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  • 1. 10-5
  • 2. epistemology
    • study of knowledge
      • what is knowledge?
      • how is knowledge acquired?
      • what do we know?
  • 3. what is knowledge
    • epistemology deals with propositional knowledge (knowing-that)
      • this is contrasted with knowing-how, with practical knowledge
    • must involve belief
      • makes no sense to say “i know p, but i don’t believe that p”
    • must be true
      • makes no sense to say that “i know p, but p is not true”
    • general definition is that knowledge is justified true belief
      • the issue of justification is complex, and there is some disagreement about what qualifies as such
  • 4. how do we acquire knowledge
    • rationalism
      • we have knowledge a priori by way of innate ideas
      • we use such knowledge to build the rest of our knowledge
    • empiricism
      • we have knowledge a posteriori by way of experience
  • 5. rationalism
    • to be a rationalist is to adopt at least one of three claims
      • the intuition/deduction thesis
      • the innate knowledge thesis
      • the innate concept thesis
  • 6. intuition/deduction thesis
    • some propositions in a particular subject area, s, are knowable by us by intuition alone; still others are knowable by being deduced from intuited propositions
      • intuition is a form of rational insight. it allows us to just “see” the truth of some proposition
      • once we have this piece of knowledge we are able to deduce other pieces of knowledge from it
      • all knowledge gained in this way is a priori and gained independently from sense experience
      • examples might be something like mathematics or even metaphysical claims, e.g. free will, God exists, substance dualism
  • 7. innate knowledge thesis
    • we have knowledge of some truths in a particular subject area, s, as part of our rational nature
      • knowledge is not the result of intuition or deduction. it is just part of our nature that we have it.
      • the way we gained this knowledge could be by way of God, natural selection, or some other means
  • 8. innate concept thesis
    • we have some of the concepts we employ in a particular subject area, s, as part of our rational nature
      • differs slightly from innate knowledge thesis in that we can deduce knowledge from innate concepts, but are not knowledge as such
      • examples could be perfect geometric shapes, e.g. triangles, squares, etc.
  • 9. other important notions
    • there are other notions which are important to most rationalists. although it is not necessary to hold them to qualify as a rationalist, most do.
      • indispensability of reason thesis
        • the knowledge we gain in subject area, s, by intuition and deduction, as well as the ideas and instances of knowledge in s that are innate to us, could not have been gained by us through sense experience
      • superiority of reason thesis
        • the knowledge we gain in subject area s by intuition and deduction or have innately is superior to any knowledge gained by sense experience
  • 10. descartes
    • was a rationalist
    • claimed that a priori knowledge was superior to a posteriori knowledge in that the former is indubitable while the latter is open to error
    • used methodic doubt to get down to what could not be doubted
    • grasped the cogito by way of intuition and deduced all other knowledge from this foundation
  • 11. empiricism
    • claims that we have no source of knowledge in s or for the concepts we use in s other than sense experience
    • knowledge, then, is a posteriori
  • 12. locke
    • was an empiricist
    • claimed that notion of innate ideas was problematic in that it does not appear that such ideas are, as claimed by rationalists, universal (i.e. children and the mentally deficient do not have them)
    • claimed that there were only two ways to attain knowledge
      • sensation
        • understanding uses sense impressions to derive sensation; this is a representation of the world
      • reflection
        • the ability to observe within ourselves the actions of our mind
  • 13. rationalism vs. empiricism
    • it is important to note that there is some overlap in ideas
      • many empiricists agree that we can know propositions concerning relations between our concepts. that is, some truths are analytic and, hence, a priori
      • empiricists do not want to say that such intuitive knowledge can be had about the external world
  • 14. correspondence theory of truth
    • “ truth” can only be a property of a belief. that is, it makes no sense to talk about whether or not some fact of the matter is true; it is only the belief of whether or not something is such that can be true or false
    • a proper theory of truth has three requisites
      • allows truth to have an opposite, namely falsehood
      • makes truth a property of belief
      • makes it a property wholly dependent upon the relation of the beliefs to outside things
    • believing truly occurs when there is a corresponding complex not involving the mind, but only its objects