Essay About Epistemology

Though radical, such accounts of the scope of our knowledge have been the center of much philosophical attention, both historically and in recent epistemological work.Usually, skepticism is something philosophers attack and try to overcome; occasionally, it is defended.The internalist about justification will have to hold that the beliefs of such subjects have the same justificatory status (they’re either both justified or both unjustified, and to the same degree), and the internalist about knowledge will have to hold that, so long as the beliefs of such “twins” are true in both cases, they can’t diverge on the matter of whether they constitute knowledge. This twin’s life was identical to mine up to midnight last night.

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According to such an account, a subject S knows that P if and only if (Gettier uses the common philosophical abbreviation of IFF for “if and only if”): 1. One could try to maintain the JTB account in the face of Gettier’s cases either by arguing (against appearances) that the the true beliefs in question in these examples are not really justified, or by maintaining (again against initial appearances) that the subjects in the examples really do know the propositions in question.

But most epistemologists have accepted that Gettier’s cases are genuine counter-examples to the JTB theory — they are genuine examples of situations in which the questions “Does S know that P? ” get different answers, and thus refute the JTB account of knowledge.

Epistemology, then, is the branch of philosophy that deals with questions concerning the nature, scope, and sources of knowledge.

In what follows, I’ll briefly describe a few of the issues epistemologists deal with.

There is an important division between two main types of accounts of these matters — that between .

According to the epistemic internalist, these matters depend primarily on factors internal to the believer’s point of view and/or factors to which the believer has special access.Gettier’s paper spawned an explosion of philosophical literature aimed at producing an acceptable account of knowledge, either by modifying the JTB account by adding further conditions to it, or by replacing the third, justification, condition with one or more other conditions.Many new accounts were proposed, only to be subjected to new counter-examples — examples which refute the account in question either by showing how a subject can know something despite failing to meet the conditions the account proposes, or by showing how a subject can fail to know something even though she does meet the conditions proposed.Often, still more sophisticated accounts were proposed to handle the new examples, only to crash on the rocks of still more sophisticated counter-examples.(For discussion of many examples of the analyses in question, and of some of the troubles they run into, see Robert Shope’s book, The Analysis of Knowledge (Princeton University Press, 1983).) Many epistemologists grew tired of the game, and despaired of coming up with an account of knowledge that could survive this process.A skeptical thesis is typically a claim that the beliefs in a certain range lack a certain status.In addition, then, to varying in their ; they can be views on which any of the designations discussed above in section 2 surprisingly fail to apply to a wide range of our beliefs.Most general epistemology classes (as opposed to specialized advanced courses that zero in on a particular epistemological topic) spend at least some time on this question, and many begin with it.A very important paper on this topic — perhaps the most commonly assigned paper in epistemology classes — is Edmund Gettier’s short classic, “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?As one would expect, another central question in the theory of knowledge is: What do we know? This question, of course, is closely related to the question, addressed above in section 1, of what it takes to know something.Pessimistic accounts of the scope of our knowledge have it that we know less than we think we know; radically pessimistic accounts have it that we know very little, or perhaps even nothing!


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