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Epistemology

Rationality and Inquiry

Rationality is something that we do not always understand. Inquiry is something that everyone uses at some point or other. But rationality is more than grammatically correct form and some combination of truthfulness or truth-aptness. Rationality is a presupposition of all inquiry. In other words, every question presupposes that there is a rational answer to that question. If I ask ” where ar...

Selfless Reasons to Support Free Speech

I have explained why free speech is a good idea if you wish to convince other people of the truth of your position. But it is also something that you should support even if you do not know what the true position is. Free speech helps those who do not know the correct position because it permits exploration of all alternatives, clear consideration of the evidence and an open assessment of the state...

Sentences and Definitions

I have finished my discussion of self-evident concepts. Concepts do not do anything except refer to things in our experience. They must be combined in order to be of any use. There are exactly two ways to combine concepts. They may be combined as a definition or as a sentence. The difference between a definition and a sentence is that a definition is a concept and a sentence is not a concept. All ...

Particulars and Universals

The problem with names is that they can always be applied to more than one thing. But the existence of unique individuals is self-evident. It is these two facts that create a puzzle for philosophers. Anything that can be applied in many cases is a universal. But something that is unique is a particular. But why should we believe in particulars at all if particular have nothing that makes them uniq...

Are Self-Evident Truths Sufficient?

One of the early questions that I asked is whether or not self-evident truths are sufficient to build a proper philosophy on. I whether or not there is a method to determine self-evident truths. I think that these questions are related. There is no a priori method to determine whether or not self-evident truths are sufficient because there is no general method to determine self-evident truths. The...

Disagreement and Self-Evident Truth

Sometimes people disagree over whether or not a truth is self-evident. Some people that the statement is true, but not self-evident. Others believe that the statement is false. In either case, they do not believe that the statement is self-evident. Unless there is a fair and logical way to adjudicate this disagreement, it will not be possible to build a philosophy on top of self-evident truths. If...

Comparing Theories of the World

In my previous post, I showed that there is no experiences or appearances of our world that are not also theories of the world. This means that a way is needed to compare these theories. There must be theoretical virtues such as simplicity and explanatory power that mean that one theory is better than another theory. No theory can be compared to another theory on the basis of any sensory input at ...

Theories and the Blank Slate

In my previous post, I explained that modern theories of the mind usually assume that the mind begins as a blank slate. But we cannot choose between various theories of the world if our mind is a blank slate. All of those theories already include our knowledge of appearances, so there is no evidence that would help us decide between them. But if our minds are not blanks slates, then what are they?...

Skepticism and the Blank Slate

In my previous post, I explained that we should not solve the problem of skepticism by beginning with a method or with a representative selection of truths. We begin instead with a knowledge of appearances. If our minds are blanks slates, then this knowledge is not sufficient to solve the problem of skepticism. There are three possible ways to view the mind. The first way is that our mind contains...

Right Method or Truth: Which is First?

In my previous post, I discussed the difference between imagining something and knowing something. But we can only be certain of our knowledge of appearances. So we wish to have true beliefs. But if we want true beliefs, then we find a way of distinguishing true beliefs from false beliefs. This will gain us the ability to get more true beliefs. The right way to defeat skepticism is not by beginnin...

Skepticism

So far, I have discussed knowledge in general and in the various sciences. I have briefly mentioned skepticism when I discussed the difference between experiential, factual and theoretical knowledge, but I cannot really finish a series on knowledge without discussing skepticism. There are special and general forms of skepticism. The special forms of skepticism are all skepticism about knowledge. T...

The Science of History

History is the lowest science of all. It is also the starting point of any of the higher sciences. History is the science of particular things. It is not a demonstrative science nor can it be one. Aristotle gave this as the reason that history was not a science at all, but his reason is flawed. History is a science that studies particular things. While science and psychology may discuss humanity, ...