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Subject: Recommend me a good book covering epistemology aimed at the layman rss

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Gary Page
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Subject says it all really.

I've been seeing some threads here and elsewhere where a poster makes a statement along the lines of.

"You can't prove empirically that empirical evidence is the only type that is valid."

I am not sure that anyone ever makes this claim, but then I am sure I am as guilty as anyone of putting up straw men.

I do get a sense from such statements that the underlying implication that there is no qualitative difference between types of evidence or "ways of knowing". Also, there seems to be some attempt to move the burden of proof. This seems clearly ridiculous to me, but I don't think I am knowledgeable enough in this area and would like to read up some more.

Thanks in advance.

Gary
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True Blue Jon
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A Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume.
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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quozl wrote:
A Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume.


That is, if you accept books as a valid source of knowledge. Some people prefer bark.
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True Blue Jon
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TheChin! wrote:
quozl wrote:
A Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume.


That is, if you accept books as a valid source of knowledge. Some people prefer bark.


Bark, books. All the same when you look at the core elements.
 
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Born To Lose, Live To Win
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An engineer, an experimental physicist, a theoretical physicist, and a philosopher were hiking together through the hills of Scotland. They reached a hilltop. Looking over to the next hilltop, they saw a black sheep.

In delight, the engineer cried, “What do you know? The sheep in Scotland are black!”

“Well, some of the sheep in Scotland are black,” replied the experimental physicist.

The theoretical physicist considered this a minute, then said, “Well, at least one of the sheep in Scotland is black.”

The philosopher thought for a second, then responded, “Well, it’s black on one side, anyway.”
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True Blue Jon
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It's just a sheep. Who cares about the color? Sheepist!
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quozl wrote:
It's just a sheep. Who cares about the color? Sheepist!


Actually, we are all mammals, can't we all just get along?
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True Blue Jon
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TheChin! wrote:
quozl wrote:
It's just a sheep. Who cares about the color? Sheepist!


Actually, we are all mammals, can't we all just get along?


Well, at least one of us is a mammal.
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Brian
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quozl wrote:
TheChin! wrote:
quozl wrote:
It's just a sheep. Who cares about the color? Sheepist!


Actually, we are all mammals, can't we all just get along?


Well, at least one of us is a mammal.


Just as likely you're just a cleverly built AI. Afterall, I certainly haven't seen you in person.
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Paul DeStefano
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quozl wrote:
A Treatise of Human Nature, David Hume.


Hume's style is painfully dry. I don't have another suggestion - just sayin.
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Paul DeStefano
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quozl wrote:
TheChin! wrote:
quozl wrote:
It's just a sheep. Who cares about the color? Sheepist!


Actually, we are all mammals, can't we all just get along?


Well, at least one of us is a mammal.


You can't even prove that.

That goes by the grand assumption that what you perceive to be your flesh actually is.
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Geosphere wrote:
quozl wrote:
TheChin! wrote:
quozl wrote:
It's just a sheep. Who cares about the color? Sheepist!


Actually, we are all mammals, can't we all just get along?


Well, at least one of us is a mammal.


You can't even prove that.

That goes by the grand assumption that what you perceive to be your flesh actually is.


At some point you have to stop the madness and take the blue pill. The red pill just takes you to a different illusion where you are presented with another red or blue pill in an endless progression of reality uncertainty.
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Dan Schaeffer
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quozl wrote:
TheChin! wrote:
quozl wrote:
It's just a sheep. Who cares about the color? Sheepist!


Actually, we are all mammals, can't we all just get along?


Well, at least one of us is a mammal.


Well, at least one of us is a mammal on one side. (Hint: It's me, and it's on my mother's side.)
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Golux13 wrote:

Well, at least one of us is a mammal on one side. (Hint: It's me, and it's on my mother's side.)


You always did take your mother's side.
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I don't know it is exactly designed for a layman... but here is a Stanford website topical overview.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/epistemology

It is a bit mind bending to read in a few places ... mostly because of the use of acronyms combined with trying to condense down complex ideas into a few sentences... but still it is very comprehensible with focused reading.

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TheChin! wrote:
The philosopher thought for a second, then responded, “Well, it’s black on one side, anyway.”


First time I heard that joke the punchline was a pure mathematician. Who worded it as "in Scotland there exists at least one hill on which there exists at least one sheep, at least one side of which is black".

