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Epistemology

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Title: Epistemology


1
Epistemology Theory of Knowledge
2
  • Traditionally divided into two categories
  • A. Rationalism
  • B. Empiricism

3
Rationalism Those who assert that by reason
alone we can discover knowledge
4
  • I. The school emphasizes that our senses
    cannot give any certain knowledge
  • II. True knowledge is already within our minds
    in the form of innate ideas which we do not
    acquire, but are born with
  • III. Plato and Descartes are examples of
    Rationalism

5
Empiricism Those who assert that we obtain
knowledge solely by our senses
6
  • I. Empiricism has usually developed in
    countries where the dominant interests have been
    practical and worldly (US and Great Britain)
  • II. Modern Empiricism grew out of the
    philosophical struggles in 17th century England,
    when that country was rapidly developing,
    commercially and industrially
  • III. Roger Bacon, John Locke, George Berkley,
    and David Hume are examples

7
Plato (Aristocles)
8
Writings
  • I. Socratic Period
  • A. The Apology contains account of
    Socrates speech in defense of himself at his
    trial
  • B. The Crito A Platonic defense as being a
    loyal citizen of Athens

9
  • C. The Euthyphro. The Laches, and the
    Charmides discusses the ideas of goodness and
    prudence
  • D. The Protagoras discusses virtue and its
    teachability
  • E. The two Hippias (the Major and Minor)
    seen as a spirited erotic tale the Major
    attempts to understand the concepts of beauty

10
  • II. The Transition Period
  • A. The Lysis treats the concept of
    friendship
  • B. The Cratylus devoted to the philosophy
    of language
  • C. The Euthdemus directed against the
    logical fallacies of some of the later Sophists
  • D. The Menexenus discussion of Sohistic
    rhetoric

11
  • III. The Period of Maturity (theory of ideas
    being developed)
  • A. The Meno again takes up the teachability
    of virtue
  • B. The Phaedo doctrines of ideas and
    immortality of the soul are interwoven
  • C. The Symposium the theory of Ideas
    applied to the realm of the beautiful

12
  • D. The Republic rests on same dualism as The
    Phaedo, concerned with this world and its
    problems, contains material on ethics, the
    Allegory of the Cave, and the myth of the fate
    of the soul
  • E. The Phaedrus (Once regarded as first work
    of Plato), a work on love and Eros contains
    Orphic-Pythagorean theory of transmigration of
    souls

13
The Works of Old Age A decline in Ontology
  • I. The Parmenides Socrates defending himself
    against a series of criticisms of the theory of
    ideas by Zeno and the Eleatic School
  • II. Theatetus epistemelogical concerns on
    theory of ideas

14
  • III. The Sophist a continuation of The
    Theaetus, main attack is the Sophists
  • IV. The Statesman views the true ruler as the
    Knower who alone possesses truthenlightened
    despotism
  • V. The Philebus a short discussion on the
    one and many, shows relationship of pleasure to
    the good

15
  • VI. The Timaeus the only dialogue concerning
    natural sciencecontains a theory of creation
  • VII. The Critias discusses the ideal agrarian
    state projected onto the earliest days of Athens
  • VIII. The Hemocrates describes the
    degeneration from the original ideal state to the
    present
  • IX. The Laws (last work), basic concepts of
    The Republic are reemphasized, some concessions
    to real life

16
Platos Epistemelogy
  • I. Cannot be found systematically in any one
    work
  • II. The Theaetetus considers knowledge,
    conclusion is negative
  • A. Knowledge is not sense- perception
  • B. Knowledge is not simply true judgment

17
  • C. Knowledge is not true judgment plus an
    account
  • D. Characteristics of true knowledge
  • 1. infallible
  • 2. of the real

18
Theory of Form or Ideas
  • I. Knowledge is related to the good, but not
    the good itself
  • II. Knowledge is in the eternal realm of the
    essences
  • III. There is a world of being
    (Parmenides)unchanging ideals
  • IV. There is also the world of becoming
    (Heraclitus)ever-changing

19
  • V. There is a third realm (The Timaeus) called
    space
  • VI. An interpretation of the theory of ideas
  • A. Any attempt to reduce it to a principle
    and interpret it as a whole is futile
  • B. The concept of the idea must not be
    interpreted as being a subjective concept in the
    mind it has an objective reality

20
  • C. Ideas have a three-fold significance
  • 1. Ontologicalin that they represent real
    being
  • 2. Teleologicalall ideas have ends and aims
    to their being
  • 3. Logicalthe ideas enable us to bring order
    into the chaos of Individual beings

