This course will do a historical tracing of fundamental aspects of Western epistemology
- Socratic Method - Plato's Meno
This lecture will explore the first discrete Western methodology for inquiry: the Socratic Method.
- The Trial of Socrates
In the Euthyphro and Apology, we learn of Socrates upcoming trial for impiety and corruption of the youth. This lecture explores the failure of piety and emotional-based court procedures
- Jailing and Death of Socrates
The Crito and Phaedo cover a further investigation into the theory of the "soul" discussed originally in the Meno and Apology. This investigation is to prove why we should continue investigating and what the benefits are.
- Aristotle's Syllogism and Biological Theory of Perception
In this section we will cover Plato's most famous student, Aristotle, and his logical theory of syllogism, followed by an investigation into his biological theory of perception
- Descartes' Radical Skepticism
Descartes begins by casting suspicion on Aristotle's perception based understanding of the world and investigates how we can know anything with certainty. He begins by doubting everything
- Descartes' Religious basis for knowledge of the world
In the latter half of the Meditations, Descartes assumes God's existence and proceeds to prove the validity of our senses based upon God's goodness.
- Hume's skepticism
Hume begins where Descartes left off, but being an atheist means he is unwilling to predicate knowledge of God's existence. Instead, he re-evaluates the connection between knowledge and certainty, the origin of ideas and probability
- Hume's epistemology
Hume then changes gears and focused on necessity, freedom and reason. Once he has established his platform, he aims his criticism at the concept of life beyond death, miracles and re-evaluates skepticism
- Kant's Response
Kant was originally a dyed-in-the-wool Cartesian ... until he read Hume. He felt compelled to re-examine the very foundation of knowledge and whether or not there could be a necessary truth learned via the senses.
- Kant's boundaries
Kant establishes the need for possible experience as the ground for metaphysics, thus limiting its scope.
- Peirce's pragmatic turn
Charles Sander's Peirce, following in the Kantian tradition, takes a turn in isolating the relationship of causation just to consequences (rather than causes)
- Dewey's naturalistic humanism
Dewey took the epistemological and metaphysical works of Peirce and shaped them for education and social theory. Here we see pragmatism clothed in educational theory directly.
You should be interested in the progress of methods of inquiry and investigation over the centuries
All materials will be freely available on the internet.
I have a Ph.D. in philosophy and currently teach at the University of South Florida