TWO BASIC IDEAS IMPORTANT FOR PHILOSOPHY

SOURCES OF KNOWLEDGE

How do we know what we know? Where does our knowledge come from-what are its sources? Many people think that sense experience, which is one source of knowledge, accounts for much or all of our knowledge. In actual fact, this is NOT so. There are four sources for our knowledge:

1. Memory: we know that many things occurred in the past because we remember them happening. Memory does not generate or create new beliefs-it puts us in touch with previous beliefs.

2. Sense perception: we know things because we have experienced them through our senses-sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch-or a combination of these.

3. Introspection: roughly defined as "looking inward," introspection is our knowledge about what is going on in our minds or consciousness, our awareness that we are remembering, sensing, etc., our awareness of what we are remembering, sensing, etc., our feelings, etc. Introspection is not necessarily subjective, though it is private-there is no way to verify or prove what someone else is thinking or feeling.

4. Reason: our ability to reason provides us with a final source of knowledge. There are truths of reason (such as logical and mathematical truths) that only reason can provide us. Reason comes to know by defining terms, working out the analysis of these definitions, and applying the rules of logic.


WORLDVIEW

Our worldview influences how we understand and evaluate things. A worldview is a comprehensive way of looking at the world, our way of unifying and relating the fragmentary activities and experiences to the universe as a whole. It is a "conceptual scheme" or a lens through which everything we encounter is filtered. It could be a purely personal and unique sort of thing, but it does not have to be-group and communities share, to some extent, a common worldview.

Worldviews are susceptible of evaluation-so therefore they are things that can be better or worse, that can be and maybe sometimes ought to be changed. In principle, any worldview can be rationally criticized.

Well rounded worldviews involve personal beliefs in at least five fundamental areas: God, reality, knowledge, morality, and human nature. The fundamental issue and questions involved are