21
  • D. The ideas exist in a sphere apart from our
    reality
  • 1. The Phaedo teaches that the soul existed
    before its union with the body in a
    transcendental realm
  • 2. The process of knowledge consists
    essentially in recollection
  • 3. God or the demiurge form things of this
    world according to the model of the Forms

22
  • E. The Philebus, there is a strong Pythagorean
    influence
  • 1. Nature is reality is numbers
  • 2. Uses Pythagorean opposites
  • 3. Origin of Ideas is the One

23
Allegory of the Cave
  • I. Found in Book 7 of The Republic

24
  • II. Knowledge advances by stages
  • A. From sense perception it proceeds to pure
    thought (pure mathematics)
  • B. From pure thought is proceeds to the idea
    (mathematical knowledge to dialectical science
  • C. From the ideal to the realm beyond (from
    ideas to the Good)

25
  • III. The allegory shows the ascent of the mind
    from the lower sections to the higher as an
    epistemological progress
  • A. Prisoners represent the majority of
    humankind
  • B. We live in a world of shadows
  • C. The view of the world is distorted by the
    shadows
  • D. We cling to our distorted views

26
  • IV. The cave also represents the importance of
    proper education

27
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28
Descartes (1591-1650)

29
I. Cartesian Doubt A. Considered to be the
founder of modern philosophyfirst philosopher
to allow the new physics and astronomy to effect
his philosophical system
30
  • II. During the Thirty Years War (1619) in
    Bavaria he had a dream in which he said the
    spirit of Truth opened to him the treasures of
    all the sciences
  • A. He recorded this incident in Discourses on
    Method (1637)
  • B. Second major work is the Meditations
    (1642)
  • 1. In the Meditations he preaches the duty
    of doubt

31
  • 2. Wanted to go beyond the senses to
    beginning of knowledge
  • 3. In the Second Meditations he uses wax as
    an example of how our senses deceive us
  • 4. By concentrating only on what he knew for
    certain, he began what we know as Cartesian
    doubt

32
  • C. The methodology of Cartesian doubt
  • 1. Begins by doubting everything that he
    could manage to doubt
  • a. First begins doubting sense- experience

33
  • b. What thing I cannot doubt is my own
    experience While I wanted to think everything
    false, it must necessarily be that I who thought
    was something and remarking this, I THINK
    THEREFORE I AM, was so certain that all most
    extravagant suppositions of the skeptics were
    incapable of upsetting it. I judged that I could
    receive it without scruple as the first
    principle of the philosophy that I sought

34
  • 2. Having set a secure foundation, he sets to
    work to rebuild the edifice of knowledge
  • a. I am a thing that thinks
  • b. My existence is different from the
    physical world that the soul is wholly
    distinct from the body
  • c. Why was the Cogito so evident? Because
    it is clear and distinctthus, all things
    that we conceive clearly and distinctly are true

35
  • d. He deals with knowledge of our
    bodieshere he uses the example of wax
  • e. Proving the existence of an External
    World can be done only by proving the existence
    of God

36
  • 3. His Proof of Gods existence (A revision of
    Anselms Ontological Argument
  • a. Everything has a cause (including our
    ideas)
  • b. We have an idea of God
  • c. Nothing less than God is adequate to cause
    our idea of God

37
  • 4. Besides the ideas of self and God, there was
    another set of ideas which were seen to be innate
    without any reference to the external worldthe
    truth of mathematics
  • 5. All other knowledge comes to us us from the
    outside world

38
  • III. Empirical Emphases
  • A. Descartes realized that one could proceed
    by deduction only a short distance from the apex
    of a pyramid
  • B. A deduction from intuitively self- evident
    principles is of a limited usefulness in
    scienceit would yield only the most general of
    laws

39
  • C. He also posited a belief that one cannot
    determine from a mere conclusion of general
    laws, the cause of physical processes
  • D. For one to be able to deduce a statement
    about a particular effect, it would be necessary
    to include among the premises information about
    the circumstances under which the events occur

40
  • E. An important tool for observation and
    experimentation is to provide knowledge of the
    conditions under which events of a given type
    takes place

41
  • IV. Primary Qualities and Secondary Qualities
  • A. In his doubting process he had to prove
    what is clear and distinct about a physical
    objecthe would use a lump of wax as an example
  • 1. We understand the real nature of wax
    through intuition
  • 2. Such intuition is to be distinguished
    from the sequence of appearances

42
  • 3. He would distinguish between those
    primary qualities which all bodie must possess
    and secondary qualities which exist only in
    the perceptual experience of the subject

