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Epistemology

Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that deals with the understanding of aspects of knowledge. According to Heylighen (1993), “It attempts to answer the basic question: what distinguishes true (adequate) knowledge from false (inadequate) knowledge? Practically, this question translates into issues of scientific methodology: how can one develop theories or models that are better than competing theories?” The form of epistemology that I predominantly use in everyday life is empiricism. This is because it focuses logically enough on the truth we derive from our personal experiences in the world. According to Christian (2008) “philosophy and freedom of inquiry were born together”. This means that man has the constant desire to seek answers.  Within this philosophical perspective, I believe making use of direct observation; empirical epistemology has the capacity to build more concrete knowledge by the application of induction. Through the application of indirect empirical knowledge, we have the ability to take observations and critically analyze them to cover grounds that we could actually cover directly.

This form of epistemology is more dominant in the course of my daily life because as a student, I achieve answers that I consider right through observations and deductive reasoning.  In addition to the above, empiricism is part of science that seeks to fine solution to some elusive problems that we face in a circle of progressive knowledge. As a student, my life involves the search for answers on social, economical and political aspects of our lives which are best provided by the empirical form of epistemology. These include attempts to understand the reasons behind the economic meltdown and why Brazil continues to be a better team in football. 

This is where the critical element of statistics comes in and makes it the preferred form of epistemology. Statistical analysis forms one of the fundamental reasons for justifications of academic problems. The number of observations I make before reaching a conclusion and generalization on a given problem employs statistical and data analysis.  In addition to the above, statistics enable me to understand errors and their sources in my search for right answer to academic problems.

According to Heylighen (1993), “synoptic philosophy consists of varies attempts to provide systematic, overreaching, coherent set of answers to philosophical questions”. These philosophies include the element of metaphysical theory such as ontology and cosmology. Critical analysis on the other hand is “not merely to inform but also to evaluate the worth, utility, excellence, distinction, truth, validity, beauty and goodness of something”(Heylighen, 1993).I find critical analysis not only easier to use by comes along with the advantage of expanding my horizon of reasoning while attending to academic problems in the course of my study. I do not like taking ideas as they are presented to me but I have a view that critically analyzing what could be believed to be facts has the opportunity to discover hidden issues in the search for right answers.    

Furthermore, critical analysis forms the most pivotal process in academic work in that it encompasses critical thinking that involves the application of rational and logical thinking. According to ref   critical thinking can be defined as: “awareness of a set of interrelated critical questions; the ability to ask and answer critical questions at appropriate times and the desire to actively use the critical questions”. These aspects fully define the general expectations of a student and as such remain fundamental in the course of my studies. “How does our world work? What is our place in it?” (Christian, 2008). These questions are best approached through critical analysis.  I therefore hate the culture of accepting all that I hear and read without subjecting them to critical analysis that involve questioning, evaluating and making right judgments.