interpretations of "non-logical constants" that make A true also make B true. What are interpretations, a.k.a....
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Can we justify anything without resorting to 'a priori' truths?

Without a clear answer to the infinite regress problem, can we justify anything without resorting to 'a priori' truths? And if not, how is there a reliable standard for testing the validity of a ...
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How can an omniscient being prove it 's omniscient and not just delusional?

Let's assert the existence of an omniscient being for the sake of this question. (Questioning possibility of existence is e.g. done here.) By its very nature, the being knows it is omniscient. It ...
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What are the relations between supervenience, grounding and emergence in philosophy of science?

So, I am wondering if anyone could help me with the notions of grounding (supervenience?) and emergence in the modern discussions in philosophy of science. What are they and what is the relation ...
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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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How should we understand the oracle's dilemma in making a prediction?

Let's look at a thought experiment: There is an oracle who has exact knowledge of the state of a deterministic universe, so her predictions about the universe's future have always turned out to be ...
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Can it be rational to have beliefs one knows to be inconsistent?

It seems that the answer would be yes, especially when we think about the example of the preface paradox (authors stating in prefaces "the errors that are found herein are mine alone", i.e. believing ...
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How can I solve my contradictory thoughts about the relevance of human knowledge?

I have been thinking about how much we can know and more importantly: which knowledge should be relevant to us? First I will explain my thoughts to you. They will end in a questionable conclusion for ...
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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 ...
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How does Epistemology show that it's not a language game?

I'm looking for pointers towards texts that treat the issue of "doing philosophy with language" as a foundational problem-- which must be justified in order to go on and make meaningful statements ...
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What philosopher said that knowledge is about discerning differences?

I have heard that knowledge is discerning differences or to that effect. For example, if all things are the same such that there is no differentiating qualities, we can't really speak of anything ...
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What does "obtain" mean in philosophy jargon?

I keep running into this term "obtain" being used in what I suspect is specialized way, but I can't seem to find a definition for it. Here are two examples: From the fact that the first state of ...
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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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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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Why does science carry so much weight in philosophy when it is highly fallacious?

Science works like this: We observe some phenomenon X. We form one or more hypothesis about what the relationship between X and something else might be. We evaluate the predictive power of the ...

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