Epistemology and Truth Essay

How do we cognize what we know? Is what we believe to be truth truly truth? A subdivision of Philosophy that seeks out to reply these inquiries and to detect the beginning of cognition is Epistemology. Much of what we believe is based on allegations and generalisations instead than established grounds. That’s manner so many people have different beliefs throughout the universe. I will be discoursing more of these Worldviews in a ulterior paragraph. Right now I’d like to go on to concentrate on Epistemology. which is the survey of cognition: how we obtain cognition and how we justify it.

These are some of the inquiries Epistemology efforts to reply: What is head? ; What is cognizing? ; What is true? Empiricism is a theory of cognition that claims knowledge occurs from grounds collected via sense experience. It relies entirely on experiences and grounds. particularly of the senses. as the lone beginning of cognition. This theory differs from rationalism which relies upon ground and can integrate unconditioned cognition. Rationalism is a method “in which the standard of the truth is non centripetal but rational and deductive” ( Bourke 263 ) .

Empiricism stresses utilizing scientific informations discovered from experiments that is straight related to grounds. It is an indispensable function of the scientific method that all theories must be tested against observations. John Locke. George Berkeley. and David Hume are classical representatives of empiricist philosophy. This philosophy has jobs within it though. For illustration: what about people who are colour-blind? How they perceive the universe is much different from a individual who can see colour.

Every individual individual has different perceptual experiences and in kernel. has their ain truth. Besides this philosophy limits what you can state you know. If I haven’t had a personal experience touching. smelling. or savoring a banana. so how can I certify to cognize what a banana is? One last point I’d like to do refering jobs with Empiricism is that it creates problem with Ethical motives. How can one find right vs. incorrectly? There are several huntsmans in the universe who kill animate beings for athletics. the pure pleasance of the success of the putting to death.

They may hit an animate being and go forth its organic structure without utilizing it as a beginning of nutrient or as any other benefit. Now if this animate being was a cow shooting and killed in India. there would be many angry people after that huntsman. In their state. Hinduism is the chief faith. They believe cattles are sacred and are honored as a symbol of life. Yet. most Americans believe that beef is a chief beginning of nutrient and killing them is acceptable. Now a huntsman has no feelings of compunction killing a cow. yet in one state it’s considered incorrect.

Even if something feels good. it can still be incorrect. Therefore you have ethical emotivism: I don’t like killing vs. violent death is incorrect. Emotivism is a meta-ethical theory. of import in the doctrine of logical positivism. which argues that a moral claim is non truly a announcement. either about the action itself or about the individual speech production. It is. alternatively. merely a basic manifestation of emotion. For illustration an look of shouting might be described as appropriate or inappropriate. but it can non be determined as either true or false. C. L.

Stevenson. who created a extremely developed statement of ethical emotivism in his book. Ethical motives and Language. argues that such moral “statements” are non merely looks of emotion. but are besides efforts to acquire others to portion that same emotional response. “Let us be careful to detect. nevertheless. that when one adult male is seeking to change another’s attitudes. he may at the same clip be fixing to change his ain attitudes in the visible radiation of what the other may say” ( Stevenson 4 ) . Logical rationalists created a criterion for measuring the truth. inaccuracy. or insignificance of certain philosophical statements.

One of its chief standards is that a statement must be verifiable. To hold value. a given statement had to be connected to either empirical facts or analytic truth. In his article. Michael Anissimov provinces. “Logical positivism was a cardinal measure in linking doctrine more closely to scientific discipline. and frailty versa. It continues to hold influence to the present. playing a critical portion in the preparation of philosophical thoughts throughout the twentieth century” ( Anissimov par 3 ) . Logical Positivism is an utmost version of empiricist philosophy that flourished in the 1950’s.

The job with this claim is that it stressed confirmation through the senses non merely as a theory of truth but besides as a theory of significance. If a statement can non be verified through empirical observation it has no significance. Harmonizing to this theory. “God exists” would be neither true nor false. but meaningless. Logical rationalist. empiricist philosophy. and other theories have alleged to supply an important description of the logic of scientific discipline. but each has been criticized. That brings me to the inquiry of logic. What is logic and its function in organizing our thoughts? There are three Torahs of logic that first defined by Greek philosopher Aristotle.

