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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Epistemology and Metaphysics

What is the nature of knowledge?  How do we know what is true from what is false?  Philosophy (derived from the Greek – “Sophia” knowledge + “philos” loving = love of knowledge) is the area of academic study which examines these questions.  The two core areas of study in Philosophy are Epistemology and Metaphysics.


How we know what we know.  It is the study of knowledge and understanding.  Epistemology is derived from Greek: epistēmē knowledge, from epistanai to understand, know, from epi- + histanai to understand.


The question of existence in the non-physical realm and its nature. Metaphysics is the name Aristotle attributed to the work which came after his examination of Physics.  Metaphysics is derived from Greek (ta) meta (ta) physika, literally, the (works) after the physical (works).  Questions address by Metaphysics are existence and being.

I found this great video by Wayne Miller on YouTube that describes these concepts concisely and clearly for most people to understand.

The reason these areas of Philosophy are so vital are that in order to establish clear evidence of knowledge, we first need to verify the source and validity of that knowledge.

The study of Philosophy, Epistemology and Metaphysics in particular, is legendary for being confusing and inconclusive.

Steven Martin, a former Philosophy Student at California State University at Long Beach, once observed that the result of studying Philosophy is that, “you remember just enough to screw you up for the rest of your life”.

All jokes aside, questioning existence and the source of knowledge is the key to examining knowledge.

I end with this question:

How do you know you exist and if so, what proof do you have?

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