The Problem of Knowledge Analytical Essay by Shaad

The Problem of Knowledge
A cursory example of epistemology in relation to its limitations.
# 128419 | 1,164 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2009 | BD
Published by on Jul 20, 2010 in Philosophy (Epistemology)

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This paper provides a general overview of epistemology. It presents the view that certainty in knowledge is elusive, and illustrates with examples from everyday life. The paper also takes a cursory look at the theory of knowledge and how knowledge comes through the three-fold process of observation, consistency, and verifiability and goes on to show how all three processes are susceptible to error. Additionally, the paper takes a look at Plato's assertion that all knowledge is mere remembrance and considers Descartes' claims to certainty, pointing out his particular error.

From the Paper:

"Three things are necessary for us to arrive at the truth of a proposition - observation, consistency, and verifiability. Since all knowledge comes through observation, this is naturally the starting point. Secondly, what we declare to be true must be consistent with everything else that has already been declared to be true. And thirdly, one isolated observation is not enough, for someone else may come with testimony that contradicts the first observation, and verifiability is the test that this will not happen. The first criterion is trivial. The second may be an arduous task, given the magnitude of knowledge as a whole. However, the third criterion is the principle barrier to certitude, because a second observation only adds weight to the first, but cannot verify it finally. It is always likely that a contradictory observation is made. Certainty is also precluded by the fact that we may be dreaming, hallucinating, or even the probability that we are in the grip of an evil genius who controls our perceptions. "

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Day, Jane Mary. Plato's Meno in Focus: In Focus. New York: Routledge, 1994.
  • Descartes, Rene. Meditations and Other Metaphysical Writings. Translated by Desmond M. Clarke. New York: Penguin Classics, 1998.
  • Hospers, John. An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis. New York: Routledge, 1997.

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