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Nexus Philosophy, Sociology, Sociological Theory, Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Social Sciences, Epistemology, Applied_Logic#Epistemic_logic



Foundational in philosophy, epistemology raises the questions what knowledge is, and how and to what extent we have it. There is a focus on related notions such as belief, justification, evidence, and warrant.

Other themes includes skepticism - especially whether we can have knowledge of the external world (Descartes raised this in First Meditation), and inductive skepticism (see Hume's Treatise and First Enquiry). One can also be skeptical about other minds and about the past.

Another area of focus in epistemology is on sources of knowledge. These include sense-perception, introspection and self-knowledge, memory, testimony, a priori knowledge (see e.g. Kant in Critique of Pure Reason). See also the process of induction and the so-called 'new riddle of induction.' Confirmation, and probability.

Knowledge of unobservables - highlighting the distinction between theory and observation.

What does it mean to explain something - explanation.

Methodology in its turn can be seen as applied epistemology, the study of scientific method, a basis for Philosophy of Science.

Focus also on nature of scientific explanation and the status of theories. Should we be committed to those entities posited by our theories, and can theoris be incommensurable? Incommensurability.

Epistemological dichotomies

Anthropology and Sociology of Knowledge

Philosophy conventionally approaches knowledge in an epistemological way. It is interested in the preconditions for acquiring true knowledge. However, there is another philosophical mode in which knowledge is not understood as a matter of reference, but as one of manipulation. The driving question no longer is "how to find the truth?" but "how are objects handled in practice?" The Anthropology and Sociology of knowledge, in their own ways, see idea systems as the outcome or expression of certain interests. Max Weber, Karl Mannheim. The notion of the Knowledge Society, how science, especially social science is appropriated by capitalist modes of knowledge production and management, is used to highlight such processes. One example is universities that are serving interests, rather than being independent research institutions. The notion of the commodification of knowledge. Knowledge is not an objective entity ‘out there’ in the world but a product of social practices, of classification (Bowker and Star, 2000). For an anthropological ethnography concerned with how knolwedge objects are handled see Annemarie Mol, The Body Multiple.

A fundamental question in epistemology is how social systems are constructed. Is it only through communication, by human agency, language and action, or also or instead through relations of production or collectively defined or managed structures?

Internet technology and epistemology

Impact of internet? The knowledge of humanity accessible to humanity.

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