PHIL 1F91 Chapter Notes -Direct And Indirect Realism, Empiricism, A Priori And A Posteriori

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19 Apr 2012
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19/04/2012
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Ultimate Questions
Thinking About Philosophy
3rd Edition
Nils Ch. Rauhut
Chapter Three:
What Do We Know?
Classical definition of knowledge
Three necessary conditions:
Belief
Truth
Justification
The Major Theories of Knowledge
Skepticism
Empiricism
Rationalism
Skepticism:
Denies genuine knowledge
Descartes’ Quest for Certainty
Empiricism:
We know something if we can justify it through our senses.
Arguments in favor of Empiricism
All knowledge is justified through empirical beliefs
Basic empirical beliefs are linked to the world around us
Supported by the natural sciences
Problems with Empiricism
Perceptual Reality
Can we rely on our own, biased perceptions of the world around us?
Three theories of perception:
naïve realism: the world is as we see it
indirect realism: not all properties we perceive in an object are actually there
idealism: objects are only a collection of our perceptions, not independent from
our minds
The Problem of Induction
Empirical enumerative inductive arguments
require not only our observations, but also
predictions about those observations.
The principle of uniformity in nature asserts that nature’s past and present realities
support future predictions.
Rationalism:
A priori
(rational):
justification takes place prior to consulting empirical evidence
A posteriori
(empirical):
justification requires that we refer to our experiences of the world
Arguments in favor of Rationalism
Moral knowledge is justified based on
a priori
reasoning.
Genuine belief is unchanging, making rationalism less susceptible to skepticism.
Problems with Rationalism
Logical Positivists
a priori
reasoning is of limited value
analytic truth: based on the meaning of words, not observations
synthetic truth: requires experiments and observations
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