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Epistemology

The study of human knowledge and its nature, sources, and justification.

Hypothesis

A statement to be confirmed-or disproved-by appeal to experience and the facts of the case, to be ascertained through experiment and observation.

Necessary truths

Something that cannot be otherwise and cannot be imagined to be otherwise. In philosophy, it is not enough that something be "necessary" according to physical laws (for example, the law of gravity) or "necessary" according to custom or habit (for example, the necessity of laws against tax evasion or the felt necessity of having a cigarette after dinner). Necessity does not allow for even imaginary counterexamples; thus, it is a XXX that 2 + 2 = 4; not only do we believe this with certainty and find ourselves incapable of intelligibly doubting it, but we also cannot even suggest that what it might be for it to be false, no matter how wild our imaginations.

Contingent truth

A true statement that could have been otherwise. It is contingent that heavy objects fall toward the earth because we can easily imagine what it would be like if they did not (particularly if we have seen images of astronauts who are weightless in outer space). This is so even though it is necessary that heavy objects fall.

A priori

"Before experience," or, more accurately, independent of all experience. XXX knowledge is always necessary, for there can be no imaginable instances that would refute it and and no intelligible doubting of it. One might come to know something XXX through experience (for example, you might find out that dividing the circumference of a circle that in each case the result is pi), but what is essential to a priori knowledge is that no such experience is needed.

Paradox

A self-contradictory or seemingly absurd conclusion based on apparently good arguments.

Rationalism

The philosophy that is characterized by its confidence in reason, and intuition in particular, to know reality independently of experience.

Empiricism

The philosophy that insists that all knowledge, except for certain logical truths and principles of mathematics, comes from experience.

Tabula rasa

In Locke, the "blank tablet" metaphor of the mind, in opposition to the doctrine that there are innate ideas. In other words, the mind is a "blank" at birth, and everything we know must be "stamped in" through experience.

Principle of universal causality

The belief that every event has its cause (or causes). In scientific circles, "its insufficient natural cause" is usually added in order to eliminate the possibility of miracles and divine intervention (which are allowed in Leibniz's similar but broader ********** * sufficient reason)

Skepticism

The philosophical belief that knowledge is not possible, that doubt will not be overcome by any valid arguments. A philosopher who holds this belief is called a ******. ********* is not merely about personal doubt but also requires systematic doubt, with reasons for that doubt.

René Descartes

a rationalist. assumes everything is false until proven. doubts existence of external world.

"I think, therefore I am"

Descartes' most famous and celebrated quote.

David Hume

according to British philosophers, one of the most outstanding geniuses in philosophy. believed in two statements: there is external world what depend on us; each person is in direct contact with the contents of the person's own mind. empiricist and believes that the most basic principles of our everyday knowledge as well as the most important guiding principles of our lives are without justification. skepticism.

Immanuel Kant

successor of Hume. set up the world according to a priori rules - directly know only our own experience and now only secondarily or my inference the things of the world. the world we know is just the world of our experience.

Correspondence theory of truth

The theory that a statement or belief is true if and only if it corresponds with the facts. Even when restricting our attention to statements of fact, however, this commonsensical theory gets into trouble as soon as it tries to pick out what corresponds to what. How can we identify a fact, for example, apart from the language we use to identify it? And what does it mean to say that a statement corresponds to a fact?

Coherence theory of truth

The theory that a statement or belief is true if and only if it coheres with a system of statements or beliefs. Because we can never get outside of our experience, the only sense in saying that a belief is true (according to this theory) is that it coheres with the rest of our experience.

Pragmatic theory of truth

The theory that a statement or belief is true if and only if it works-that is, if it allows us to predict certain results or function effectively in everyday life or if it encourages further inquiry and helps us lead better lives.

William James

most famous defender of the Pragmatic Theory of Truth.

Rationality

Primarily, the ability to think and to act according to goals, plans, and strategies. XXX is also thinking well and effectively and having good, well-conceived goals, plans, and strategies.

Objective truth

Truth independent of our personal opinions and demonstrably true to anyone (who is in the proper position to observe, who has the right testing equipment, and so on).

Subjective truth

An idea that might be said to be true for the person who believes it but possibly for noöne else.

Relativism

the claim that what is true for one person or one people might not be true for another person or another people.

Friedrich Nietzsche

art and beauty give us a more profound type of truth than science does. "there is no truth". argue against correspondence theory of truth: that there is no truth in itself, independent of our experience. there are no facts, only interpretations.

Michel Foucault

the truth is a historical matter and in that sense relative to particular times and places. rejected the idea of bare facts, free of interpretations. Insisted interpretations and perspectives are imposed on us by the culture by the discourse and within an episteme. the that discourses and episteme are not continuous through history and so rejects the common assumption of progress. knowledge is essentionally a matter of power.

Jurgen Habermas

the truth and knowledge are relative but discourse is something we do. retains the faith that through dialectic or conversation we can still talk meaningfully of truth and knowledge.

Willard van Orman Quine

a pragmatist. challenges empiricism and rejects the idea that our truths refer directly to facts. (point at rabbit can refer to rabbit meat, fur, etc). knowledge is a organic and systematic process.

Soren Kierkegaard

subjective truth. an important personal truth, a truth "for which I am willing to live or die", truth that makes life meaningful.

Postmodernists

Originally a somewhat amorphous group of French philosophers in the late 1970s who attacked universal and "objective" categories and celebrated differences and fragmentation. It later became known with such figures as Jacques Derrida and Jean-François Lyotard.

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