Lecturer in Critical Thinking, Director of the UQ Critical Thinking Project, The University of Queensland
Peter Ellerton does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond the academic appointment above.
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How do you know what the weather will be like tomorrow? How do you know how old the Universe is? How do you know if you are thinking rationally?
These and other questions of the “how do you know?” variety are the business of epistemology, the area of philosophy concerned with understanding the nature of knowledge and belief.
Epistemology is about understanding how we come to know that something is the case, whether it be a matter of fact such as “the Earth is warming” or a matter of value such as “people should not just be treated as means to particular ends”.
It’s even about interrogating the odd presidential tweet to determine its credibility