Epistemology: A Collection of Online Resources and Key Quotes

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This page aims to make learning about epistemology (the study of knowledge) as easy as possible by bringing together the best articles, podcasts, and videos from across the internet onto one page. To get started, simply choose one of the resources listed below, or browse a selection of key quotes on knowledge at the bottom of the page. Encyclopedia Articles This section features articles from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. The SEP is probably the most comprehensive online philosophy resource. It features in-depth articles …

The New Foundations of Knowledge – a short reading from Descartes’ ‘Meditations on First Philosophy’

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Introduction RenĂ© Descartes (1596-1650) was a mathematician, scientist, and philosopher. Published in 1641, his Meditations on First Philosophy is one of the most influential works of philosophy ever written. Descartes aims to place philosophical knowledge on absolutely secure foundations. To do this he looks for a starting point which can be known beyond all doubt. Evidence from our senses sometimes mislead us, so they cannot be used a secure foundation of knowledge. In fact, it seems like it is possible to doubt almost all our knowledge. However, Descartes believes there …

The Allegory of the Cave – a short reading from Plato’s Republic

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“Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?” In this passage, from book seven of Plato’s Republic, Socrates describes an unusual cave in which prisoners have been chained since childhood. The prisoners in this allegory represent the majority of mankind who perceive only the shadows of reality and hear only the echoes of truth. They cling to their mistaken view of reality and have no desire to escape their prison. Only philosophers make the journey out …

The Parable of the Ship: The Importance of Knowledge in Political Decision-making – a short reading from Plato’s Republic

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“The truth is, that, when a man is ill, whether he be rich or poor, to the physician he must go, and he who wants to be governed, to him who is able to govern.” In this passage, from book six of Plato’s Republic, Socrates argues that his ideal city can only come about if there is a union of political power with philosophy, in other words, political power must be in the hands of philosophers. Now, it is important to note that when Socrates says that philosophers should rule …