Tag: Epistemology


Some Remarks on Truth and Justification

The notion of truth is probably one of the most central notions in science and philosophy, if not in humanityโ€™s engagement with the world in general, but it is also a somewhat problematic notion that is prone to confusion. And consequently, not all talk about โ€œtruthโ€ is really about truth. A couple of years ago, I wrote a paper titled โ€œRecognizing โ€˜Truthโ€™ in Chinese Philosophyโ€ on the difficulty of recognizing concepts of โ€œtruthโ€ and philosophical theories about truth in non-Western philosophy, focusing on ancient Chinese philosophy. I argued there and elsewhere that the ancient Chinese didnโ€™t have theories of truth,...

Skepticism, Pragmatism, and Zebras

In 1970 Fred Dretske published a paper about a fairly technical issue in epistemology, In that paper he gave a โ€œsilly exampleโ€ (his words) to illustrate some point about skepticism. Imagine that you take your kid to the zoo to see the zebras. Now, how do you know that the animals you are looking at are zebras? Dretske points out that most of us wouldnโ€™t hesitate to say that those animals are zebras: We know what zebras look like, and, besides, this is the city zoo and the animals are in a pen clearly marked โ€œZebras.โ€ Yet, somethingโ€™s being a...