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Scientific Epistemology

An Introduction

Hilary Kornblith

Publication Date - 26 October 2021

ISBN: 9780197609552

184 pages
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches

Designed for the non-specialist, this book offers an introduction to the theory of knowledge which draws the reader in to philosophical issues about perception, inference, bias, and argumentation by way of a wide range of interesting examples highlighting the strengths and shortcomings of the many ways in which we acquire our beliefs.


Epistemology has traditionally been motivated by a desire to respond to skeptical challenges. The skeptic presents an argument for the view that knowledge is impossible, and the theorist of knowledge is called upon to explain why we should think, contrary to the skeptic, that it is genuinely possible to gain knowledge. Traditional theories of knowledge offer responses to the skeptic which fail to draw on the resources of the sciences. This is no simple oversight; there are principled reasons why such resources are thought to be unavailable to the theorist of knowledge.

This book takes a different approach. After arguing that appeals to science are not illegitimate in responding to skepticism, this book shows how the sciences offer an illuminating perspective on traditional questions about the nature and possibility of knowledge. This book serves as an introduction to a scientifically informed approach to the theory of knowledge. This book is a vital resource for students and scholars interested in epistemology and its connections to recent development in cognitive science.


  • Approaches epistemological issues by way of research in the cognitive sciences
  • Discusses important new work in social psychology dealing with cooperative problem solving
  • Presents a novel theory of epistemology by a preeminent scholar in the field

About the Author(s)

Hilary Kornblith is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has written widely on topics in epistemology and related areas of philosophy of mind and metaphysics. He is the author of Inductive Inference and its Natural Ground (1993), Knowledge and its Place in Nature (2002), On Reflection (2012), A Naturalistic Epistemology: Selected Papers (2014), and Second Thoughts and the Epistemological Enterprise (2019).

Table of Contents


    1. The Threat of Skepticism
    2. The Phenomenon of Knowledge
    3. Knowledge from the Outside: The Third-Person Perspective
    4. Knowledge from the Inside: The First-Person Perspective
    5. From the Individual to the Social
    6. Conclusion: Born to Know