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Problems of Knowledge

A Critical Introduction to Epistemology

Michael Williams

Publication Date - 23 August 2001

ISBN: 9780192892560

288 pages


What is epistemology or "the theory of knowledge?" What is it really about? Why does it matter? What makes theorizing about knowledge "philosophical?" Why do some philosophers argue that epistemology--perhaps even philosophy itself--is dead?
In this succinct, exciting, and original introduction to epistemology, Michael Williams explains and criticizes philosophical theories of the nature, limits, methods, possibility, and value of knowing. A coherent and progressive text, Problems of Knowledge covers both traditional and contemporary approaches to the subject, including foundationalism, the coherence theory, and "naturalistic" theories. As an alternative to these perspectives, Williams defends his own distinctive contextualist approach. Problems of Knowledge provides clear and engaging explanations of the theory of knowledge and why it matters, offering an excellent foundation for students in introductory epistemology courses.

About the Author(s)

Michael Williams is the Charles and Emma Morrison Professor of Humanities, and Professor of Philosophy at Northwestern University. He has previously held positions at Yale and the University of Maryland.

Table of Contents

    Introduction: The Very Idea of a Theory of Knowledge
    1. The Standard Analysis
    2. Knowledge without Evidence
    3. Two Ideals
    4. Unstable Knowledge
    5. The Agrippan Argument
    6. Experience and Reality
    7. Foundations
    8. The Problem of the Basis
    9. Reduction and Inference
    10. Coherence
    11. The Myth of the System
    12. Realism and Truth
    13. Evidence and Entitlement
    14. Knowledge in Context
    15. Seeing and Knowing
    16. Scepticism and Epistemic Priority
    17. Induction
    18. Projection and Conjecture
    19. Relativism
    20. Objectivity and Progress
    Conclusion: Epistemology After Skepticism