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Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction [#400]
Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction [#400]
  • Includes both historical and contemporary developments in the theory of knowledge
  • Expresses complex ideas in a clear and accessible way, using simple examples
  • Examines the relationship between knowledge and truth
  • Explores the central issues and debates in epistemology

What is knowledge? How does it differ from mere belief? Do you need to be able to justify a claim in order to count as knowing it? How can we know that the outer world is real and not a dream?

Questions like these are ancient ones, and the branch of philosophy dedicated to answering them - epistemology - has been active for thousands of years. In this thought-provoking Very Short Introduction, Jennifer Nagel considers these classic questions alongside new puzzles arising from recent discoveries about humanity, language, and the mind. Nagel explains the formation of major historical theories of knowledge, and shows how contemporary philosophers have developed new ways of understanding knowledge, using ideas from logic, linguistics, and psychology. Covering topics ranging from relativism and the problem of scepticism to the trustworthiness of internet sources, Nagel examines how progress has been made in understanding knowledge, using everyday examples to explain the key issues and debates.

"I am in love with this series - it's like having an extended course of study in one's rucksack or handbag that's designed to educate the modern polymath." - GrrlScientist, Guardian Books

"[A]dmirably clear and engaging" - Steven Poole, The Guardian



1: Introduction
2: Scepticism
3: Rationalism and empiricism
4: The analysis of knowledge
5: Internalism and externalism
6: Testimony
7: Shifting standards?
8: Knowing about knowing
Further reading

About the author: 

Jennifer Nagel is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Associate Chair at the University of Toronto. Her research covers both historical and contemporary topics in epistemology. She has published on scepticism and empirical knowledge in Descartes and Locke and has also written a series of articles on intuitive ascriptions of knowledge.

Product details

ISBN : 9780199661268

Jennifer Nagel
152 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Sep 2014
Very Short Introductions
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Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction [#400]

Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction [#400]

Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction [#400]