Epistemology: How we know what we know

Dear hijas,

Moving on to the third area of philosophical and religious thought, or the third component of a person’s worldview, we come to the area of epistemology (from episteme, knowledge, and logos, word or discourse).

We are attempting to answer the question of ‘how we know that we know’, or ‘how we know what we know’. Epistemology addresses questions of truth, belief, justification, and the origin, nature, methods, and limits of knowledge.

Philosophers since the ancient Greeks and before have attempted to answer this very important question, grappling with this problem of knowledge, trying to discover what we know and how we come to know it.

Epistemological questions can be as follows:

1) What is the nature of truth and of objectivity?

2) What is the nature of belief and of knowledge? What are their relationships? Can we know and yet not believe?

3) What are the standards that justify beliefs? How do we know what we know? What is the proof or evidence that is acceptable?

4) What are the proper procedures for science and discovery? How are they evaluated? What standards do they offer? (Gary Demar, ed., Pushing the Antithesis: The Apologetic Methodology of Greg L. Bahnsen, American Vision, Powder Springs, GA, 2007).

As in the other two areas we’ve discussed of metaphysics and morals, there is both the ‘problem’ and then ‘solutions’. We’ll start with the problem, and then see out of the few solutions, which one fits the world of human experience and the universe we find ourselves in. We’ll discover that each of us as ‘philosophers’ must establish our theory of knowledge on something. What that ‘something’ is, will be the topic of our next posts.

As always, I remain,

Dear ol’ Dad

Vaya con Dios mis hijas!


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