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Sean Carroll

Big Picture Part Two: Understanding

9 May 2016, 16:22 UTC
Big Picture Part Two: Understanding
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

One of a series of quick posts on the six sections of my book The Big Picture — Cosmos, Understanding, Essence, Complexity, Thinking, Caring.
Chapters in Part Two, Understanding:

9. Learning About the World
10. Updating Our Knowledge
11. Is It Okay to Doubt Everything?
12. Reality Emerges
13. What Exists, and What Is Illusion?
14. Planets of Belief
15. Accepting Uncertainty
16. What Can We Know About the Universe Without Looking at It?
17. Who Am I?
18. Abducting God

If, as a naturalist, you want to seriously engage with people who might not agree with you already, you’re going to have to talk a bit about epistemology — how we know what we know. It’s common for non-naturalists to level the accusation (perhaps sincerely felt) that naturalists simply assume their conclusion, and use methodologies that are not sensitive to the possibility of something outside the natural world.
I don’t agree, so in The Big Picture I spend a decent amount of time talking about how we actually go about the task of understanding the world. In particular, science doesn’t presume naturalism, it concludes that it’s the best explanation for the world we experience. Provisionally, of course — science ...

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