All work forces. the erudite philosopher Aristotle insists. desire to cognize. Thus. when the first group of work forces from Ionia. so portion of the ill-famed Greek state of the ancients. began their thoughtful quest to cognize the most cardinal “stuff” representing world. it started a whole history of enquiry which subsequently on was to be called “philosophy” ( Marias. 1967. p. 11 ) .
But while their commanding concern was chiefly cosmogonic – in that these philosophers “wrestled with the job of explicating physical nature by inquiring what is the one basic stuff out of which the universe is made” – their enquiry however engendered permanent impacts on the manner humanity has since so understood the nature. range and usage of human cognition ( Lavine. 1982. p. 23 ) .
In position of the foregoing. this paper aims at successfully showing a summational history of some of the major concerns or subjects of Epistemology throughout the history of Philosophy ; specifically. the theories which were propounded by cardinal philosophers as they seek to understand certain epistemological issues. Along the same vena. I would besides try. through this paper. to measure. if non compare such concerns within the present context as my manner of allowing what I have learned from this class into my ain frame.
Methodology and Scope This paper endeavors to foremost circumscribe three salient ( among many others ) subjects of epistemological geographic expedition. viz. . ( 1 ) the quest to understand the nature of cognition. ( 2 ) the compelling desire to set up cocksureness. and ( 3 ) the all important demand to allow human cognition into a prolific usage.
As such. these three elements correspond to three different eras in the history of Philosophy – the antediluvian. the post-Scholasticism and the modern periods severally ; and these eras are farther typified by cardinal philosophers such as Socrates. Plato and Aristotle ( for the ancient era ) . Rene Descartes ( for the modern era ) and the empiricists in the likes of J. Stuart Mill and Francis Bacon. Second and as hinted above. this paper is an effort to allow their concerns with my ain present context.
The method with which this paper employs shall be both expositive and analytic. The Epistemic Concerns of Key Philosophers of Knowledge At the oncoming of Philosophy. the overarching epistemological concern was to detect the nature of human cognition. In order to make this. the Ionian philosophers started to set into inquiry the things that they took for granted. Socrates tried to propound. through the ill-famed Socratic method. that cognition “ can non be equated with belief” or personal sentiment ( Bruder & A ; Moore. 2005. p. 35 ) .
Plato on the other manus maintained that true cognition consists non in our perceptual experience of the seeable things. but in acquisition of a type of cognition that brings us into the World of Ideas ( Lavine. 1982. p. 26 ) . Refuting Plato. Aristotle meanwhile asserted that abstraction entirely does non afford true cognition. Alternatively. he believed that true cognition must be scientific ; i. e. . it circumscribes the proximate and distant causes of things and events. As one writer puts it. “for Aristotle. to hold scientific cognition of a fact. it is non plenty to cognize that it is true ; you must besides cognize why it is true” ( Robinson. 1985. p. 11 ) .
If these ancient philosophers were chiefly engrossed with the proper definition of the nature and parametric quantities of human cognition. the minds of the modern epoch interim sought for a sort of cognition marked by cocksureness or truthfulness. Simply put. the concern shifted from the specifying the contents of human cognition into decoding whether such contents were true or non. Far more critical. modern philosophers did besides entertain in a just sum of incredulity. The main advocate to this cause was Rene Descartes ; and he is normally credited for get downing a new stage in the field of Epistemology.
He is known for his incredulity – a “vow to suspend judgement about everything” so as to get at a cognition which is certain. if non wholly doubt-proof ( Broughton. 2002. p. 1 ) . The Southern Cross of this “doubt” does non put on the act of doubting itself ; for at the really least. the act of doubting has to function its reasoned intent. which is to continue from an induced incredulity into an irreducible certainty. And Descartes compactly refers to this as the “first rule of philosophy” – a rule which serves as a formidable base from all sorts of human cognition base erect ( cited in Marias. 1967. p. 214 ) .
Descartes and his coevalss therefore dedicated their attempts to set up what constitutes certainty in human cognition. By contrast nevertheless. the philosophers after them began to concentrate on detecting how human cognition can be used prolifically in life and work. Therefore. from being simply bad in attack. the philosophers after the modern epoch began to see the wisdom of bordering human cognition within the context of practicality. John Stuart Mill for case asserted that the true step of human mind lays in the manner we human individuals can use cognition for the “progress” of humanity ( Donner. 1991. P.
123 ) Still. another of import aspect of this useful position would be tangible in the preparation of the Principle of Induction. Francis Bacon for case rejected the deductive logical thinking of the ancients in favour of the rule of illation: i. e. . “from a serious of single facts…one obtains by abstraction…the general constructs of the things and the Torahs of nature ( Marias. 1967. p. 250 ) . This rule is now widely known as the scientific method ; and this method has in bend led to the rise of technological promotions witnessed during the Industrial Revolution.
The concerns addressed by the three era herein cited could be summed into these three cardinal inquiries: ( a ) what constitutes cognition? . ( B ) how do we cognize the truth? ( degree Celsius ) and how do we concretely use what we know? In ways more than one. these three inquiries are the self-same concerns which continuously confound the present society. Now more than of all time. humanity is a informant to the inundation of viing information from all foreparts ; and it is so a tall challenge to decode which information affords a cognition that approximates the truth and/or engenders good consequences.
For case. in outlining cardinal policies. any given authorities demands to be fed with accurate information about social conditions ; as so. in contemplating medical processs. physicians and nurses need to be given precise information to avoid mistakes. To be certain. a 1000 and one other illustrations may be cited to this terminal. But the Southern Cross of the affair lies in the fact that. even at an age when we are able to verify the veracity of information with advanced engineerings. humanity’s head concern has ever been approximately right obtaining cognition. set uping the its truthfulness thereof. and seting them into practical usage.