43
  • B. He believed that God created a universe of
    infinite extension (thus, no vacuum) and
    motionscience thus reduced to measurement and
    mathematics
  • 1. All change must come through motion
  • 2. Motion could neither increase nor
    decrease, but only transferred from one body to
    another

44
  • 3. The universe continues to run as a machine
    and each body persists in a state of motion in a
    straight line the geometrically simplest form in
    which God set it going, unless acted on by an
    external force

45
  • V. General Scientific Laws
  • A. From his understanding of extension, he
    would develop several important physical
    principles
  • B. He seemed to believe that because the
    concepts of extension and motion and clear and
    distinct, certain generalizations about these
    concepts must be considered as a priori truths

46
  • 1. One generalization is that all motion is
    caused by impact or pressure due to his belief
    that no vacuum can exist, thus every entity must
    be touched by another entity
  • 2. However, he denied the possibility of
    action-at-a-distance in an effort to defend a
    thorough-going mechanistic view of causation

47
  • 3. Such a view would be revolutionary in
    his daythis belief would be a denial of
    magnetism and gravity
  • 4. Another generalization is derived from
    the idea of extension is that all motion is a
    cyclical rearrangement of bodies if one body
    changes its location, a simultaneous
    displacement of others bodies is necessary to
    prevent a vacuum

48
  • C. Descartes wrote that God is the ultimate
    cause of motiona perfect being would create a
    universe all-at- once and this perfect being
    would keep motion going, otherwise the universe
    would run down

49
Empiricism
50
John Locke
51
Essay Concerning Human Understanding
  • I. He attempts to show how various concepts or
    ideas come from or are built up from different
    kinds of experience
  • II. Denial of Innate Ideasthere are no
    principles or ideas that we have any reason to
    believe we have prior to, or independent, of our
    sense experience

52
  • III. The White Paper (Tabula Rosa), Locke
    believed that our minds are like a white
    papervoid of all characters, without any ideas
  • IV. Two sources of knowledgeperception and
    reflection

53
  • IV. Simple Ideas
  • 1. Simple ideas are the most basic of our
    knowledge
  • 2. Simple ideas are presented to us in
    sensation and reflection
  • 3. Once the mind experiences simple ideas, it
    has the power to store up, to repeat, and to
    combine them

54
  • V. Primary and Secondary Qualities
  • A. Primary qualities are those items in our
    experience which must belong to the objects that
    we are
  • B. Secondary qualities are nothing in the
    objects themselves, but powers to produce various
    sensations in us by primary qualities, e.g.,
    color

55
  • VI. Kinds of knowledge
  • A. Discussed in the Fourth Book of the Essays,
    how reliable can knowledge of sensation and
    reflection be?
  • B. Our knowledge is the result of the
    examination of ideas it see if they agree or
    disagree in some respectsfour kinds

56
  • 1. First kind is achieved by the inspection
    of two or more ideas to see if they are
    identical or different
  • 2. Second kind is the discovery that two or
    more ideas are related together in some manner
  • 3. Third kind is about ideas which deals with
    the coexistence of two or more ideas belonging
    together

57
  • 4. Fourth kind of knowledge is the discovery
    of whether or not any of our ideas are
    experiences of something that exist outside of
    our minds, i.e., if they are of some real
    existence

58
  • VII. External Reality
  • A. In order to keep his theory of knowledge
    from ending to calling knowledge ones persons
    experience based on ones observations, he
    attempted to show that even with our limited
    knowledge gained from experience we have some
    basis for claiming that we know something about
    what goes on outside of our minds

59
  • B. The Mind is incapable of inventing simple
    ideasthus they must be the result of something
    outside of our minds

60
  • VIII. His view on prospects and limitations of
    science are found in his Essay
  • A. He had a view accepting a primitive
    concept of atoms, thus in order to be able to
    predict mechanical behavior one would need to

61
  • 1. Know the configurations and motions of
    atoms
  • 2. Know the ways in which the motion of atoms
    produce ideas of primary and secondary qualities
    in the observer
  • 3. If these two conditions were met, then one
    would know a priori that certain properties
    would be identified with entities

62
  • B. However, we are ignorant of the
    configuration and motion of atoms
  • 1. This ignorance is contingent
  • 2. Know the ways in which the motion of atoms
    produce ideas of primary and secondary qualities
    in the observer
  • 3. But, we still could not reach a necessary
    knowledge of phenomenon since we are ignorant of
    the ways in which atoms manifest certain powers

63
  • C. The atomic constituents of a body possesses
    the power through motion, to produce in us ideas
    of secondary qualities such as colors and sounds
  • D. Also, the atoms of a particular body have
    the power affect the atoms of other bodies so as
    to alter the ways in which these bodies affect
    our senses

