The existence of the external world and other human beings

Earthly Life and Spirit World 1 by Rev. The Position of Human Beings 1. The first reason is for God Himself to be able to stand in the position of parents. In the incorporeal realm beings cannot procreate.

The existence of the external world and other human beings

The nature of epistemology Epistemology as a discipline Why should there be a discipline such as epistemology? Aristotle — bce provided the answer when he said that philosophy begins in a kind of wonder or puzzlement. Nearly all human beings wish to comprehend the world they live in, and many of them construct theories of various kinds to help them make sense of it.

Because many aspects of the world defy easy explanationhowever, most people are likely to cease their efforts at some point and to content themselves with whatever degree of understanding they have managed to achieve.

Unlike most people, philosophers are captivated—some would say obsessed—by the idea of understanding the world in the most general terms possible. Accordingly, they attempt to construct theories that are synoptic, descriptively accurate, explanatorily powerful, and in all other respects rationally defensible.

In doing so, they carry the process of inquiry further than other people tend to do, and this is what is meant by saying that they develop a philosophy about such matters.

Like most people, epistemologists often begin their speculations with the assumption that they have a great deal of knowledge.

The nature of epistemology

As they reflect upon what they presumably know, however, they discover that it is much less secure than they realized, and indeed they come to think that many of what had been their firmest beliefs are dubious or even false. Two of those anomalies will be described in detail here in order to illustrate how they call into question common claims to knowledge about the world.

Two epistemological problems Knowledge of the external world Most people have noticed that vision can play tricks. A straight stick submerged in water looks bent, though it is not; railroad tracks seem to converge in the distance, but they do not; and a page of English-language print reflected in a mirror cannot be read from left to right, though in all other circumstances it can.

Each of those phenomena is misleading in some way. Anyone who believes that the stick is bent, that the railroad tracks converge, and so on is mistaken about how the world really is. Although such anomalies may seem simple and unproblematic at first, deeper consideration of them shows that just the opposite is true.

How does one know that the stick is not really bent and that the tracks do not really converge? Suppose one says that one knows that the stick is not really bent because when it is removed from the water, one can see that it is straight.

But does seeing a straight stick out of water provide a good reason for thinking that when it is in water, it is not bent? Suppose one says that the tracks do not really converge because the train passes over them at the point where they seem to converge.

But how does one know that the wheels on the train do not converge at that point also? What justifies preferring some of those beliefs to others, especially when all of them are based upon what is seen?

What one sees is that the stick in water is bent and that the stick out of water is straight. Why, then, is the stick declared really to be straight? Why, in effect, is priority given to one perception over another?

One possible answer is to say that vision is not sufficient to give knowledge of how things are.

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But what justifies the belief that the sense of touch is more reliable than vision? After all, touch gives rise to misperceptions just as vision does. For example, if a person chills one hand and warms the other and then puts both in a tub of lukewarm water, the water will feel warm to the cold hand and cold to the warm hand.

Thus, the difficulty cannot be resolved by appealing to input from the other senses. Another possible response would begin by granting that none of the senses is guaranteed to present things as they really are.

Locke: Knowledge of the External World | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The belief that the stick is really straight, therefore, must be justified on the basis of some other form of awareness, perhaps reason. But why should reason be accepted as infallible?Critique of Pure Reason Lecture Notes: Existence of the External World Idealism consists in the assertion that there are none but thinking thing beings; all other things which we believe are perceived in intuitions are nothing but presentations in the thinkng things, to which no object external to them in fact corresponds.

and so they. Second, because the argument from analogy treats the existence of the mental lives of other living human beings as problematic, it seeks to establish that it is legitimate to infer that other living human beings do indeed have mental lives, that each one of us may be said to be justified.

For if it is possible to doubt the existence of the external world, it is equally possible to doubt the existence of other human beings. If rivers and mountains or the desk at which I write may be figments of my imagination, then obviously the people that I perceive in this world may be imaginary as well.

If substance is the highest category and there is no substance, being, then the unity perceived in all beings by virtue of their existing must be viewed in another way. St. Thomas chose the analogy: all beings are like, or analogous to, each other in existing. In the Sixth Meditation, Descartes finally tried to eliminate the dream problem by proving that there is a material world and that bodies do really exist.

His argument derives from the supposition that divinely-bestowed human faculties of cognition must always be regarded as adequately designed for some specific purpose. Moore on the other hand asserts that we have knowledge about existence of external world through things we can prove practically.

The existence of the external world and other human beings

Chisholm also stresses that we know a lot of things through reason, common sense as well as science.

Locke: Knowledge of the External World | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy