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Who cares about epistemology?
by P. Brannock - 2008 as published on politac.org

On the relevance of epistemology to a reasoned life.

Who cares about epistemology?

Epistemology deals with the subject of knowledge.

What do you know to be true? How do you know that it is true? What criteria do you use to select facts or information for inclusion into the body of truth that you reconcile your life with?

Do you accept the Bible to be literally true? Does your life partner? How about the local astrologist? Do you agree on that? Do you disagree?

How will you harmonize your disagreements? Will you compromise? Will you compromise on everything you disagree on? Are there some things that you feel should never be compromised?

These are very significant questions for a relationship.

Does the overwhelming consensus of your family or friends constitute the bottom line that should be adopted as your position on certain subjects? Are you a conformist?

As very young children most of us once thought our parents were right about everything. Truth was a simple matter of what Mom said. Then, over time, we made the unsettling discovery that Mom isn't right about everything.

To further complicate this situation, most of us have come to realize that Mom remains very much convinced that she is right about things that we are absolutely certain that she is not right about.

This unfortunate reality sometimes results in contention and acrimony. Are you able to find peace in the confidence of your position as it differs from another's? What do you base that peace on?

Is your confidence rooted in an intellectual discipline that assists you in the process of being thoughtful and objective in considering all that is relevant before accepting a principle to live by as part of your life? Or do you simply find peace in turning your mind off and acquiescing, like a chameleon, to the prevailing opinion of the current clique?

We recognize that we should not accept, as principles of truth to live by, ideas which cannot be reconciled with a synoptically integrated body of knowledge without contradiction. Truth to be seen as truth must make sense, and must pass the test of scrutiny of it's consistency with reality as we understand it.

We believe we must always be open to the possibility that our perception of reality might be refined and adjusted and improved upon as we learn new truths....but we do not indiscriminantly accept new information as truth just because the cute guy on the corner said so, or the sexy girl down the street said so, or a government official said so, or even a minister or school teacher.

We are thoughtful, considered people. We feel a responsibility to think things through to the best of our ability and subject matters to the final verdict of our own minds without abdication of our intellectual responsibility to process information thoughtfully and accept responsibility for our decisions and positions as our own.

Epistemology, or the methodology by which one adopts into their life what they accept to be truths to live by can be a pillar of strength or a point of deep contention for a relationship.

Everyone should care about epistemology.

See also: The Validation of Truth

See also: Who Cares about Philosophy?

See also: What about Religion







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