Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science)


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Philosophy of Statistics, Volume 7

Powered by. You are connected as. Connect with:. Use your name:. Thank you for posting a review! Infinitists take the infinite series to be merely potential, in the sense that an individual may have indefinitely many reasons available to them, without having consciously thought through all of these reasons when the need arises. This position is motivated in part by the desire to avoid what is seen as the arbitrariness and circularity of its chief competitors, foundationalism and coherentism.

The historical study of philosophical epistemology is the historical study of efforts to gain philosophical understanding or knowledge of the nature and scope of human knowledge.

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In philosophy, empiricism is generally a theory of knowledge focusing on the role of experience, especially experience based on perceptual observations by the senses. There are many variants of empiricism: positivism , realism and common sense being among the most commonly expounded. But central to all empiricist epistemologies is the notion of the epistemologically privileged status of sense data.

Many idealists believe that knowledge is primarily at least in some areas acquired by a priori processes or is innate —for example, in the form of concepts not derived from experience. The relevant theoretical processes often go by the name " intuition ". By contrast with empiricism and idealism, which centres around the epistemologically privileged status of sense data empirical and the primacy of reason theoretical respectively, modern rationalism adds a third 'system of thinking', as Gaston Bachelard has termed these areas and holds that all three are of equal importance: The empirical, the theoretical and the abstract.

For Bachelard, rationalism makes equal reference to all three systems of thinking. Constructivism is a view in philosophy according to which all "knowledge is a compilation of human-made constructions", [46] "not the neutral discovery of an objective truth". Piagetian constructivism, however, believes in objectivity—constructs can be validated through experimentation.

The constructivist point of view is pragmatic; [49] as Vico said: "The norm of the truth is to have made it. Pragmatism is an empiricist epistemology formulated by Charles Sanders Peirce , William James , and John Dewey , which understands truth as that which is practically applicable in the world.

Peirce formulates the maxim: 'Consider what effects, that might conceivably have practical bearings, we conceive the object of our conception to have.

Then, our conception of these effects is the whole of our conception of the object. This is in contrast to any correspondence theory of truth that holds that what is true is what corresponds to an external reality.


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William James suggests that through a pragmatist epistemology 'Theories thus become instruments, not answers to enigmas in which we can rest. Closely related to Pragmatism, naturalized epistemology considers the evolutionary role of knowledge for agents living and evolving in the world. It suggests a more empirical approach to the subject as a whole—leaving behind philosophical definitions and consistency arguments, and instead using psychological methods to study and understand how knowledge actually forms and is used in the natural world.

As such it does not attempt to answer the analytic questions of traditional epistemology but replace them with new empirical ones. Indian philosophical schools such as the Hindu Nyaya , and Carvaka , and later, the Jain and Buddhist philosophical schools, developed an epistemological tradition termed "pramana" independently of the Western philosophical tradition.

Pramana can be translated as "instrument of knowledge" and refers to various means or sources of knowledge that Indian philosophers held to be reliable. Each school of Indian philosophy had their own theories about which pramanas were valid means to knowledge and which were unreliable and why. The theory of knowledge of the Buddha in the early Buddhist texts has been interpreted as a form of pragmatism as well as a form of correspondence theory.

The main contribution to epistemology by the Jains has been their theory of "many sided-ness" or "multi-perspectivism" Anekantavada , which says that since the world is multifaceted, any single viewpoint is limited naya — a partial standpoint. The Carvaka school of materialists only accepted the pramana of perception and hence were one of the first empiricists.

Skepticism is a position that questions the validity of some or all of human knowledge. Skepticism does not refer to any one specific school of philosophy, rather it is a thread that runs through many philosophical discussions of epistemology. The first well known Greek skeptic was Socrates who claimed that his only knowledge was that he knew nothing with certainty. In Indian philosophy, Sanjaya Belatthiputta was a famous skeptic and the Buddhist Madhyamika school has been seen as taking up a form of skepticism.

Descartes ' most famous inquiry into mind and body also began as an exercise in skepticism. Descartes began by questioning the validity of all knowledge and looking for some fact that was irrefutable. In so doing, he came to his famous dictum: I think, therefore I am. Foundationalism and the other responses to the regress problem are essentially defenses against skepticism.

Similarly, the pragmatism of William James can be viewed as a coherentist defense against skepticism.

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James discarded conventional philosophical views of truth and defined truth as based on how well a concept works in a specific context, rather than objective rational criteria. The philosophy of Logical Positivism and the work of philosophers such as Kuhn and Popper can be viewed as skepticism applied to what can truly be considered scientific knowledge. Skepticism questions whether knowledge is possible at all. Skeptics argue that belief in something does not justify whether or not it is necessarily true.

The evil demon skepticism described by Descartes previously known from Plato's cave ; with an updated version from sci-fi literature describing it as the brain in a vat supposes that our sensors have been placed under the control of some external power such as a demon, mad scientist, etc. As such, everything we see is a fake, and we can never know anything about the 'real' world inhabited by the demon or mad scientist. Even if these external powers do not exist, we still must depend on only the information provided by our senses and can therefore make no definite statement about anything beyond that information.

Skeptics oppose what they sometimes call dogmatic foundationalism, which states that there must be some basic positions that are self-justified or beyond justification without reference to others. One example of such foundationalism may be found in Spinoza 's Ethics.

The skeptical response to this can take several approaches. First, claiming that "basic positions" must exist amounts to the logical fallacy of argument from ignorance combined with the slippery slope. Among other arguments, skeptics used Agrippa's trilemma , named after Agrippa the Skeptic , to claim certain belief could not be achieved.

Foundationalists have used the same trilemma argument as justification for demanding the validity of basic beliefs. This skeptical approach is rarely taken to its pyrrhonean extreme by most practitioners. Several modifications have arisen over the years, including the following Peter Suber, "Classical Skepticism" :. Fictionalism would not claim to have knowledge but adheres to conclusions on some criterion such as utility, aesthetics, or other personal criteria without claiming that any conclusion is actually "true". Philosophical fideism as opposed to religious Fideism would assert the truth of some propositions, but does so without asserting certainty.

Some forms of pragmatism would accept utility as a provisional guide to truth but not necessarily a universal decision-maker.


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There are two different categories of epistemological skepticism, which can be referred to as "mitigated" and "unmitigated" skepticism. The two forms are contrasting but are still true forms of skepticism. Mitigated skepticism does not accept "strong" or "strict" knowledge claims but does, however, approve specific weaker ones.

These weaker claims can be assigned the title of "virtual knowledge", but only to justified beliefs. Unmitigated skepticism rejects both claims of virtual knowledge and strong knowledge. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Table of Contents

For the book by Roderick Chisholm, see Theory of Knowledge book. For the alternative name for cognitive science, see Epistemics. A branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge. Plato Kant Nietzsche. Buddha Confucius Averroes. Main article: Belief.

Main article: Truth. See also: Criteria of truth. Main article: Gettier problem.

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This section does not cite any sources. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. Main article: Reliabilism. Main article: Internalism and externalism. Main article: A priori and a posteriori. Main article: Analytic—synthetic distinction.

Main article: Philosophy of Science. Main article: Regress argument. Main article: Empiricism. Main article: Rationalism.

Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science) Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science)
Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science) Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science)
Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science) Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science)
Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science) Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science)
Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science) Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science)
Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science) Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science)
Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science) Philosophical Theories of Probability (Philosophical Issues in Science)

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