Epistemology in Modern Philosophy

Epistemology in Modern Philosophy

 The movement towards modern philosophy is attributed to the epistemology such that the philosophers had to adjust the previously held secular thoughts to include religion as a way of attaining solid theories in the acquisition of knowledge. For instances faith and belief have been closely linked to modern philosophy where the nature of knowledge theory in the element being learnt is based on religious beliefs (Steup, 2005).

 Philosophers who were present during the middle ages of philosophy were guided by ethics such that the core values and ideas on philosophy were varied to the extent of making the public believe that God was dead. However, in the concepts of politics, religion and science, one thing was common in that despite the differences in thoughts, past experiences played a great role in the theory of knowledge (Steup, 2005).

 One of the epistemological schools of thought is empiricism where the theory of knowledge is made more eminent in the learning experience. Similarly, observation and applications of the senses also play a key role in knowledge. Examples of modern philosophers in this school of thought are Russell Bertrand and Rudolf Carnap. Rationalism is the other major epistemology school of thought where the source of knowledge is mainly intellectual reasoning as the truth does not contribute much to the theory of knowledge. Similarly, the innate capacity of the individual plays a key role in knowledge as proposed by Immanuel Kant (Steup, 2005).

 Descartes viewpoint is based on the fact that thought exists and it pushes one to engage their conscious hence in the process they acquire knowledge. This viewpoint plays a significant role in the rationalism school of thought as the intellectual capacity of an individual is determined by the ability to reason doubts into facts. The methodological doubt as proposed by Descartes is aimed at disapproving the existence of the individual as with doubts on existence then the individual did not exist. The only doubts which human beings should harbor are based on activities that are caused by external forces which are beyond our capacity (Steup, 2005).

 The one thing which Descartes points out at the end of his doubting procedures which can be categorized as certain in everyday lives is the fate of contradicting statements. This is given by the standard that if one statement is false and the other one true in any complete sentence, then the entire statement becomes false. Similarly, the same sentence is true according to the theory of fallacies which was the basis of reasoning. Descartes brings a view of the world as a place inhabited by thinking things also known as human beings and the ability to make the world exists is based on how we allow our minds to function. In this aspect, we create and make the world exist through our minds or senses (Steup, 2005).

 Descartes contributed various significant items in the intellectual world such as in mathematics where he developed the Cartesian theory and logic. In medicine he established the functions of certain body organs. He is also credited as the father of analytical geometry in mathematics and in physics he developed the law of refraction. Descartes criticized hermeneutics and pragmatism as the truth in a statement could not be established by the fact that it was satisfactory. The philosopher had to work out on other attributes of the concept rather than rely of the results as the procedure could have been false hence resulting in false results (Steup, 2005).


Steup, Matthias. “Knowledge and Skepticism”, Contemporary Debates in Epistemology, 1–13, 2005.


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