Chapter Five: Knowledge–How do you know. Chapter Five: Knowledge–How do you know. Chapter Five: Knowledge–How do you know?
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This chapter discusses the various epistemological theories. Historically, there are two main positions when it comes to epistemology: Rationalism and Empiricism. Both make important claims, but both positions also have problems. For instance, Rationalism assumes that we all possess certain innate ideas that ground human knowledge, but as John Locke shows this appears false since different people have different ideas about things like God, self, causation, etc. Empiricism says that sensory impressions ground knowledge but this position runs into the skeptical conclusions identified by David Hume. The upshot of these two theories is the position of Immanuel Kant’s Transcendental Idealism. In short, his position is that we humans structure our experience via fundamental “categories” and that because we all do this, knowledge can be valid, but only for us and not necessarily for all kinds of knowers. Furthermore, there is the role of science and its methods in establishing what we can know–indeed many might say that it is the arbiter of truth. But, despite common opinion, it too has its problems and questions. Given this, and your understanding of Chapter Five, answer the following:
Question: What does it mean to be skeptical about knowledge and, further, what role does skepticism play in obtaining knowledge? Does being “skeptical,” “ignorant,” and/or “intellectually humble” mean the same thing? If not, what are the differences and are any of these essential to obtaining truth?
In answering this question, be sure to spell out your position and address any problems or objections your position might encounter. For instance, what implications might your conclusions have upon the nature and methods of science? Be specific and provide examples to show what you mean and as always be sure to incorporate the text into your responses.
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