Epistemology: Who Needs It
Cilicia Journal of Philosophy 3 (2015): 1-15
17 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2016
Date Written: 2015
This reflection on the real-world relevance of epistemological ideas begins with the thought that all of us — when we wonder what to make of newspaper reports of supposed medical breakthroughs, of failures of military intelligence, etc., etc. — call, implicitly or explicitly, on epistemology; and shows how an understanding of, e.g., the differences between genuine inquiry and advocacy research, the nature of wishful and fearful thinking, and the material character of the relevance and its bearing on what relevant evidence we may be missing, can illuminate the ways in which inquiry can go wrong and evidence can mislead us.
Keywords: epistemology, inquiry, wishful thinking, J. S. Mill, C. S. Peirce, Donald Rumsfeld, evidence, relevance
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