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Knowledge and justification


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Sense experience, empiricism


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The most "obvious" candidate for self-evident truths are statements about immediate sense-experience. For example, "I am seeing a blue dot now" is the sort of statement that has been claimed to have the quality of being self-evident. It is self-evident because it is a true description of what is seen. Hence, perception and sense-experience generally are held by many to be the basis of knowledge. The idea is that by starting with self-evident descriptions of sense-experiences we can build on that foundation to establish (and justify) the truth of other statements that may not appear at first to be based on sense-experience. The belief that there is a self-evident foundation for knowledge can be called the axiomatic method. An axiom in logic or mathematics is a starting proposition from which a theory is developed. In the theory of knowledge whatever is self-evidently true would constitute an axiom of knowledge. The belief that all knowledge is based solely on sense-experience is known as empiricism.
Contents of
Knowledge and justification

1 The distinction between knowledge and belief
2 Unsound, invalid, possible world and fallacy
3 Counterexample, exposing a fallacy
4 Belief and doubt
5 Believing that and knowing that
6 Knowledge and certainty - the tripartite definition of knowledge
7 True, justified belief
8 Plato: The Theaetetus
9 Plato: Forms
10 The possibility of scepticism and categories of belief
11 Global scepticism
12 The Argument from Authority
13 Valid argument, inference and justification
14 Chain of deductive inferences, self-evident truths
15 Sense experience, empiricism
16 The dialectic method, thesis and antithesis
17 Rationalism and empiricism; the Discourse on the Method
18 The Cogito, Reason and Rational Insight
19 Bertrand Russell, Acquaintance
20 Universals, Forms
21 Scepticism, Existentialism and Faith
22 The evil genius argument
23 Existentialism
24 Soren Kierkegaard - Fear and Trembling - the Absurd
25 Foundation for Knowledge
26 Theory of Knowledge, Epistemology and Metaphysics
27 Rationalism, Mathematics and Logic, Innateness
28 Innate Ideas
29 The a priori
30 Truth by convention, Hume and the Method of Doubt
31 Hume and the distinction between belief and knowledge
32 Hume and the definition of belief
33 Truth as a logical operator on sentences
34 The correspondence theory of truth
35 Wittgenstein: On Certainty
36 Wittgenstein and the coherence theory of truth
37 William James and Pragmatism
38 W.V.O. Quine, pragmatism and the Two Dogmas of Empiricism
39 Postivism and pragmatism
40 Pragmatism and utilitarianism
41 Pragmatism and religiion

Related articles: (1) Introduction to Plato, (2) Knowledge and justification