of course, no one reading this blog could possibly believe that I could make a 2-line blog post, so...
The real deep issue with epistemology that I've run into is that after Hume...no one has successfully iterated their way through "What is true?" in a way that is intelligible to the common person. Rather...Critiques have come in 5 forms:
- Rationalism(Kant): There's this category called Synthetic A Priori....and that escapes Hume's dilemma.
- Common Sense (Reid): Hume violates common sense...though I don't see HOW Hume is wrong, he must be.
- So What (Neitzche): So what? Beauty, Power...Why are you hung up on truth?
- Redefine Truth: Can't tag a philosopher...but common meaning of truth disappears.
- Orthogonal (Hegel, Positivist, Quine, Wittgenstein): Wrong question. You should ask some other question instead, that basically takes the Humean insight into account.
I agree with the orthogonal approach.
The question "What is true?" or "What can we know?" is epistemologically thoroughly unanswerable, once one tries to iterate backwards AND to maintain anything resembling a common-sense meaning of truth.
Therefore...the deep epistemological meta-question is:
"What question CAN we ask that has these 2 features:
- It has a similar meaning to "What is true?" Of course not the same, but hopefully in the same league.
- It can be addressed decently."
I claim that the (only?) correct answer to the above question is "What should we believe?"
Of course, that places purpose AHEAD of reason, which is a quintessentially Humean, and as importantly anti-Aristotelian line. Reason cannot generate purpose. Reason is instrumental.
Note..."We should believe what is true" iterates it's way into oblivion (known unanswerables) in one step.