PHIL 1F91 Chapter Notes -Direct And Indirect Realism, Empiricism, A Priori And A Posteriori
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Thinking About Philosophy
Nils Ch. Rauhut
What Do We Know?
Classical definition of knowledge
•Three necessary conditions:
The Major Theories of Knowledge
Denies genuine knowledge
Descartes’ Quest for Certainty
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
–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
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.
–justification takes place prior to consulting empirical evidence
–justification requires that we refer to our experiences of the world
Arguments in favor of Rationalism
•Moral knowledge is justified based on
•Genuine belief is unchanging, making rationalism less susceptible to skepticism.
Problems with Rationalism
reasoning is of limited value
•analytic truth: based on the meaning of words, not observations
•synthetic truth: requires experiments and observations