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Theories of Knowledge: How to Think About What You Know

Narrated by: Joseph H. Shieber
Length: 11 hrs and 28 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Philosophy
4 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

Non-member price: $48.69

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Publisher's 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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  • .
  • 14-03-2019

Great topic, but hard to keep up

A lot of the logical arguments had to string together several unfamiliar concepts, which decreased accessibility.

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  • Adrian
  • 16-01-2020

Absorbing, but not if you are distracted

I picked this course as I am very interested in psychology, education, and human behaviour. I was starting to feel I had reached some sort of saturation point at the armchair researcher level in a number of areas as many themes were starting to repeat themselves, but now I've found a new fascination, epistemology. The content is well written and narrated, although I found the very cleverly laid out cases and logic to be tough going for a lay person, but not so much that I honestly think I'll give it another round just to see how far I can get my head around the methods used in presenting the concepts and debating them.

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  • Thomas
  • 22-07-2019

Professor has poor delivery

The PROFESSOR places unnecessary EMPHASIS on KEY WORDS in EVERY sentence, and before very long it becomes quite TIRESOME to listen to...

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  • Jiri Klouda
  • 01-07-2019

Prof. Shieber murders logic...

Let me give you specific example here. In chapter 3 about Descartes the lecturer starts by discounting some argument as non-sequitur and even explains what it is for much richer sense of irony to be had later.

Then describes Descartes internalist philosophy by saying he cannot trust to his senses, but his doubt of those senses is an internal state, which he can build on: “Dubito Ergo Sum”, although he puts it in the more known version of “I think therefore I am.”

Then he proceeds to attempt to invalidate internalism by constructing an argument, where he adds to internal states other states that simply fit his understanding of the word internal, but have nothing to do with Descartes, later he carefully selects out of those one to disprove, which he further limits and limits until he gets to claim that the internal state is produced by vision and if we doubt ability to see what is there, then we have to doubt our internal senses. Adds the traditional Gorilla experiment and voila ... Descartes and Internalism disproved through a complete non-sequitur.

The irony is so big that just like the Gorilla it is completely ignored by all who look at it.

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  • Frank
  • 18-03-2019

Should be named "Naval Gazing"

These diatribes really are misnamed. This series has nothing at all to do about "knowledge." Rather, it's more about ignorance -- blatant ignorance. This is just the kind of thing most people cannot stand about professors -- they don't live in the real world and some of them have completely lost touch. Mr. Shieber fits this description. I have 2 doctorates and enjoy heady material, but I don't like listening to made-up terms about made-up occurrences that are "tested" on little undergrads age 18-22.

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  • tomer
  • 17-04-2019

i dont know nothing new

a lot of bla. all the time you think that next chapter there will have something. but no

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  • s l bassett
  • 26-04-2019

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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  • Charles Irvine
  • 30-04-2019

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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  • tfcdzemxvn
  • 06-01-2020

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.