theory of knowledge. Reasoning. The study of the nature, justification, and rationality of belief. Ex: What makes justified beliefs justified? What does it mean when we know something? How do we know what we know? Much debate in epistemology
centers on four areas: first, the philosophical analysis of the nature of knowledge and how it relates to
such concepts as truth, belief, and justification, second, various problems of skepticism, third, the
sources and scope of knowledge and justified belief, and fourth, the criteria for knowledge and
A term popularized in the philosophy of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. You will note that Leibniz was a
German philosopher from the late 17th and early 18th centuries. In Leibniz' theories, the Monad was an
indivisible (and hence ultimately simple) entity, such as an atom or a person. The ontological essence
of a monad is its irreducible simplicity. Unlike atoms, monads possess no material or spatial character.
They also differ from atoms by their complete mutual independence, so that interactions among
monads are only apparent. Instead, by virtue of the principle of pre-established harmony, each monad
follows a preprogrammed set of "instructions" peculiar to itself, so that a monad "knows" what to do at
each moment. By virtue of these intrinsic instructions, each monad is like a little mirror of the
universe. Monads need not be "small"; e.g., each human being constitutes a monad, in which case free
will is problematic.