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Anton Matyukhin

 

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.

 

30.03.1999.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

 

Epistemology.

 

History.

 

Epistemology as a discipline

 

TWO EPISTEMOLOGICAL PROBLEMS

 

Implications.

 

Methodology.

 

Some Mental Activities Common to All Methods.

 

Observation and Experiment.

 

Analysis and Synthesis.

 

Imagination, Supposition and Idealisation.

 

Inference.

 

Comparison and Analogy.

 

Classification.

 

Inductive and deductive methods.

 

The Deductive-inductive Method.

 

RELATION OF EPISTEMOLOGY TO OTHER BRANCHES OF PHILOSOPHY

 

Bibliography.

 

Epistemology.

 

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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