(Before that there were just the applied mathematician and the statistician.)
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TheChin! wrote:
An engineer, an experimental physicist, a theoretical physicist, and a philosopher were hiking together through the hills of Scotland. They reached a hilltop. Looking over to the next hilltop, they saw a black sheep.

In delight, the engineer cried, “What do you know? The sheep in Scotland are black!”

“Well, some of the sheep in Scotland are black,” replied the experimental physicist.

The theoretical physicist considered this a minute, then said, “Well, at least one of the sheep in Scotland is black.”

The philosopher thought for a second, then responded, “Well, it’s black on one side, anyway.”


"There is no practical difference between the statements of the two physicists." said a smarmy bystander.
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A psychologist decides to test the problem solving skills of a physicist, an engineer, and a mathematician by locking each of them up in solitary confinement for a week with nothing but a few bottles of water and a can of food, but no can opener.

At the end of the week, they open the engineer's cell and find a splattered mess on one of the walls, a nearly destroyed but empty can, and a smiling engineer. "All designs have limitations. I merely applied force to the can by repeatedly throwing it against the wall until it reached its failure point."

The next cell they open is the physicist's. He is sitting in the lotus position with an empty can in his hands. "I merely calculated the correct vector of force, angle of momentum, and based on my knowledge of the aluminum alloy material, it's most likely weak point, and I was able to pop the lid open! It was hard to do all of it in my head, but I think I managed."

The final cell they open is the mathematician's. He is curled in the fetal position in the middle of floor, rocking back and forth, and cradling his unopened can in his hands, chanting, "assume that the can is open, assume that the can is open, assume that the can is open."
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I wish I had a good answer. Whatever you end up with, if you'd like help interpreting, I'm happy to try. Epistemology was never my strong suit, but I suspect I have enough familiarity with the way philosophers write that I have some chance of helping.
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William Boykin
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I'm not sure that there is a good 'general' book on Epistemology. It's a field that you don't get into unless you've done a lot of study in other disciplines.

But I don't think that's what you really want. I think you'd be better suited with some decent books on the "Philosophy of Science" before jumping into Plato's Theateutus and the concept of Justified True Belief.

Darilian
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Darilian wrote:
I'm not sure that there is a good 'general' book on Epistemology. It's a field that you don't get into unless you've done a lot of study in other disciplines.

But I don't think that's what you really want. I think you'd be better suited with some decent books on the "Philosophy of Science" before jumping into Plato's Theateutus and the concept of Justified True Belief.

Darilian
What Is This Thing Called Science? by Alan Chalmers is a good intro to the philosophy of science .. he was one of my lecturers at university...
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BlueMountain wrote:
Darilian wrote:
I'm not sure that there is a good 'general' book on Epistemology. It's a field that you don't get into unless you've done a lot of study in other disciplines.

But I don't think that's what you really want. I think you'd be better suited with some decent books on the "Philosophy of Science" before jumping into Plato's Theateutus and the concept of Justified True Belief.

Darilian
What Is This Thing Called Science? by Alan Chalmers is a good intro to the philosophy of science .. he was one of my lecturers at university...

Just be aware that the way philosophers use the term philosophy of science and the way scientists use that term is often different in dramatic ways.
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Gary Page
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Thanks everyone.
 
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Roger
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MScrivner wrote:
The final cell they open is the mathematician's. He is curled in the fetal position in the middle of floor, rocking back and forth, and cradling his unopened can in his hands, chanting, "assume that the can is open, assume that the can is open, assume that the can is open."

So the joke is that he was just pretending to be a mathematician, but was really an economist?
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lotus dweller
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GazPAge wrote:
Subject says it all really.

I've been seeing some threads here and elsewhere where a poster makes a statement along the lines of.

"You can't prove empirically that empirical evidence is the only type that is valid."

I am not sure that anyone ever makes this claim, but then I am sure I am as guilty as anyone of putting up straw men.


re the underlined.
Posted Tue Sep 13, 2011 5:56 am
Ordinary Evidence wrote:


...

Of course the scientific process corrects faulty judgements. It may be too slow for your and my liking, but it is the only process that leads to any kind of truth.
I read this as having the same philosophical foundation as, "empirical evidence is the only type that is valid"
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