Epistemology is a branch of the philosophy of science, which examines critically the scientific methods, logical forms, and modes of inference used in science, as well as the principles, basic concepts, theories, and results of various sciences to determine their logical origin, value, and objective scope.
In the Anglo-Saxon philosophical tradition, epistemology is often confused with gnosiology (“study of knowledge”), and therefore may not specifically be referred to as scientific knowledge. Sometimes however, this term is used here as a synonym for “philosophy of science.” The distinction between these different meanings, including the report of epistemology to the philosophy of science, however, is not clearly established.
On the other hand, “continental” epistemology can also handle non-scientific objects. The word is also sometimes used to refer to a particular theory of knowledge. The difference between these two traditions will therefore focus on scientific knowledge rather than general knowledge.
College students who are to write epistemology research paper must know that modern epistemology originated in the philosophy of Kant knowledge. But it also can be traced in older traditions, the Cartesian. At the beginning of the xx th century epistemology separated itself into autonomous disciplinary field.
Jean Piaget proposed to define epistemology “at first approximation as the study of the formation of valid knowledge,” a name which, according to Jean-Louis Le Moigne, allows us to ask three main questions:
- What is knowledge (the question of gnosiology)?
- How is it created or incorporated (the question methodology)?
- How to appreciate its value or validity?
The epistemological investigation may well involve several aspects: the modes of production of knowledge, the basis of this knowledge, the dynamics of production. Several questions arise: what is knowledge? How is it produced? How is it validated? On what basis? How knowledge is organized? How does it evolve (including, progressing)?
In addition to this, there is also a normative dimension of the analysis. It is no longer only to describe the knowledge, but to define what constitutes a “good” knowledge.
Finally, we must distinguish between a general epistemology, which implicitly carries the idea of a unity of science, particular epistemology, based on the idea of plurality, sometimes presented as irreducible, of different sciences. In this case we can speak about epistemology of physics, biology, humanities, …
Long, epistemology has focused on the “content” of science. Science as a human institution was left to other disciplines, especially sociology. The question about the nature of science was then blended with that of the nature of scientific knowledge. In recent decades, this division became less obvious, as the effect of certain currents of sociology claiming a “right of scrutiny” of this content under the influence of some other epistemologists who deem it necessary to better understand scientific knowledge, to pay attention to specific dimensions of scientific activity.
Free sample research paper about Epistemology is a good platform for learning more on the topic.
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