CHAPTER FOUR: Epistemology

Imagine you are on your favorite social media site and you see that someone you follow has shared an article or a video that makes certain claims that are rather astonishing. Your friend has reacted strongly to this posting and you are tempted to do the same.  But wait…is it true? Is the information genuine, or is the source simply trying to get a reaction out of people?  As a philosopher, you will want to ask certain questions before you react or repost.  Is this source credible?  Are there alternative ways to understand the same information?  What were the motives of the original poster?  Am I being ethical if I reshare this information?  How can we know for sure if this is true? 

Knowledge is a tricky business. How often have you believed something to be the case only to learn later that you were mistaken? What caused you to change your mind, to rethink your knowledge?  What kinds of arguments or evidence compelled you to reconsider?  In this chapter, we will explore different philosophical approaches to knowledge and how we come to understand what we believe.  Epistemology comes from the Greek word for certainty, episteme.  We will see that although the goal of certainty, of truth, may be difficult to reach, philosophers generally all understand that it is important to try to get there.


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PPSC PHI 1011: The Philosopher's Quest by Daniel G. Shaw, Ph.D. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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