Skepticism & Contextualism in Epistemology Essay

Epistemology. is by and large understood as the survey of cognition. The word Epistemology was coined by Scots philosopher James F. Ferrier. it is a word derived from Grecian – Episteme significance cognition and logos significance survey.

The survey of cognition or Epistemology covers non merely basic twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours conceptualisations and realisations. but it is a field of survey in itself that covers broad array of subjects and about everything one have learnt throughout his or her life. However more specifically epistemology trades with the apprehension of what is cognition. what are its beginnings. construction. bounds. & A ; beliefs.

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( Steup ) . In this paper we summarize and analyze two basic ways of analyzing and nearing cognition – Skepticism and Contextualism. Incredulity: Since the morning of human development or creative activity. we worlds have been chosen as the superior existences. This sense of high quality or zealousness can merely be attributed to one thing the power of human head.

Our head certainly has given us abilities to accomplish impossible. cleft upon unrelenting enigmas of scientific discipline. math or be it any other field. but the inquiry still remains how much of our head to make we really know or do we cognize what is head?The job in analyzing cognition arises here if we don’t cognize what is head. can we swear anything that is learnt of it. or in kernel we can fundamentally state that we don’t know anything. This disbelieving attack to knowledge is pursued by a Gallic mathematician and philosopher Rene Descartes. Incredulity in general harmonizing to Merriam-Webster’s online lexicon is defined as.

an attitude of uncertainty or a temperament to disbelief either in general or toward a peculiar object. ( Webster ) .But what precisely is Skepticism in the field of doctrine and more specifically in the context of this paper.

to reply this allow us first analyze and see Rene Descartes statement. Rene Descartes in his paper Meditation on first doctrine argues that since he had found himself incorrect on many occasions in regard to the supposed cognition he had gained over the old ages. he feels the demand to re-build this bank of cognition by analysing things and accepting merely those things that he can perfectly be certain about.

To analyse all the facts and cognition would take excessively long. so Rene targets the most basic beginning through which we take in cognition – our senses. He argues that senses are many a times lead oning and it is non sane to swear something that deceives you so frequently.

by the terminal of this statement Rene wholly shatters the impression which claimed we worlds have knowledge.After rejecting the basic beginning of soaking up of cognition ( senses ) . he so begins to doubt his being he says all of what he see could be a dream.

but he rapidly arrives to conclusion that even the things that he sees in the dream have to had been derived from existent universe or waking experiences. and hence Rene Descartes says that he can merely doubt complex things which are build up from consequence of compilation or blending simple things or facts.In kernel he says that simple things can non be doubted and with this thought he so rejects complex scientific disciplines such natural philosophies. medical specialty and astronomy whereas he says simple things such as arithmetic and geometry are true.He so argues that even simple things can be doubted. he says an all powerful being. God. could lead on him and says that we can reason God to be loving and non lead oning but the fact that Rene can non swear his ain senses is in itself is unsafe and if we were to believe there is no God the opportunities of us being deceived are more higher.

and he argues that the construct of God is excessively perfect to be doubted he so attributed his random ideas that keeps starting up to evil being that’s seeking to lead on him. because he is now certain that he can assign these ideas to evil being he can state that he can be safe as he can reject all of these ideas.Rene Descartes so begins his 2nd speculation – the nature of human head and how it is better known than the organic structure. He starts of the speculation by sketching the same boundaries that he did for the first speculation – he says.

anything with even a little sum of uncertainty would be set aside as if it were to be wholly false. until he can happen something that he can be certain of. He so says everything that he has – memories. limbs. organic structure.

form. extension. motion are all-false.

what remains is perfectly nil so fundamentally he can’t be certain of anything.He rapidly reconciles and says that these ideas. thoughts have to hold an beginning – he before said he has no organic structure. he can non swear his senses. he denied the being of the universe. but this does non intend he doesn’t exists the statement that he is being deceived by person is more than sufficient to turn out that he exists.

therefore he concludes that I am and I exists.He so asks who is this “I” that exists ; he has denied the possibility of him being a psyche that has a organic structure. he can merely be certain about one thing that he is a thing that thinks. therefore he claims to be believing being that is capable of feeling. conceive ofing & A ; has free will. He claims that the ground how he knew he existed is because of his mind.

he proves this by giving to us an illustration of a solid piece of wax wherein he identifies the honeycomb wax by its physical reasonable belongingss such as form. size. etc.Then he melts the honeycomb and he identifies the liquid as honeycomb wax even though there is nil that tells us that this liquid is the same piece of honeycomb wax. He knows that these both are the same substances through his mind. hence with this statement Rene Descartes concludes that he knows his head far better than his organic structure.