These are necessary basic beliefs. They are presupposed or axiomatic. Harmonizing to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. to presuppose agencies to “suppose beforehand” or “to require as an ancestor in logic or fact. ” These beliefs are held without cogent evidence or support of any sort. In his article. The Article of the Month. Robert Dilts writes. “Presuppositions relate to unconscious beliefs or premises embedded in the construction of an vocalization. action or another belief ; and are required for the vocalization. action or belief to do sense” ( Dilts par 1 ) .

The three Torahs of logic are needed to do propositions about world. The first jurisprudence is the jurisprudence of individuality. Any entity is what it is and is non something else ; for illustration: a rose is a rose. If I identify an entity in an statement you assume that every clip I refer to that entity. it is the entity that I am mentioning to. The 2nd jurisprudence of logic is the jurisprudence of non-contradiction. No entity can be both what it is and non what it is with the same specification ; for illustration: a rose can non be non a rose. In other words. it can non be true that both a proposition is true and besides that it is false.

The jurisprudence of non-contradiction is cardinal to the manner we think and understand truth from falseness. To deny it is to deny all reason. Avicenna. a mediaeval Muslim philosopher. one time said. “Anyone who denies the jurisprudence of non-contradiction should be beaten and burned until he admits that to be beaten is non the same as non to be beaten. and to be burned is non the same as non to be burned” ( ) . The 3rd and concluding jurisprudence is the jurisprudence of excluded center. Any entity is either some peculiar thing or it is non ; for illustration: A thing is either a rose or it is non a rose.

The Torahs of logic are formal merely ( methodological ) and cover merely with the signifier of cognition ( the construction ) . non the content of cognition. Logic underlies the survey of the three subdivisions of doctrine. It is the survey of the rules of logical thinking ( the construction of propositions as distinguished from their content and of method and cogency of deductive logical thinking ) . Logic mainly trades with the sphere of doctrine which tests for veracity or falseness. There are rather a few jobs that appear when specifying cognition or truth. including issues with objectiveness. adequateness and bounds to justification.

Theories are besides really debatable because they are abstract and conceptual. and to this terminal they are ne’er considered right or incorrect. Sometimes two theories have precisely the same explanatory power because they make the same anticipations. Besides there could be inconsistent grounds cited to back up the theory. therefore the theory so becomes underdetermined. How do we obtain knowledge? It’s instead easy really to obtain it if we pursue it with ardor and maintain our heads receptive to larning. Knowledge is a construction in which one piece of cognition remainders on another. The foundation of this construction must be decently basic.

Foundationalism is compatible with correspondence and coherency theories of truth. Rene Descartes. a adult male I don’t peculiarly attention for. is the male parent of modern classical foundationalism. “Foundationalism stands historically as one of the most important attempts at demoing what an ideal ordination of one’s cognitive life should be like. if we have a maximally justified set of beliefs as our goal” ( Wood 78 ) . Throughout most of the history of doctrine. human cognition of both facts and values was thought to rest upon one of two metaphysical foundations: rationalism and empiricist philosophy.

Rationalism believes the foundation for human cognition is ground or reason. while empiricist philosophy believes that we were born with a clean slate and the foundation consists in human experience of the external universe. Much of epistemology has developed either in defence of. or in resistance to. assorted signifiers of incredulity. Skeptics claim “nothing can be known” . David Hume is responsible for much of the spiritual incredulity prevalent today.

In fact. Hume claimed that propositions. thoughts or feelings in our heads normally put into linguistic communication. can be meaningful merely if they meet one of the undermentioned conditions: a. ) affairs of fact that can be verified through empirical observation by one or more of the five senses. or b. ) logical thinking by utilizing a mathematical equation or definition ; for illustration: “2+2=4” or all squares have four sides. Mathematical natural philosophies was falsely made the theoretical account for all of cognition.

That brings me to my following treatment point. Questions in the foundations of mathematics are metaphysical. “Physics efforts to depict the universe and its Torahs in footings of mathematics. and several cardinal metaphysical inquiries concern the nature of mathematics. Are Numberss existent? In what sense are Numberss existent?

Why should the universe dance to the melody of mathematics? Philosophers have wrestled with that one since the yearss of Pythagoras” writes Rick Lewis in his column. Beyond Physics ( Lewis par 4 ) . All of these are illustrations of one country of survey in metaphysics. Metaphysics is by and large the philosophical survey of being or world. There are three Fieldss in metaphysics: ontology. cosmology. divinity. I will concentrate on discoursing ontology. Ontology is the philosophical survey of the nature of being. being or world as such. every bit good as the basic classs of being and their dealingss.

