ICEF, GROUP 3,
ENGLISH GROUP 1.
ESSAY IN PHILOSOPHY
EPISTEMOLOGY AND METHODOLOGY: MAIN TRENDS AND ENDS.
Международный Институт Экономики и Финансов, 1 курс,
Высшая школа экономики.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Epistemology as a discipline
TWO EPISTEMOLOGICAL PROBLEMS
Some Mental Activities Common to All Methods.
Observation and Experiment.
Analysis and Synthesis.
Imagination, Supposition and Idealisation.
Comparison and Analogy.
Inductive and deductive methods.
The Deductive-inductive Method.
RELATION OF EPISTEMOLOGY TO OTHER BRANCHES OF PHILOSOPHY
Epistemology is one of the main branches of philosophy; its subject
matter concerns the nature, origin, scope, and limits of human
knowledge. The name is derived from the Greek terms episteme (knowledge)
and logos (theory), and accordingly this branch of philosophy is also
referred to as the theory of knowledge.
It is the branch of philosophy that investigates the basic nature of
knowledge, including its sources and validation. Epistemology is
concerned with the basic relationship between man’s mind and reality,
and with the basic operations of human reason. It therefore sets the
standards for the validation of all knowledge; it is the fundamental
arbiter of cognitive method.
Epistemology as a term in philosophy was probably first applied, by
J. F. Ferrier, to that department of thought whose subject matter is the
nature and validity of knowledge (Gr. epistimum, knowledge, and logos,
theory, account; Ger. Erkenntnistheorie). It is thus contrasted with
metaphysics, which considers the nature of reality, and with psychology,
which deals with the objective part of cognition, and, as Prof. James
Ward said, "is essentially genetic in its method." Epistemology is
concerned rather with the possibility of knowledge in the abstract. In
the evolution of thought epistemological inquiry succeeded the
speculations of the early thinkers, who concerned themselves primarily
with attempts to explain existence. The differences of opinion, which
arose on this problem naturally, led to the inquiry as to whether any
universally valid statement was possible. The Sophists and the Sceptics,
Plato and Aristotle, the Stoics and the Epicureans took up the question
and from the time of Locke and Kant it has been prominent in modern
philosophy. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to draw a hard
and fast line between epistemology and other branches of philosophy. If,
for example, philosophy is divided into the theory of knowing and the
theory of being, it is impossible entirely to separate the latter
(Ontology) from the analysis of knowledge (Epistemology), so close is
the connection 'between the two. Again, the relation between logic in
its widest sense and the theory of knowledge is extremely close. Some
thinkers have identified the two, while others regard Epistemology as a
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