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Summary

Humans have been attempting to understand for thousands of years what knowledge truly is and how we aquire it, but the more we learn about the human body, our brains, and the world around us, the more challenging the quest becomes. The 21st century is a fast-paced world of technological change and expanding social networks, a world where information is plentiful and cheap, but where truth is in short supply.

When it comes to our never-ending search for the truth about knowledge, there are innumerable questions and considerations. What is the best way to make a transformative decision, such as whether to have a child? What if common sense was diametrically opposed to rational decision theory? If you see the correct time on a stopped clock, do you really know what time it is? Is that genuine knowledge or simply chance? And does the distinction matter?

Our memories are one of our primary channels for knowledge, but much of what we “remember” is actually false memories or confabulations. Where does that leave us?

The above questions merely scratch the surface of “epistemology”, the philosophical term for our inquiry into knowledge: what it is, the ways we acquire it, and how we justify our beliefs as knowledge. Delve into this exciting field in Theories of Knowledge: How to Think About What You Know. Taught by acclaimed Professor Joseph H. Shieber of Lafayette College, these 24 mind-bending lectures take you from ancient philosophers to contemporary neurobiologists, and from wide-ranging social networks to the deepest recesses of your own brain.

Epistemology is as old as philosophy itself. Your survey takes you back to Plato, who defined knowledge in terms of “true belief” - a personal belief that corresponds with some external truth. You’ll see how this relationship between knowledge, belief, and the truth aligns with what 20th-century developmental psychologists have learned about children and the way we first begin to access information.

These types of connections - between philosophical history and our world today, and between abstract theory and observed, real-world examples - make this course a rare treat, transforming how you think about yourself, the world around you, and the very nature of reality.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 The Great Courses (P)2019 The Teaching Company, LLC

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Fascinating

This book covers some great knowledge and ideas. As with many books, after a few, you might have heard of some of the content, but there was plenty in this book, that I had not heard elsewhere. The lecturer is a great speaker and the lectures are short enough to cover several per day with ease.

There's points made that will make you really think, about how it is that you know what you know. Logic intensifies.

3 people found this helpful

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Good series of philosophy lectures

The professor is a pleasant and interesting guy and he covers a lot of ground in these 24 lectures on epistemology. Anyone interested in the philosophy of knowledge should find this rewarding and enjoyable, although maybe you would need to have some familiarity with the subject.

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A useful introduction

Joseph Shieber is a very enthusiastic teacher whose lectures tumble out in a stream of consciousness. It covers a lot of the basics in theory of knowledge. However, I found it quite repetitive and heavily rooted in US social science, particularly social psychology.

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I'm not a philosophy major

Most lectures sounded like the dialogue from the "Friends" episode between Monica, Phoebe, and Joey... "They don't know that we know they know we know they know.." Just talks in circles a lot and I didn't get anything out of this book. If you study philosophy then you might feel differently but if you do not study philosophy then I wouldn't recommend.