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Since then, all of the great philosophers of the Western tradition have had a great deal to say about knowledge. Tok chapter 1 Descartes in the seventeeth century, however, questions about knowledge did not occupy center stage in most philosophical work.
It was only until the nineteenth century that a separate sub-discipline called "theory of knowledge" or "epistemology" emerged. Rorty argues in that chapter that "theory of knowledge" is a project best abandoned. Another "core" sub-discipline of analytic philosophy is metaphysics, which Lehrer calls "theory Tok chapter 1 reality.
Lehrer mentions Plato and Aristotle as practitioners of "metaphysical epistemology", which establishes a theory of reality on some grounds and then "appends" a theory of knowledge to it. He regards this procedure as "uncritically" assuming knowledge of the nature of reality.
This, he goes on, begs the question against someone a skeptic who challenges whether the theory of reality is correct pp In the introductory notesit can be seen that Plato at least is not guilty of this kind of practice. In fact, it is probably much more common nowadays, given the high degree of specialization within the sub-disciplines of analytic philosophy.
Theory of knowledge as an autonomous sub-discipline really began with Descartes in the seventeenth century. Concerned to avoid error at all costs and bent on overthrowing the prevailing theory of reality Descartes refused to admit the existence of anything real until he could establish that it is known and not merely believed to exist.
The theory of reality is firmly subordinated to the theory of knowledge. The peculiarity of Descartes's approach was his "method of doubt," whereby began his investigation of knowledge by considering as false whatever was subject to the slightest doubt.
This way, he could be sure to avoid error. Descartes claimed to have more or less successfully suspended his belief in the existence of his own body and the entire physical world until he could dispel the slight doubt attached to their existence.
As Lehrer notes, the only thing that Descartes could not doubt was the existence of ideas or thoughts. Even if he was a victim of a powerful evil being, bent on deceiving him, there still must be the thoughts that are the targets of deception.
Whether or not they were true, the thoughts existed. Lehrer notes that this does not make for an adequate starting point for the rest of knowledge. He points out that Hume argued convincingly that one cannot establish the existence of things outside our ideas unless one already knows that the ideas are correlated with the things, which begs the question against the skeptic.
See Chapter 3 for more on this kind of argument. Lehrer is correct in claiming that this "skeptical epistemology" makes it very difficult to show that we have any knowledge at all.
Most scholars think that Descartes, despite his best efforts, could not find a way out of his skeptical starting point. Here is what the eighteenth century "common-sense" philosopher Thomas Reid, whom Lehrer admires, said about the matter. But is this [Cartesian skepticism] to be despaired of, because Descartes and his followers have failed?
This pusillanimity would be injurious to ourselves and injurious to truth.
Useful discoversies are sometimes indeed the effect of superior genius, but more frequently they are the birth of time and of accidents. A traveller of good judgment may mistake his way, and be unawares led into a wrong track; and, while the road is fair before him, he may go on without suspicion and be followed by others; but when it ends in a coal-pit, it requires no great judgment to know that he hath gone wrong, nor perhaps to find out what has misled him.
Reid himself faulted Descartes's "way of ideas" as leading to skepticism about material things. But Lehrer adds that the reverse holds as well: The way to avoid the dogmatism of metaphysical epistemology and the skepticism of skeptical epistemology, according to Lehrer, is "critical epistemology" p.
Lehrer assumes that common sense and science are correct in their descriptions of reality and of what we know.
Common sense holds that real, knowable things are the ordinary objects we encounter: Science has a much richer field of objects, and the knowledge claims it makes are often rather far removed from what common sense acknowledges.
Interlude We leave the track of Lehrer's text for a discussion of how to begin the study of the theory of knowledge. Socrates and Plato began their investigations of various subject-matters by asking what they are.
If the theory of knowledge is an investigation of what knowledge is, then we should look for the best way of answering the Socratic question "What is knowledge? A list of instances would not satisfy Socrates and Plato, since they demanded that we provide some common element that makes the instances cases of knowledge.
The bottom-up strategy would provide this by a process of abstraction: But the bottom-up strategy engenders a paradox. The goal is to discover what knowledge is through cases, but what are the cases? It would seem that we need to know already what knowledge is in order to determine whether these cases are really cases of knowledge.
This paradox is a variant of the "learner's paradox" found at the beginning of Plato's Meno.Theory of Knowledge and Theory of Reality. Philosophers in the West at least since Socrates and Plato in the 4th century BCE have investigated the nature of knowledge. Scribd is the world's largest social reading and publishing site.
Start studying TOK- Chapter 1. Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Part 1 - Knowers and Knowing Chapter 1 - The Problem of Knowledge [undefined: gullibility, open-mindedness, paranormal phenomena] van de Lagemaat, Richard.
"4 - Perception." Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, Print. Emotion Relativism The doctrine that knowledge, truth, and morality exist in relation to culture, society, or historical context, and are not absolute Judgement A good judgement is the ability to balance scepticism with open-mindedness Truth is relative and is different for different individuals or.
Part 1 - Knowers and Knowing Chapter 1 - The Problem of Knowledge [undefined: gullibility, open-mindedness, paranormal phenomena] van de Lagemaat, Richard. "4 - Perception." Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma.