The Possibility of Knowledge

The Possibility of Knowledge

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How is knowledge of the external world possible? How is knowledge of other minds possible? How is a priori knowledge possible? These are all examples of how-possible questions in epistemology. Quassim Cassam explains how such questions arise and how they should be answered.
In general, we ask how knowledge, or knowledge of some specific kind, is possible when we encounter obstacles to its existence or acquisition. So the question is: how is knowledge possible given the various factors that make it look impossible? A satisfactory answer to such a question will therefore need to do several different things. In essence, explaining how a particular kind of knowledge is possible is a matter of identifying ways of acquiring it, overcoming or dissipating obstacles to its
acquisition, and figuring out what makes it possible to acquire it.
To respond to a how-possible question in this way is to go in for what might be called a 'multi-levels' approach. The aim of this book is to develop and defend this approach. The first two chapters bring out its advantages and explain why it works better than more familiar 'transcendental' approaches to explaining how knowledge is possible. The remaining chapters use the multi-levels framework to explain how perceptual knowledge is possible, how it is possible to know of the existence of minds
other than one's own and how a priori knowledge is possible.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 248 pages
  • 139 x 216 x 15mm | 317g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199562393
  • 9780199562398
  • 1,295,784

Table of contents

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Review quote

The virtues of this book are many. First and foremost, the possibility of knowledge is a topic which, though addressed by various authors and in various places, has not previously recieved the sort of sustained attention it gets here... a delightful book that is well worth reading. I recommend it especially to those who have thought about how to address how-possible questions in epistemology, and to those who wonder how Kant might be connected to the contemporary
literature in epistemology. I can think of few better people with whom to explore these issues than Cassam himself. * Sanford Goldberg, Mind *
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About Quassim Cassam

Quassim Cassam took up the Knightbridge Chair at Cambridge in January 2007. He was previously Professor of Philosophy at University College London (2005-2006) and Lecturer in Philosophy at Oxford University (1986-2004). He is the author of Self and World (Oxford University Press, 1997). He is also the editor of Self-Knowledge (Oxford University Press, 1994).
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