What is a Real Distinction?
The nature of epistemology Epistemology as a discipline Why should there be a discipline such as epistemology? Aristotle — bce provided the answer when he said that philosophy begins in a kind of wonder or puzzlement.
Nearly all human beings wish to comprehend the world they live in, and many of them construct Descartes epistemology of various kinds to help them make sense of it.
Because many aspects of the world defy easy explanationhowever, most people are likely to cease their efforts at some point and to content themselves with whatever degree of understanding they have managed to achieve. Unlike most people, philosophers are captivated—some would say obsessed—by the idea of understanding the world Descartes epistemology the most general terms possible.
Accordingly, they attempt to construct theories that are synoptic, descriptively accurate, explanatorily powerful, and in all other respects rationally defensible. In doing so, they carry the process of inquiry further than other people tend to do, and this is what is meant by saying that they develop a philosophy about such matters.
Like most people, epistemologists often begin their speculations with the assumption that they have a great deal of knowledge.
As they reflect upon what they presumably know, however, they discover that it is much less secure than they realized, and indeed they come to think that many of what had been their firmest beliefs are dubious or even false. Two of those anomalies will be described in detail here in order to illustrate how they call into question common claims to knowledge about the world.
Two epistemological problems Knowledge of the external world Most people have noticed that vision can play tricks. A straight stick submerged in water looks bent, though it is not; railroad tracks seem to converge in the distance, but they do not; and a page of English-language print reflected in a mirror cannot be read from left to right, though in all other circumstances it can.
Each of those phenomena is misleading in some way.
Anyone who believes that the stick is bent, that the railroad tracks converge, and so on is mistaken about how the world really is. Although such anomalies may seem simple and unproblematic at first, deeper consideration of them shows that just the opposite is true.
How does one know that the stick is not really bent and that the tracks do not really converge?
Suppose one says that one knows that the stick is not really bent because when it is removed from the water, one can see that it is straight.
But does seeing a straight stick out of water provide a good reason for thinking that when it is in water, it is not bent? Suppose one says that the tracks do not really converge because the train passes over them at the point where they seem to converge.
But how does one know that the wheels on the train do not converge at that point also? What justifies preferring some of those beliefs to others, especially when all of them are based upon what is seen?
What one sees is that the stick in water is bent and that the stick out of water is straight. Why, then, is the stick declared really to be straight? Why, in effect, is priority given to one perception over another? One possible answer is to say that vision is not sufficient to give knowledge of how things are.
But what justifies the belief that the sense of touch is more reliable than vision? After all, touch gives rise to misperceptions just as vision does.
For example, if a person chills one hand and warms the other and then puts both in a tub of lukewarm water, the water will feel warm to the cold hand and cold to the warm hand. Thus, the difficulty cannot be resolved by appealing to input from the other senses.
Another possible response would begin by granting that none of the senses is guaranteed to present things as they really are. The belief that the stick is really straight, therefore, must be justified on the basis of some other form of awareness, perhaps reason.
But why should reason be accepted as infallible?Descartes’ Epistemology This essay attempts to explain Descartes’ epistemology of his knowledge, his “Cogito, Ergo Sum” concept (found in the Meditations), and why he used it [the cogito concept] as a foundation when building his structure of knowledge.
Epistemology (/ ɪ ˌ p ɪ s t ɪ ˈ m ɒ l ə dʒ i / (listen); from Greek, Modern ἐπιστήμη, epistēmē, meaning 'knowledge', and λόγος, logos, meaning 'logical discourse') is the branch of philosophy concerned with the theory of knowledge.. Epistemology is the study of the nature of knowledge, justification, and the rationality of belief.
Much debate in epistemology centers on. René Descartes: The Mind-Body Distinction. One of the deepest and most lasting legacies of Descartes’ philosophy is his thesis that mind and body are really distinct—a thesis now called "mind-body dualism." He reaches this conclusion by arguing that the nature of the mind (that is, a thinking, non-extended thing) is completely different from that of the body (that is, an extended, non.
“Descartes' Rationalist Epistemology,” in A Companion to Rationalism, ed. Alan Nelson, Blackwell Companions to Philosophy. –––, “Descartes on the Will in Judgment,” in A Companion to Descartes, ed.
Janet Broughton and John Carriero, Blackwell Companions to Philosophy. René Descartes was born in La Haye en Touraine (now Descartes, Indre-et-Loire), France, on 31 March His mother, Jeanne Brochard, died soon after giving birth to him, and so he was not expected to survive.
Descartes' father, Joachim, was a member of the Parlement of Brittany at Rennes. René lived with his grandmother and with his great-uncle. The Beginning of Modern Science.
I expect a terrible rebuke from one of my adversaries, and I can almost hear him shouting in my ears that it is one thing to deal with matters physically and quite another to do so mathematically, and that geometers should stick to their fantasies, and not get involved in philosophical matters where the conclusions are different from those in mathematics.