What Is the Best Way to Gain Knowledge?

What Is the Best Way to Gain Knowledge?
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Do We Know What Knowledge Is?
Address a famous problem concerning the nature of knowledge, posed by contemporary philosopher Edmund Gettier. Use different thought experiments to test the traditional definition of knowledge. Discover firsthand the bafflement and enlightenment that comes from doing philosophy.
How Do We Find the Best Explanation?
Explore the power of abduction, a form of induction also known as inference to the best explanation, that is used not only by philosophers, but also by doctors to make medical diagnoses and scientists to construct theories. Even Sherlock Holmes--the master of deduction--really practiced abductive inference.
Is Knowledge Possible?
Having covered ways of gaining evidence and justifying belief in pursuit of knowledge, now ask: Is knowledge really possible? See what Plato had to say. Then delve into Rene Descartes' celebrated struggle with this problem, analyzing the strengths and weaknesses of his position.
Is Reason The Source Of Knowledge?
Part of the Series: Examined Life Series
Is Reason the Source of Knowledge? presents the rationalism of Descartes and Leibnitz, the roots of rationalism in Plato and geometry, and the continuing debate over whether the mind alone can generate knowledge.
How Does Science Add To Knowledge?
Part of the Series: Examined Life Series
How Does Science Add to Knowledge? highlights the classic, Baconian inductivist view that grew out of the Scientific Revolution and challenges to that view posed by Karl Popper and Thomas Kuhn. Includes consideration of Kuhn's views about the role that paradigm theories play in scientific revolutions.
Does Knowledge Depend On Experience?
Part of the Series: Examined Life Series
Does Knowledge Depend on Experience? focuses on the 17th and 18th Century empiricism of John Locke, George Berkeley and David Hume, and the 20th Century empiricism and naturalism of W.V.O. Quine, who is interviewed.
What Is Truth?
Now begin a section of the course devoted to the big question: What is knowledge? Start with the problem of defining truth. Investigate three philosophical theories that attempt to pin down this elusive concept: pragmatism, coherentism, and the correspondence theory.
What Is God Like?
Traditionally, if God exists, God is perfect--God is omniscient, omnipotent and omnibenevolent. See how these three attributes are likely inconsistent with each another. Focus in particular on the difficulties with St. Anselm's argument for a perfect God, and look at modern proposals for redefining our conception of God.
What Does It Mean to Be Free?
Some philosophers, called compatibilists, argue that if we understand free will correctly, the idea that humans are free becomes defensible, leaving room for moral responsibility. Evaluate this stance, and close by considering the consequences of conceding that we don't have free will in the traditional sense.
What Preserves Personal Identity?
Spend the next four lectures on the big question: Could there be an afterlife? First, ask what defines a person and how personal identity is preserved over time. Discover that many proposed answers fail, including the notion that personal identity is preserved by the soul.
What Do Minds Do, If Anything?
Examine three more theories of the mind--property dualism, epiphenomenalism, and eliminative materialism--discovering that each has shortcomings. All of us feel that we have minds, so why is it so difficult to pin down what the mind is? Could the mind be an illusion?
What Justifies a Government?
Does government arise naturally from a state of anarchy? Does this fact morally justify it? Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean Jacques Rousseau thought so. However, each of these philosophers saw different factors driving individuals to enter into the social contract. Compare their views.