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    Major Questions in Epistemology

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    Can you please give a simplistic understanding of this assignment? Thank you!

    a. What are the major areas addressed by traditional philosophers of knowledge, and how do they compare with your concerns in this area? Consider a broad spectrum of eras and approaches in your response.

    b. What avenues of epistemic exploration will be useful in your endeavors, and which do you consider inapplicable?

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    Epistemology, which comes from episteme (knowledge) and logos (theory), is the branch of philosophy that deals with the theory of knowledge. It is concerned with the nature, scope, presuppositions, basis and reliability of the claims of knowledge
    The founders of philosophy as a discipline in the West, known as the pre-Socratics, didn't pay much attention to the theory of knowledge as they were more concerned with the nature of change. They took it for granted that the knowledge of nature or reality was possible even though some of them favoured one way of acquiring that knowledge over other ways. Heraclitus favoured the use of the senses while Parmenides favoured reason. Centuries later, with Socrates and the Sophists, the issue of whether we can know reality with certainty became a problem. Protagoras, the said that «Man is the measure of all things», that is that reality is as it appears to man and Georgias stated that the knowledge of reality is impossible and even if it were, it would be impossible to communicate such knowledge.
    Plato is widely acknowledged as the founder of Epistemology. He attempted to deal with the basic questions or major problems of epistemology. These are:

    - What is knowledge?
    - Does knowledge require absolute certainty?
    - How much of what we think we know is real knowledge?
    - What is the source of knowledge?
    - What is the relationship between knowledge and belief?
    - Do we know only through our senses or only through our reason or both?

    The first question requires a correct analysis or definition of the concept of knowledge. This leads to a distinction between knowledge and belief.

    The standard answer is that knowledge is justified true belief. This in turn leads to a further question: what is a true belief and when is it justified? Edmund Gettier has disputed this traditional definition of knowledge by showing that a false belief can be justified and therefore what is inferred from such a proposition cannot be knowledge since it is based on a false premise which may by mere chance be correct. He set out this argument in his famous three page article titled «Is Justified Belief Knowledge? » Know as the «Gettier Problem», it is the major problem in contemporary epistemology which has not been satisfactorily resolved such that most epistemologists could be satisfied with the solution. Traditionally knowledge has been understood as below:
    S believes that P IFF (if and only if).
    (i) P is true
    (ii) S believes that P and
    (iii) S is justified in believing that P.

    Before Gettier, other major problems which still linger are the ones mentioned above.

    Many epistemologists claim that knowledge does not require absolute certainty. As to the source of knowledge, some claim it is the sense or sensation while others claim it is the reason. This gave rise to empiricism as found in Epicurus, Locke, Berkely, Hume, Mill and others who posit that only sense experience can give us knowledge. Another attempt to solve the problem is rationalism found in Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz and others who submit that it is only our reason that gives us real knowledge. Kant tried to combine both empiricism and rationalism in order to arrive at real knowledge in his Critique of Pure Reason. Kant famously said in the book that "Concepts without percepts are empty; percepts without concepts are blind."

    Another major problem is the scope of knowledge, which is, what can be known and what cannot be known. This brings the problem of the ...

    Solution Summary

    Is Justified True Belief Knowledge? In other words, how can one justify the statement:

    S believes that P IFF (if and only if).
    (i) P is true
    (ii) S believes that P and
    (iii) S is justified in believing that P.

    This is the issue this post deals with.