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Philosophy of Knowledge and Critical Thinking

The benefits a student may gain by studying philosophy and the Socratic Method of Teaching

Studying philosophy benefits students as it develops their thinking abilities. Philosophical inquiries and debates contribute to the students’ critical thinking and encourage them to look at one issue from different angles. This can help students in their academic life and further work by improving their problem-solving skills.

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The Socratic Method of Teaching is particularly useful in this case, as it promotes dialogue among students and helps them to develop well-informed arguments about a particular topic. Discussions and debates also allow students to develop a deeper understanding of the topic, thus contributing to their learning.

How critical thinking can be used to analyze a philosophical issue

The most common technique that is used to consider and explore philosophical issues is critical thinking. It can be used to analyze the issue from various viewpoints and to evaluate its relationship to relevant concepts or ideas.

Induction, abduction, and deduction

Induction, abduction, and deduction are also used to analyze information. Deductive reasoning helps to achieve a conclusion about the general issue or situation based on a set of minor facts or concepts that are part of it. Inductive reasoning, on the contrary, uses observations to draw conclusions. Similarly, abductive reasoning takes into account observations; however, it also uses known facts to determine the most likely solution.

The different areas of philosophy

The concept of reality is among the key concepts that will be discussed in this course. In particular, the course will focus on ontology and epistemology. Ontology refers to the philosophical inquiry into nature and existence. Epistemology, on the other hand, is concerned with knowledge and facts that support knowledge.

Materialism, dualism, and idealism

Materialism, dualism, and idealism are among the most popular concepts in philosophy, as they characterize different views on substance. Materialism, for example, holds matter as the primary substance and teaches that people, nature, and object are nothing but different forms of matter. In contrast, idealism perceives substance not as a form of matter, but as a set of immaterial constructs, or ideas. In a similar way, dualism accepts the presence of a spiritual reality, but it also insists that the substance is comprised of both material and immaterial realities.

Four views as to the nature of universals and particulars

Universals are ideas, such as colors, that can be simultaneously applied to various objects. Particulars, on the other hand, are individual objects or people. The four main views on the nature of universals and particulars are Platonic realism, exaggerated realism, conceptualism, and extreme nominalism. Platonic realism insists that universals exist in a different, immaterial realm and that particulars copy the qualities of the universals, thus bringing them to our reality. Exaggerated realism, on the other hand, believes that universals are embedded qualities of particulars that make them similar. Conceptualism states that universals merely define a relationship between particulars. Finally, extreme nominalism denies the existence of universals. Out of the four views, exaggerated realism is the only one that clearly defines the relationship between particulars and universals.

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The views of Anaximander and Pythagoras regarding the nature of substance

Anaximander believed that substance was infinite and that there would be no way of observing substance in its true form. This view seems true, as there is still no confirmation that substance exists or that it is not infinite. Pythagoras, on the other hand, believed that numbers were the primary substance. However, most people now view numbers as a reflection of substance, and thus Pythagoras’ view is not entirely true.

Aristotle’s four causes

Aristotle’s four causes are material, formal, efficient, and final. The material cause refers to the tangible components of an object, such as wood, iron, and more. The formal cause, on the other hand, refers to a set of characteristics that distinguish objects from the same material from one another. For example, a chair and a book might be both made of wood, but their formal causes are different, which is why they are different objects. The efficient cause is an agent that inflicts a particular change. For example, a hammer that crashed a clay plate is the efficient cause. The final cause is the characteristic of the efficient cause that allows it to produce the stated effect, such as hard, heavy, or living.

Rationalism and empiricism

Rationalism believes that all knowledge is based on reason. Empiricism, by contrast, views the experience as the basis for knowledge. Therefore, rationalism emphasizes the power of mind in creating knowledge, whereas empiricism derives knowledge from the senses.

The difference between A priori and A posteriori knowledge

In a similar way, a priori knowledge refers to information that is true regardless of experience, such as mathematics, whereas a posteriori knowledge depends solely on experience. An example of a posteriori knowledge is the scientific knowledge that is usually born out of experiments.

Foundationalism and Coherentism

Foundationalism and coherentism are also terms referring to the foundation of knowledge. In foundationalism, knowledge rests upon justified, which is considered to be a secure basis for knowledge. Coherentism, on the other hand, evaluates knowledge based on the coherency of its internal concepts or components.

Pragmatic theories of truth vs. the correspondence theory of truth

The correspondence theory of truth is slightly similar to coherentism, as it evaluates statements based on their relationship to the world and other concepts within that world. Thus, the correspondence theory of truth seeks to verify knowledge using facts. Pragmatic theories of truth, on the opposite, advocate that truth is determined by its usefulness. In other words, knowledge is defined as true or false based on whether it is useful to believe.

The implications of Gödel’s Theorem

One of the key outcomes of Gödel’s Theorem is that it showed that truth might not always be provable. Thus, the theorem refuted the belief that knowledge must be provable, instead advocating for multiple interpretations of knowledge. Such approach promotes discussion and debate that characterizes the field of philosophy to this day.

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StudyCorgi. "Philosophy of Knowledge and Critical Thinking." May 6, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Philosophy of Knowledge and Critical Thinking." May 6, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Philosophy of Knowledge and Critical Thinking'. 6 May.

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