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Introduction to the Study of the History of Epistemology



The text is structured in chronological and ideological order and presents nine basic types of the classical perception of the problem of knowledge through an analysis of the atomistic theory of perception, Platonism, Aristotle’s doctrine, scepticism, rationalism, sensualism, Kant’s theory, phenomenological-existential, pragmatic, and (post) analytical perceptions. The proposed work aspires to be an introduction (not a complete presentation, neither in the number of types, nor in a full interpretation) and a basis for the reader’s interpretations which is reflected in the structure of the text.


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Rationalistic Epistemology


  Keywords: cogito, innate ideas, foundationalism, introspection, internalism   One of the most basic approaches to knowledge is ration- alism. The roots of this approach go back to antiquity (Pythagoreans, Plato’s intuitionism, Aristotle’s logic), however we consider René Descartes to be a  typical example of modern rationalism. Descartes realised that certain and undisputable knowledge must be based on clear and indubitable foun- dations (Descartes 2006, 9, resp. ATM VII 17). These are derived from the way we acquire the information which we base our knowledge upon. It is no surprise that in his Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes began with searching for the indubitable elements of knowledge, by testing the foundations of our knowledge. If the foun- dations are dubitable, then we cannot trust knowledge either. 76 Descartes’ method was a  variation of methodologi- cal scepticism. Its result was the refusal of all certainty about sensory perceptions because it is obvious from experience that sometimes the senses mislead us. The fact that they are misleading (a stick in the water appears to be broken) is clear from the sensory experience itself (we can take the stick out of the water or verify the shape by touch). This means that sometimes the senses say something and other times they say something oppo- site, and if reality is consistent then the senses are mis- leading in at least one of the cases. Because there is no clear criterion according to which we can decide when to believe the senses and when not, Descartes refused...

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