The lone that we can be certain about after Rene’s statement is that we are intellect existences that think and we exist. the cognition and experiences that we have gained could be misrepresentation.After hearing this statement we can state that incredulity is an thought of doubting the organic structure of cognition that we have gained and subjecting it to assorted political orientations and trials. it is manner of doubting and edifice up the cognition brick by brick with right true foundations. Contextualism: Context is defined as fortunes that form the scene of an event.

statement or thought in footings of which it can be to the full understood and assessed. ( Google Dictionary ) . Stewart Cohen defines Contextualism as the position that statements. thoughts. and cognition in general are context-sensitive anything with the word “know” and other closely related words to “know” are all context sensitive.By this she means that every statement or piece of cognition that we claim to cognize is capable to examination of holding different significances in different scenarios.

state of affairss and it might keep different value for different people as in each statement that we claim to cognize can hold different degrees of importance for different people and therefore can be interpreted otherwise. For Example – Suppose that Kim is 50 old ages old. Scenario 1: Kim goes back to college & A ; moves into the residence hall. Peoples say: She is old.

Scenario 2: Kim retires early & A ; goes to retiree tiffin. Peoples say: She is non old. In both the scenarios what people say is true and therefore the word old is context-sensitive and could hold different ascription. and intending in different state of affairss.Similarly the word “know” is context- sensitive and Stewart Cohen gives an illustration of this wherein she says Mary & A ; John are at L. A airdrome they are taking a flight to New York and they want the flight to halt at Chicago. but they aren’t certain about this. meanwhile a transition Smith checks his path and says that he knows the flight to New York is halting at Chicago but Mary and John aren’t certain about this and they call their Airline agent to look into whether the flight is halting at Chicago.

In the above instance we can see that Smith was right in his belief that the flight was traveling to halt at Chicago. and he claimed he knew that. However Mary and John didn’t believe it because their criterion to judge that were excessively strong.

Thus we can reason that the word know have different properties for everyone. Each and every statement that we claim we know might hold different significance for other people and might be understood in a much different manner than what our apprehension of it was. ( Cohen. 57 – 63 ) .Contextualism is really logical statement which without denying the being of skepticism’s statement attempts to embrace both and say that whatever sceptics say can be true but it doesn’t average that contextualist’s statement has to be incorrect for them to be right. Cohen claims that both the statements are capable to their ain context and they both are right when taken in their specific context without anyone of them being incorrect. For Example – Descartes claims. “You don’t know that you have custodies.

”Descartes is a skeptic. when discoursing his paper he is at an religious. rational high and in the sense of his statement to turn out his point through his intellectuality and spiritualty he is right when he says. you don’t cognize that you have custodies. While at the same clip in a common conversation we can claim that we know we have custodies.

as both of these statements are subjected to different contexts both of these statements are right without any of them beliing each other. Similarly while we discuss something like Descartes paper we claim that we don’t know anything. we claim that we don’t have a organic structure and psyche and our senses are lead oning.

But when speech production in general context we know that we have a organic structure. we believe that we have a psyche. we claim that we know a batch if non everything and senses although deceiving can be trusted. It might look at first glimpse that the two claims contradict each other whereas in world they do non belie each other they merely exist in different contexts. Descartes argues in the context of his paper in his mind and spiritualty of assorted possibilities scenarios to assorted possible state of affairss in his purpose to dissect epistemology while the other set of claims are made in the context of daily life and both of us are true without any of us being incorrect.

Mentions and Work Cited Cohen. Stewart. Contextualism. Skepticism. and the Structure of Reasons.33. Nous. 1999.

57 – 89. Print. & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www.

jstor. org/stable/2676096. & gt ; . Descartes.

Rene. Meditations on First Philosophy. Print. “Dictionary and Thesaurus – Merriam-Webster Online. ” Web. 6 Mar. 2013.

& lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //www. merriam-webster. com/ & gt ; . SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Meditations on First Philosophy. ” SparkNotes. com. SparkNotes LLC.

n. d. .

Web. 8 Mar. 2013.

Steup. Matthias. “Epistemology” . The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy ( Winter 2012 Edition ) . Edward N. Zalta ( ed. ) .

URL = & lt ; hypertext transfer protocol: //plato. Stanford. edu/archives/win2012/entries/epistemology/ & gt ; .


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