Ontology trades with inquiries refering whether entities exist. what are the significances of being. what is a physical object. and so forth. Ontology besides includes determinism. Fatalists believe creative activity is wholly governed by cardinal Torahs ensuing in merely one possible status at any point in clip. Historical determinism believes that historical alteration from one province from another can non be prevented. It must happen because history is governed by rigorous causal Torahs ; this is portion of Karl Marx’s philistinism. Donald DeMarco. notes. “If all human behaviour is predetermined. making… any petition at all…

contradicts [ determinism’s ] basic rule that everything is pre-determined” ( Lowery par. 11 ) . If our actions are predicted. we so do non hold free will. Free will says that entities have the freedom to do picks without certain sorts of restraints placed upon them. Do we do picks that determine our hereafter or has our life already been decided for us? Many philosophers have argued over these two beliefs and neither has been proven. A 3rd position. called compatibilism. believes that it is possible to believe in both free will and determinism without being logically inconsistent.

Compatibilism offers a solution to the free will job. They believe that there must be a deterministic or cardinal connexion between our will and our actions. This position holds people responsible for their actions. Now traveling on to Idealism. harmonizing to the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. it means “The act or pattern of visualizing things in an ideal signifier. ” In easier footings. it suggests that we strive for excellence. This sounds nice. yet worlds make errors and are imperfect people. Can we truly live up to that outlook? Sadly. no we can non!

In contrast. pragmatism means “the inclination to position or represent things as they truly are. ” We are to accept things in life the manner they are and trade with it as best we can. This takes off the force per unit area of endeavoring and unneeded duty. yet this pattern has some defects. Just because humanity makes errors doesn’t mean that it can ne’er accomplish illustriousness. Merely seeking to acquire by through life decreases our possible for illustriousness. How do we cognize there is such a thing as cosmopolitan truth? Well. let’s reflect on the announcement. “There is no such thing as a cosmopolitan truth” . Is that a true statement?

If the statement is right. so it contradicts itself because the really statement itself could non be a valid statement. It is axiomatic that this can’t be an accurate statement. It’s like stating. “the cosmopolitan truth is that there is no cosmopolitan truth” . Self-refuting propositions have three indispensable features: the thoughts are false. they falsify themselves through self-reference. or they contribute to distorting themselves. “Our logical thinking shows that there must be. at some point. axiomatic propositions. ” a quotation mark from Elton Trueblood. Basic beliefs. on the other manus. must be axiomatic.

They are true by definition and do non depend on other beliefs for justification nor are they reliant on other beliefs of experience. Non-basic beliefs derive from one or more basic beliefs and hence depend on other basic beliefs for their cogency. They are consistent with basic beliefs nevertheless they are likely likely alternatively of certain. What is the basic belief of a Christian worldview? There are two I’d like to advert: the Bible is God’s disclosure and Jesus Christ is the Son of God. All worldviews start from a basic belief. Relativism states that truth about world does non be.

This is a basic belief behind the prevailing secular worldview in our civilization. Like intellectual constructions. every individual has a worldview. Intellectual constructions are of import to understand when speaking about worldviews. A person’s worldview is really merely a subset of the beliefs in their intellectual construction. which is the entire amount of everything a individual believes. A worldview is one’s position about the universe and a aggregation of thoughts that help to do sense of the universe around us. There are primary universe positions today. I will name several of them: Naturalism. Pantheism. Panentheism. Theism. and Polytheism.

A worldview attempts to reply these inquiries: where did we come from? . who are we? . how should we populate? . and where are we traveling? After holding traveled the universe as a missional. I learned that my worldview was much different than those of other states. Bing born in a land of chance. I view the universe as a topographic point of surplus and believe that I can carry through great things in my life-time. Yet other civilizations do non hold that same hope or aspiration. A kid may merely believe about where they are traveling to acquire their following repast or a stateless individual may be concerned with where they are traveling to kip that dark.

Their truth might be that merely life to the following twenty-four hours is an achievement. Besides I have taken into history how my Christian upbringing has shaped my beliefs. Having a heavenly male parent to supply and care for my demands provides a sense of security and ownership to my life. I belong to God. God created me. I am His kid. I have purpose and significance. But what are the beliefs of those who have no God? The many people I’ve met who do non portion my religion believe that they belong to no 1 and their life and actions have no consequence on the universe. I’ve realized my Christian position is really different from that of the universes.

