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Epistemology and Metaphysics

Epistemology and Metaphysics

Question 1: Explain the historical development for each of the following schools of thought

Skepticism Rationalism

Skepticism in general is the view that we can have little or no knowledge; thus, moral skepticism is the view that we can have little or no moral knowledge. More radical moral skeptics argue that we cannot have moral knowledge because, in morality, there are no truths to be known. These fundamental skeptics argue either that moral judgments are all false because they erroneously presuppose the actual existence of objective values, or that moral judgments aim to express feelings or influence behavior instead of stating truths (Stegmüller 1979).

Empiricism Realism

In all its forms, empiricism stresses the fundamental role of experience. It has been widely recognized at least since the time of Hume that if we try to base an inference from sensory appearances to different objects on an empirically established correlation between them, we cannot establish that the correlation holds unless we already have knowledge of each side of it. Some have tried to side-step this difficulty by arguing that our experience is best explained by supposing that it is due to public physical objects in the ways we usually suppose (Balzer et al. 1996). But that argument has never been developed in a thoroughly convincing way. To say that there is a car parked in front of my house is to say something about what sensory experiences a sentient subject would have under certain conditions (Stegmüller 1979). The hope is that if the physical world is not radically different in nature from sense experience, it will not be impossible to infer the former from the latter. However, apart from problems that attach to even these inferences, the program runs afoul of the fact, classically pointed out by Chisholm (1948), that when we try to give an interpretation of, for example, 'There is a car parked in front of my house', we cannot specify the conditions in which a subject would have the relevant experiences without using physical-object language to do so. For example, we must include in those conditions the physical orientation and physical condition of the subject (Schultz et al. 2008).

Idealism Materialism

Idealism/Materialism is a set of related theories, which hold that all entities and processes are composed of - or are reducible to - matter, material forces or physical processes. During the first half of the seventeenth century, the atomistic materialism of the Greco-Roman period was revived in a paradoxical way by Pierre Gassendi. He appreciated the scientific interpretation of nature and methods of science but, at the same time, preserved the Christian idea of the immortality of the soul and conceived of God as the creator of the atoms (Balzer et al. 1996).

With the rapid growth of sciences, the astronomical discoveries of Copernicus, the theories of Galileo, and the systematic conception of nature in the physical theory of Isaac Newton, naturalistic interpretations of a variety of phenomena became more and more ...
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