naturalized epistemology

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Term due to Quine for the enterprise of studying the actual formation of knowledge by human beings, without aspiring to certify those processes as rational, or proof against scepticism, or even apt to yield the truth. Naturalized epistemology would therefore blend into the psychology of learning and the study of episodes in the history of science. The scope for ‘external’ or philosophical reflection of the kind that might result in scepticism or its refutation is markedly diminished. Although the term is modern, distinguished exponents of the approach arguably include Aristotle, Hume, J. S. Mill, and Piaget, although few philosophers are prepared to give up a critical or normative dimension, privileging some ways of forming belief above others. See also epistemology, methodology.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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