My work in Epistemology started out as a simple question, “how can two people, holding diametrically opposed viewpoints, both firmly believe that they are right?” At the time, the most relevant and visible questions were political.  However, the 40th anniversary of the moon landing provided an excellent opportunity to challenge the status quo.

I believe, like most people, that we landed on the moon.  If you too believe we landed on the moon, I challenge you to stop (before reading on) and tell me how you know that we landed on the moon.

… space to let you think…

… space to let you think…

… space to let you think…

… space to let you think…

Here are the two most common answers:

  • I saw the videos
  • We have moon rocks

While both points are valid, it’s usually trivial to prove that neither are *proof positive* that we landed on the moon:

  • If I gave the video to most readers, they would lack the skill to establish the authenticity of the video.
  • If I gave a moon rock to most readers, they would lack the skill, once again, to determine whether the rock came from the moon or Colorado.

Eventually, they reach the necessary conclusion that their knowledge depends (almost exclusively) on other people.  It follows that their knowledge depends not just on other people but on who those other people are. This was the first exciting step on my way to figuring out a key aspect of how the brain works.  The story continues at Cognition.

While the first thread continues in my study of cognition, my work in epistemology has expanded since I first came to this realization. My ongoing work in epistemology can be found on the site of my knowledge platform known as Eviduction (“the synthesis of evidence and deduction”).

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