Introduction to Epistemology

Epistemology means the theory of knowledge or study of knowledge. Main questions in Epistemology are...

  • What is the nature of knowledge?
  • What are the obstacles to the attainment of knowledge?
  • What can be known?
  • How does knowledge differ from belief?

How is knowledge obtained?

Empirisism: Knowledge can be obtained with our senses. But it can't be trusted always(eg. Optical Illusions).

Rationalism: Knowledge can be obtained through reasoning.

Types of Knowledge

Propositional Knowledge: Knowledge of facts(Eg. 3-1=2, A dog has 4 legs) Practical Knowledge: Skill/Know-how(Eg. driving).

Epistemology has traditionally focused on propositional knowledge.

What is Knowledge?

Knowledge is "Justified True Belief"

Someone know a Proposition only if...

  • Proposition is true
  • Subject believes(not just a hunch) the Proposition
  • Subject is justified in the belief

Why do we need Epistemology?

Pre-Socratic philosophers were "dogmatic" they believed that we could know reality in an objective way. But this later changed.

One of the main driving force of Epistemology has been fear...

All epistemology begins in fear...fear that the senses are too feeble and the intellect too frail; fear that memory fades...fear that authority and conventions blinds; fear that God may keep secrets or demons deceive. Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison