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Table of contents
  1. Preface
  2. 1 Introduction to Philosophy
    1. Introduction
    2. 1.1 What Is Philosophy?
    3. 1.2 How Do Philosophers Arrive at Truth?
    4. 1.3 Socrates as a Paradigmatic Historical Philosopher
    5. 1.4 An Overview of Contemporary Philosophy
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. References
    9. Review Questions
    10. Further Reading
  3. 2 Critical Thinking, Research, Reading, and Writing
    1. Introduction
    2. 2.1 The Brain Is an Inference Machine
    3. 2.2 Overcoming Cognitive Biases and Engaging in Critical Reflection
    4. 2.3 Developing Good Habits of Mind
    5. 2.4 Gathering Information, Evaluating Sources, and Understanding Evidence
    6. 2.5 Reading Philosophy
    7. 2.6 Writing Philosophy Papers
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. References
    11. Review Questions
    12. Further Reading
  4. 3 The Early History of Philosophy around the World
    1. Introduction
    2. 3.1 Indigenous Philosophy
    3. 3.2 Classical Indian Philosophy
    4. 3.3 Classical Chinese Philosophy
    5. Summary
    6. Key Terms
    7. References
    8. Review Questions
    9. Further Reading
  5. 4 The Emergence of Classical Philosophy
    1. Introduction
    2. 4.1 Historiography and the History of Philosophy
    3. 4.2 Classical Philosophy
    4. 4.3 Jewish, Christian, and Islamic Philosophy
    5. Summary
    6. Key Terms
    7. References
    8. Review Questions
    9. Further Reading
  6. 5 Logic and Reasoning
    1. Introduction
    2. 5.1 Philosophical Methods for Discovering Truth
    3. 5.2 Logical Statements
    4. 5.3 Arguments
    5. 5.4 Types of Inferences
    6. 5.5 Informal Fallacies
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. References
    10. Review Questions
    11. Further Reading
  7. 6 Metaphysics
    1. Introduction
    2. 6.1 Substance
    3. 6.2 Self and Identity
    4. 6.3 Cosmology and the Existence of God
    5. 6.4 Free Will
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. References
    9. Review Questions
    10. Further Reading
  8. 7 Epistemology
    1. Introduction
    2. 7.1 What Epistemology Studies
    3. 7.2 Knowledge
    4. 7.3 Justification
    5. 7.4 Skepticism
    6. 7.5 Applied Epistemology
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. References
    10. Review Questions
    11. Further Reading
  9. 8 Value Theory
    1. Introduction
    2. 8.1 The Fact-Value Distinction
    3. 8.2 Basic Questions about Values
    4. 8.3 Metaethics
    5. 8.4 Well-Being
    6. 8.5 Aesthetics
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. References
    10. Review Questions
    11. Further Reading
  10. 9 Normative Moral Theory
    1. Introduction
    2. 9.1 Requirements of a Normative Moral Theory
    3. 9.2 Consequentialism
    4. 9.3 Deontology
    5. 9.4 Virtue Ethics
    6. 9.5 Daoism
    7. 9.6 Feminist Theories of Ethics
    8. Summary
    9. Key Terms
    10. References
    11. Review Questions
    12. Further Reading
  11. 10 Applied Ethics
    1. Introduction
    2. 10.1 The Challenge of Bioethics
    3. 10.2 Environmental Ethics
    4. 10.3 Business Ethics and Emerging Technology
    5. Summary
    6. Key Terms
    7. References
    8. Review Questions
    9. Further Reading
  12. 11 Political Philosophy
    1. Introduction
    2. 11.1 Historical Perspectives on Government
    3. 11.2 Forms of Government
    4. 11.3 Political Legitimacy and Duty
    5. 11.4 Political Ideologies
    6. Summary
    7. Key Terms
    8. References
    9. Review Questions
    10. Further Reading
  13. 12 Contemporary Philosophies and Social Theories
    1. Introduction
    2. 12.1 Enlightenment Social Theory
    3. 12.2 The Marxist Solution
    4. 12.3 Continental Philosophy’s Challenge to Enlightenment Theories
    5. 12.4 The Frankfurt School
    6. 12.5 Postmodernism
    7. Summary
    8. Key Terms
    9. References
    10. Review Questions
  14. Index

7.1 What Epistemology Studies

Epistemology is the study of knowledge and its associated concepts, such as truth and justification. The discipline of epistemology uses many tools, including conceptual analysis, argumentation, and research. Traditional epistemology focuses on propositional knowledge, which is knowledge of facts or statements. There are other types of knowledge, including procedural knowledge and knowledge by acquaintance. Because knowledge and justification are treated as valuable and epistemology studies these concepts, epistemology is both descriptive and a normative discipline.

7.2 Knowledge

The traditional understanding of knowledge, which comes from Plato, is that it consists of justified true belief. Plato’s account was generally accepted until the 1960s, when philosopher Edmund Gettier offered counterexamples, known as Gettier cases. Gettier cases reveal that justified true belief is not sufficient for knowledge, a problemed called the Gettier problem. Many theorists attempt to solve the Gettier problem by strengthening Plato’s account. Fixes include adding another condition to the definition and clarifying what justification is.

7.3 Justification

Justification for a belief makes the belief more likely to be true. How justification works and the nature of justification are important to the study of epistemology. Internalism is the view that justification is entirely dependent on factors internal to the mind of the knower. Externalism is the view that at least some elements that determine justification are external to the mind of the knower. Attempts to solve the Gettier problem have come in both internal and external forms. Theorists also study justification as it exists in the structure of entire belief systems. Foundationalists believe that all beliefs rest on a foundation of basic beliefs, while coherentists hold that beliefs exist in a web of mutually supporting and consistent beliefs. Justification has many sources, but all of them are fallible, which means that even justified beliefs can be false.

7.4 Skepticism

Skepticism is the view that all or some of our knowledge is impossible. A global skeptic rejects the possibility of all knowledge and often focuses on the possibility of justification for beliefs of the external world. Global skeptics usually put forth a skeptical hypothesis—a way that the world could be that would entail that all our beliefs are false—and show that we cannot rule out the hypothesis. Skeptical hypotheses include the possibility that we are dreaming, that a powerful demon is tricking us, and that we are brains in vats or trapped in virtual reality. All skeptical arguments take advantage of the fact that we cannot rule out skeptical hypotheses on the evidence we have. Those who argue against skepticism claim we do not need the level of justification that skeptics claim we do.

7.5 Applied Epistemology

Applied epistemology uses the concepts, methods, and theories particular to epistemology and applies them to current social issues and practices. An important area of applied epistemology is social epistemology, which focuses on the social facets of knowledge and justification and how groups form beliefs. Testimony refers to how we gain knowledge from and share knowledge with others. Social epistemology studies how to evaluate our beliefs when they conflict with the testimony of others. Social epistemology also illuminates how injustice can arise in epistemological endeavors in a social world. Testimonial injustice occurs when the opinions of individuals are systematically discounted or ignored unfairly. Hermeneutical injustice occurs when a society’s language and concepts cannot adequately capture the experience of all its members.

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