Quiz: What's Your Epistemology? Let's Find Out!

7 Questions | Total Attempts: 12657

Quiz: What

What's Your Epistemology? The human mind is very interesting and has the ability to do far more than we know it can to date and scientists are still trying to measure its limits. Epistemology is a theory of knowledge that tries to understand the limits, origin, and nature of human knowledge. Why don’t you take this test and your location on the epistemology spectrum?


You May Get

Positivist

"In a positivist view of the world, science was seen as the way to get at the truth, to understand the world well enough so that we might predict and control it. The world and the universe were deterministic -- they operated by laws of cause and effect that we could discern if we applied the unique approach of the scientific method. Science was largely a mechanistic or mechanical affair. We use deductive reasoning to postulate theories that we can test. Based on the results of our studies, we may learn that our theory doesn't fit the facts well and so we need to revise our theory to better predict reality. The positivist believed in empiricism -- the idea that observation and measurement was the core of the scientific endeavor. The key approach of the scientific method is the experiment, the attempt to discern natural laws through direct manipulation and observation."

Post-Positivist

"Post-positivism is a wholesale rejection of the central tenets of positivism. A post-positivist might begin by recognizing that the way scientists think and work and the way we think in our everyday life are not distinctly different. Scientific reasoning and common sense reasoning are essentially the same processes. There is no difference in kind between the two, only a difference in degree. Scientists, for example, follow specific procedures to assure that observations are verifiable, accurate and consistent. In everyday reasoning, we don't always proceed so carefully (although, if you think about it, when the stakes are high, even in everyday life we become much more cautious about measurement. Think of the way most responsible parents keep continuous watch over their infants, noticing details that non-parents would never detect).   One of the most common forms of post-positivism is a philosophy called critical realism. A critical realist believes that there is a reality independent of our thinking about it that science can study."

Subjectivist

Subjectivists believe that there is no external reality -- we're all making this all up!
Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    Finish the sentence: The scientific method is....
    • A. 

      ...the only proven way to discover truth(s).

    • B. 

      ...flawed, but an effective process to answer many questions.

    • C. 

      ...an invented method of inquiry designed to increase the perception of certainty and truth in a scientist's mind.

  • 2. 
    If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
    • A. 

      No. Sound is a human construction we use to perceive our reality. If nobody was there to process and construct the sound, then it would not exist.

    • B. 

      Very likely, there is no way to be 100% sure, but if a tree falls in a forest it should make a sound.

    • C. 

      Yes, of course. What a silly question.

  • 3. 
    How do we know that the sky is blue?
    • A. 

      Observation and measurement. The sky emits a certain wavelength of light that our eye perceives as blue.

    • B. 

      Observation and measurement. Although we cannot be 100% certain the sky is blue because our measurement systems have bias and human limitation.

    • C. 

      Color is socially constructed. We know the sky is blue because we were socialized to construct the world in a certain ways, such as color identification.

  • 4. 
    Is it possible to truly understand historical events?
    • A. 

      Not 100%, although with triangulation of many forms of evidence we can get a good idea of what happened.

    • B. 

      No, historical events are inherently open to different interpretations from both the first-hand participants and later people studying the events. Understanding of events is constantly in flux and therefore there can be no "true" or "absolute" understanding.

    • C. 

      Through artifacts, personal accounts, and carbon-dating we can recreate an accurate account of historical events.

  • 5. 
    What is the significance of this statement: "I think, therefore I am."
    • A. 

      Not significant, even if you aren't thinking...you still exist in some measurable form.

    • B. 

      Some significance, but your body is still part of the external reality.

    • C. 

      Quite significant, thinking and processing are the core of existence and reality.

  • 6. 
    What is the difference between knowledge and belief?
    • A. 

      Knowledge can be proven but beliefs have a "falsifiable problem" since they can not be proved or disproved.

    • B. 

      Perception.

    • C. 

      The line between the two can be delicate, but generally knowledge can be proven through experiments and beliefs have a "falsifiable problem."

  • 7. 
    Finish the sentence: Truth is....
    • A. 

      Relative

    • B. 

      Absolute, but difficult to figure out.

    • C. 

      Absolute.

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