I think one of the biggest challenges to my religion after holding taken this class is the duty in populating a pure and holy life. There are countries in my life where I am non populating as God has commanded me. Often I do non take attention of my organic structure and acquire the remainder that I need. Besides I am non disciplined in reading and memorising His word. The list goes on and on. Other people see my actions and do judgements about my morality and obeisance to my God. I find it is rather easy to populate as the universe lives instead than life as God calls me to. I want to populate a life by God’s criterions. non by my ain criterions or feelings.

This thought brings me to my following subject of treatment. In resistance to God’s criterions. Postmodernism is the current temper that does non digest spiritual truth. Therefore making a job for the Christian wanting to portion their religion and have unfastened treatments of spiritual differences with non-believers. Tolerance. inclusion. and refusal to claim to hold the replies are the lone cosmopolitan values of postmodernism. This excludes the belief that God is the reply and has the replies. Therefore truth becomes comparative to civilization and do non use to Biblical rules.

Ravi Zacharias. a Canadian-American evangelical Christian vindicator and revivalist. shared his position of station modernism. He wrote. “Philosophically. you can believe anything. so long as you do non claim it to be true. Morally. you can pattern anything. so long as you do no claim that it is a “better” manner. Religiously. you can keep to anything. so long as you do non convey Jesus Christ into it. If a religious thought is eastern. it is granted critical unsusceptibility ; if western. it is exhaustively criticized. Therefore. a journalist can walk into a church and mock its carryings on. but he or she dare non make the same if the ceremonial is from the eastern crease.

Such is the temper at the terminal of the 20th century. A temper can be a unsafe province of head. because it can oppress ground under the weight of feeling. But that is exactly what I believe postmodernism best represents–a mood” ( Zacharias 7 ) . Finally I’d like to reason this paper by discoursing the mind/body job. Harmonizing to Materialists. our picks are the merchandise of old causes that are outside our control. Materialism besides seems to deny human reason because idea is reduced to the inadvertent fire of nerve cells. They believe that there is merely one sort of material. material material.

To a materialist we are automatons whose computing machine has come alive. Another thesis is the position that world is comprised of two sorts of material: affair and head. We call this point of view dualism. It is the most widely held position and was made popular by the philosopher Descartes. Dualism is compatible with Christian Bible. There have been troubles with dualism. One mystifying job is non being able to find if animate beings have souls. Besides what happens to the psyches of animate beings when they die? “There are certain beings. like sea star. which can be cut into parts with each portion later developing into a complete organism” ( Hasker 69 ) .

Now that there is two starfish. does that intend there are now two psyches? Where so does the 2nd psyche come from? If we think a life being consists of lone atoms. so how do we explicate the experience of feelings such as pleasance or hurting? Even after 100s of old ages of philosophers seeking replies to these inquiries. the enigma of the head and organic structure remains. “and if anyone is ready with a speedy and easy reply. it may be said with assurance that such individual has neither probed the deepnesss of the inquiry nor considered to the full the complexnesss and troubles that arise out of the proposed answer” ( Hasker 58 ) .

Plants Cited Anissimov. Michael. What is Logical Positivism? . 07 October 2010. Online. hypertext transfer protocol: //www. wisegeek. com/what-is-logical-positivism. htm Bourke. Vernon J. ( 1962 ) . “Rationalism” . p. 263 in Runes ( 1962 ) . Dilts. Robert. The Article of the Month. Santa Cruz. CA. 1998. Online. hypertext transfer protocol: //www. nlpu. com/Articles/artic20. htm Hasker. William. Metaphysicss: Constructing a World View. Downers Grove. Prairie state: InterVarsity Press. 1983. Print. Lowery. Mark. How to Indicate Out Seven Self-Refuting Secularist Propositions. Online.

hypertext transfer protocol: //www. catholicculture. org/culture/library/view. cfm? recnum=678 Rick. Lewis. Beyond Physics. Philosophy Now Magazine. Oct. /Nov. 2010. Online. hypertext transfer protocol: //www. philosophynow. org/issue81/81lewis. htm Stevenson. C. L. . Ethical motives and Language. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1944. Print. Wood. W. Jay. Epistemology: Becoming Intellectually Virtuous. Downers Grove. Prairie state: InterVarsity Press. 1998. Print. Zacharias. Ravi. Jesus Among Other Gods. Nashville. Tennessee: W Publishing Group. February 8. 2002. Print.

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