Epistemology

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Epistemology is derived from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (word/speech) is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin and scope of knowledge.

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  • The central place of epistemology in modern philosophy is no accident... Knowledge was not a problem for the ruling philosophy of the Middle Ages; that the whole world which man's mind seeks to understand is intelligible to it was explicitly taken for granted. That people subsequently came to consider knowledge a problem implies that they had been led to accept certain different beliefs about the nature of man and about the things which he tries to understand.
  • "Thinking is another attribute of the soul; and here I discover what properly belongs to myself. This alone is inseparable from me. I am--I exist: this is certain"
  • "Cogito, ergo sum." (trans.: "I think, therefore I am.")
  • "Can science ever be immune from experiments conceived out of prejudices and stereotypes, conscious or not? (Which is not to suggest that it cannot in discrete areas identify and locate verifiable phenemonena in nature.) I await the study that says lesbians have a region of the hypothalamus that resembles straight men and I would not be surprised if, at this very moment, some scientist somewhere is studying brains of deceased Asians to see if they have an enlarged "math region" of the brain."
  • Science can only be comprehended epistemologically, which means as one category of possible knowledge, as long as knowledge is not equated either effusively with the absolute knowledge of a great philosophy or blindly with scientistic self-understanding of the actual business of research.
  • "Both social and biosocial factors are necessary to interpret crosscultural studies, with the general proviso that one's research interest determines which elements, in what combinations, are significant for the provision of understanding."
    • Gilbert Herdt, "Bisexuality and the Causes of Homosexuality: The Case of the Sambia"
  • A modern theory of knowledge which takes account of the relational as distinct from the merely relative character of all historical knowledge must start with the assumption that there are spheres of thought in which it is impossible to conceive of absolute truth existing independently of the values and position of the subject and unrelated to the social context.
  • "Physics is mathematical, not because we know so much about the physical world, but because we know so little: it is only its mathematical properties that we can discover. For the rest our knowledge is negative."
  • "The genius of culture is to create an ontological system so compelling that what is inside and outside of a person are viewed as of a piece, no seams and patches noticable."
    • Richard Shweder( 1990), "Cultural psyschology-What is it?" Cultural Psychology

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