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Philosophy & Knowledge

Branches of Philosophy
Ontology (metaphysics) What is real? Ethics What is right or wrong? Aesthetics What is beauty?

Epistemology What is knowledge?

Ontology (Metaphysics)
The study of existence "What is real?" Encompasses everything that exists, as well as the

nature of existence itself Questions if the world is real, or merely an illusion A fundamental view of the world around us

Ethics
Deals with what is the proper course of action for

man It asks the question, "What should I do?" The study of right and wrong in human endeavors Way we categorize our values and pursue them

Do we pursue our own happiness, or do we sacrifice ourselves to a greater cause? Is that foundation of ethics based on the Bible, or on the very nature of man himself, or neither?

Aesthetics
The study of art What art consists of? What is the purpose of art?

Does art consist of music, literature, and painting?


Is a good engineering solution, or a beautiful sunset? How do you evaluate art? Is art in the eye of the beholder? Does anything that appeals to you fit under the umbrella of art? Are there objective measure of art?

Epistemology
The study of our method of acquiring knowledge "How do we know?" It encompasses the nature of concepts and the

constructing of concepts Deals with the validity of the senses and logical reasoning Concerned with how our minds are related to reality and whether these relationships are valid or invalid Thoughts, ideas, memories, emotions, and all things mental are fair game for investigation

Methods of Acquiring Knowledge


Knowledge is the mental grasp of the facts of reality Not just an awareness of reality, but an understanding of

it It is a successfully formed conclusion about reality Example : The law of gravity Knowledge is gained through a successful evaluation of one's perceptions It is through the use of reason that we draw conclusions about the world Knowledge is the information gained through the process of reason applied to reality

The Nature of Concepts


A concept is a mental abstraction which allows

generalization and the extension of knowledge A concept is formed by taking a number of similar entities and deciding what makes them similar (or dissimilar) in an important way Concept formation: Rules and Examples

Logical Reasoning
Reason is the process of thinking Reason is the method of thinking in an organized,

clear way to achieve knowledge and understanding Logic is used in integrating ideas

Sources of Knowledge
Asks the question, Where does knowledge come

from? Five Sources of Knowledge


1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Authoritative Intuitive Empirical Rational Revealed

Authoritative Knowledge
Thinks you believe because you were told

Political beliefs Parents Teachers Patriotism Prejudices Government

Intuitive
Thinks you just feel are right The apparent ability to acquire knowledge without a

clear inference or the use of reason gut feeling

Empirical
Gained through senses Verifiable Replicable

Scientific observation

Rational
Drawing conclusions from premises Comprehension, intelligence, or inference using

logical steps Use of logic Mathematics a good example

Revealed
Religious knowledge

Bible or other religious text Revealed by higher authority Like intuitive and authoritative

Sources of Knowledge
Assignment: Go back to your posting of 20 Things I Know and

classify the source of each of the things you know Authoritative, Intuitive, Empirical, Rational or Revealed Think about your sources of knowledge. On the Sources of Knowledge forum on the BB Discussion board, write a paragraph describing your conclusions Is there a pattern in your sources of knowledge (does one or two

dominate)? Are you surprised or is this consistent with what you know?

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