The Problem of Knowledge

The Problem of Knowledge

The Problem of Knowledge

The Problem of Knowledge

Excerpt

In this book I begin by taking the question of what is meant by knowledge as an example of a philosophical enquiry. Having maintained that to say that one knows a fact is to claim the right to be sure of it, I show how such claims may be disputed on philosophical grounds. Though their targets vary, these sceptical challenges follow a consistent pattern; the same line of reasoning is used to impugn our knowledge of the external world, or of the past, or of the experiences of others. The attempt to meet these objections supplies the main subject-matter for what is called the theory of knowledge; and different philosophical standpoints are characterized by the acceptance or denial of different stages in the sceptic's argument.

Having dealt in a general way with the question of scepticism and certainty, I pass to a detailed analysis of the philosophical problems of perception, memory, and one's knowledge of other minds. I do not suppose that I have said the last word upon any of these problems, but I hope that I have done something to clear the way for their solution. In the course of the book I also make some observations about philosophical method, the dimensions of time, causality, and personal identity. I have tried throughout to present my argument in a way that can be of interest to the general reader as well as to professional philosophers: but I have not tried to make my subject appear more simple than it is.

Some of the material which I have included in the . . .

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