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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

What is epistemology?


Photo source: Wikimedia Commons, Jack Delano


(Update: I realize that there are some problems with my definition of epistemology in this post because epistemology has more to do with specifically determining truth and falsehood. In the future I plan to revise this post.)


What is epistemology? Here is my definition:


Epistemology is the study of knowledge


I believe that every branch of knowledge (physics, economics, neuroscience, ontology, etc.) is reliant on epistemology. Everything you accept as true is based on your personal system of epistemology. Even ethics is reliant on epistemology because everything we know about ethics is a form of knowledge.


The rest of this post is four quotes that emphasize the importance of epistemology.


Albert Einstein:

"When I think about the ablest students whom I have encountered in my teaching, that is, those who distinguish themselves by their independence of judgment and not merely their quick wittedness, I can affirm that they had a vigorous interest in epistemology." (Physikalische Zeitschrift, 1916)


Edwin Arthur Burtt:

"The central place of epistemology in modern philosophy is no accident." (The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science, 1925)


Rene Descartes:

"No more useful inquiry can be proposed than that which seeks to determine the nature and the scope of human knowledge." (Rules for the Direction of the Mind, 1628)


Simone Weil:

"The most important part of education - to teach the meaning of to know." (Waiting on God, 1950 posthumous)



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