64
  • E. Only by divine revelation could we know
    the ways in which atomic motions produce effects
    on us
  • F. He also held that an unbridgeable
    epistemological gap separates the real world of
    atoms and the realm of ideas that constitute our
    experience

65
  • IX. He recommended a methodology of correlation
    and exclusion for scientific investigation based
    on a compilation of extensive natural histories
  • A. This understanding involved a shift in
    focus from real essences (atomic
    configurations of bodies) to nominal essences
    (the observed properties and relations of bodies)

66
  • B. He insisted that the most that can be
    achieved in science is a collection of
    generalizations about the association and
    succession of phenomena
  • C. He somewhat degenerated natural sciencea
    trained scientist may have judgment and opinion,
    not knowledge and certainty

67
  • X. He did believe that there do exist necessary
    connections in natureeven though the connections
    are opaque to human understandings.
  • A. The usage of the term idea was between
    gaps
  • 1. Ideas are effects of operations in
    the real world of atoms
  • 2. Thus, red is produced by processes
    external to the subject

68
  • B. He was confident that the motions of atomic
    constituents of matter that give rise to our
    ideas of colors and tasteeven though we cannot
    learn just how this takes place

69
David Hume
70
  • I. Carried British Empiricism to a skeptical
    blind alley
  • A. By contending that belief in the identity
    of the self or objects in the external world was
    simply the result of a habit
  • B. Identity is nothing really belonging to
    these different perceptions and uniting them
    together but it is merely a quality which we
    attribute to them because of the union of their
    ideas in the imagination.

71
  • II. In An Inquiry Concerning Human
    Understanding he divided the perceptions of the
    mind into two classes
  • A. Thoughts or ideasthe least forcible and
    livelythey are reflections of impressions
  • B. Impressionsresults from direct
    experience what we see, hear, feel

72
  • C. The creative power of the mind amounts to
    no more than the faculty of compounding,
    transposing, augmenting or diminishing the
    materials afforded us by our senses and
    experiences

73
The Synthesis of Immanuel Kant
74
  • I. He initiated a Copernican Revolution in
    philosophy
  • A. Reaction to radical empiricism of David
    Hume
  • B. Freed theology from corrosion of classical
    empiricism while maintaining rationality of
    religious belief

75
  • II. Kant responded that Hume and the
    empiricists had a passive and dualistic view of
    cognitionwhich conceived of the mind as simply a
    receptor of particular sense impressions
  • A. Kant emphasized that the mind is
    activeinstead of beginning with the object as
    something already given to which the mind must
    conform, he reverses the order and conceives of
    the object as in some respect constituted by
    the a priori contributions of the knower

76
  • B. The mind imposes upon the material of
    experience its own forms of cognition,
    determined by the very structure of human
    understanding
  • C. The raw material of experience is thus
    molded and shaped along certain definite lines
    according to the cognitive forms with the mind
    itself

77
  • D. These forms of the mind are the way we
    put things together
  • E. All experiences presuppose these a priori
    categories which are not themselves observable

78
  • III. The cognitive forms of experience
    determine the possibility of objects of knowledge
  • A. The categories of experience determine our
    knowledge of phenomena

79
  • B. If the word object were taken to refer to
    things-in-themselves, things apart from any
    relation to a knowing subject, then we could not
    say they are known by the human mind
  • C. We cannot, thus, know noumena,
    things- in-themselves, i.e., supersensible
    objects, for we lack the necessary cognitive
    organ

80
  • IV. He looks at the nature of judgment of
    judgment in four ways
  • A. Analytical judgment(rational
    deductive)in which the predicate is
    contained within the subject and may be known
    by analysis of it, e.g., bald men have no
    hair

81
  • B. Synthetical judgment (empirical
    inductive)one in which the predicate is not
    contained with the subject., e.g., the rose is
    red
  • C. A priori judgment (rational)one which
    asserts a universal and necessary connection,
    e.g., 2 2 4, always and must be, a judgment
    before the fact

82
  • D. Post-priori judgment (empirical)one which
    does not assert a universal and necessary
    connection a judgment after the fact, e.g., the
    rose is red
  • E. For Kant, the major question is whether
    there are synthetical, a priori judgments (i.e.,
    those judgments in which predicates are not
    contained within the subject but are still
    universal and necessary)he concluded there
    weremath is an example

83
  • V. Kant gives two sources of knowledge
  • A. Sensibilitythe use of senses
  • B. Understandingthe rational process of the
    mind
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