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What is Knowledge? Philosophical Lecture

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Free Resource (#896) - Sept. 10th, 2009
Today's Free Resource

What is Knowledge?

It's back to school time and before cramming our brains with new knowledge, let us ask, "What is Knowledge?" In this lecture, Professor Colin McGinn deciphers what we mean when we say we 'know' something to be true. He traces the history of philosophical skepticism, giving the listener several historical arguments for the theory of knowledge, and also touching on arguments made by the likes of Plato, Descartes, and other important philosophers. This lecture is a foundational exercise for the rest of the program, with McGinn arguing that for someone to begin thinking philosophically, he or she must first understand the methods of thinking that go into the pursuit of true knowledge.

This is the first lecture from the Modern Scholar course Discovering the Philosopher in You taught by Professor Colin McGinn.

What is Knowledge?

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Discovering the Philosopher in You: The Big Questions in Philosophy

Everyone has their own inner philosopher—a voice within that asks, oh so insistently, philosophical questions. Everyone wants to know what the ultimate nature of the world is, what the self is, whether we have free will, how our minds relate to our bodies, whether we can really know anything, where ethical truth comes from, what the meaning of life is, and whether or not there is a God. This inner philosopher is related to the inner child, since the child too is prone to asking philosophical questions. But it is much better to have a disciplined guide through philosophy than simply to try to do all the thinking by yourself. I will be acting as your guide. I will cover all the main problems of philosophy, from logic to ethics, from the human mind to God, introducing you to how philosophers think and the theories they have come up with. The first four lectures focus on foundational questions that need to be clarified before we engage upon more applied discussions. We need to know what knowledge is, what truth is, and what logical reasoning is before we start discussing ethics, the mind, free will and God. So let’s start with the basics, then break into a run only when we have learned how to walk.

Available on MP3 Download.

Discovering the Philosopher in You

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