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EPISTEMOLOGY

Submitted by:
11- Mt. Pulag
Potri Norania M. Hadji Jamel, Jella Kate L. Flores,
Daren Jeremiah C. Tero, Jimmy Lyn Ll. Infante,
Angelica R. Ramirez, John Michael C. Espra, Cris D.
Famacion
Sumitted to:
Ms. Louie Jane M. Caturza

I.INTRODUCTION

At the beginning of Aristotles work on Metaphysics he states that All men by

nature desire to know. But what does it mean to know? This is one of the questions

that is addressed by the field of epistemology.

Epistemology, the theory of knowledge, is a core component of the Western

philosophical tradition. Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Epistemologists

concern themselves with a number of tasks, which we might sort into two categories.
First, we must determine the nature of knowledge; that is, what does it mean

to say that someone knows, or fails to know, something? This is a matter of

understanding what knowledge is, and how to distinguish between cases in which

someone knows something and cases in which someone does not know something.

While there is some general agreement about some aspects of this issue, we shall

see that this question is much more difficult than one might imagine.

Second, we must determine the extent of human knowledge; that is, how

much do we, or can we, know? How can we use our reason, our senses, the

testimony of others, and other resources to acquire knowledge? Are there limits to

what we can know? For instance, is some things unknowable? Is it possible that we

do not know nearly as much as we think we do? Should we have a legitimate worry

about skepticism, the view that we do not or cannot know anything at all?

II. CONTENT

Epistemology is the study of the nature and scope of knowledge and justified belief.

It analyzes the nature of knowledge and how it relates to similar notions such

as truth, belief and justification. The term epistemology comes from the Greek

"episteme," meaning "knowledge," and "logos," meaning, roughly, "study, or science,

of."

What Is Knowledge?

Knowledge is the awareness and understanding of particular aspects of reality. It is

the clear, lucid information gained through the process of reason applied to reality.
The traditional approach is that knowledge requires three necessary and sufficient

conditions, so that knowledge can then be defined as "justified true belief":

The Nature of Propositional Knowledge

a. Belief

- knowledge is a kind of belief. If one has no beliefs about a particular matter,

one cannot have knowledge about it.


b. Truth

- we can say that truth is a condition of knowledge; that is, if a belief is not

true, it cannot constitute knowledge. Accordingly, if there is no such thing as

truth, then there can be no knowledge. As we try to acquire knowledge, then,

we are trying to increase our stock of true beliefs (while simultaneously

minimizing our false beliefs).


c. Justification

- A belief is said to be justified if it is obtained in the right way. While

justification seems, at first glance, to be a matter of a belief's being based on

evidence and reasoning rather than on luck or misinformation, we shall see

that there is much disagreement regarding how to spell out the details.
d. The Gettier Problem

- in 1963, Edmund Gettier published a short but widely influential article which

has shaped much subsequent work in epistemology.

- the justification condition was meant to ensure that knowledge was based on

solid evidence rather than on luck or misinformation, but Gettier-type

examples seem to show that justified true belief can still involve luck and thus

fall short of knowledge. This problem is referred to as "the Gettier problem."

The Nature of Justification


We have noted that the goal of our belief-forming practices is to obtain truth while

avoiding error and that justification is the feature of beliefs which are formed in such

a way as to best pursue this goal.

a. Internalism

- a view, which maintains that justification, depends solely on factors internal

to the believer's mind

- claims that all knowledge-yielding conditions are within the psychological

states of those who gain knowledge.


i. Foundationalism
- By far the majority view, it holds that certain propositions are known

directly and does not need to be justified by further propositions. These

propositions form the "foundation" of all knowledge.


ii. Coherentism
-a proposition is justified by fitting it into a whole system of beliefs; its

justification is its part within the whole system of knowledge.

b. Externalism

- holds that factors deemed "external" (meaning outside of the psychological

states of those who are gaining the knowledge) can be conditions of

knowledge, so that if the relevant facts justifying a proposition are external

then they are acceptable.

The Extent of Human Knowledge

a) Sources of Knowledge
a priori (or non-empirical), where knowledge is possible independently

of, or prior to, any experience, and requires only the use of reason (e.g.

knowledge of logical truths and of abstract claims)


a posteriori (or empirical), where knowledge is possible only

subsequent, or posterior, to certain sense experiences, in addition to

the use of reason (e.g. knowledge of the colour or shape of a physical

object, or knowledge of geographical locations).

b) Skepticicsm
-begins with the apparent impossibility of completing this infinite chain of

reasoning, and argues that, ultimately, no beliefs are justified and therefore no

one really knows anything.


c) Fallibilism

- also claims that absolute certainty about knowledge is impossible, or at least

that all claims to knowledge could, in principle, be mistaken. Unlike Skepticism,

however, Fallibilism does not imply the need to abandon our knowledge, just

to recognize that, because empirical knowledge can be revised by further

observation, any of the things we take as knowledge might possibly turn out to

be false.

Philosophers of Epistemology

Immanuel Kant Willard Van Orman Quine


(1724-1804) (1908-2000) Alvin Goldman
III. SUMMARY/ INSIGHT

The study of knowledge is one of the most fundamental aspects of

philosophical inquiry. Any claim to knowledge must be evaluated to determine


Alvin Plantinga
whether or not it indeed constitutes knowledge. Such an evaluation essentially

requires an understanding of what knowledge is and how much knowledge is

possible. While this entry provides an overview of the important issues, it of course

leaves the most basic questions unanswered; epistemology will continue to be an

area of philosophical discussion as long as these questions remain.