This textbook focus the philosophical study called epistemology. Like all philosophical terms, this one may be rather awe inspiring for a person who has never heard or read it before; but its dictionary definition is straightforward: "The study of the nature and the grounds of knowledge, especially with reference to its limits and validity." As in all flieds of philosophy, various conflicting theories of knowledge have evolved. These theories divide at the highest level of abstraction into two orientations: absolutism and relativism. Those who cleave to absolutism believe that they can by one means or another learn the truth; relativists by contrast question whether man can even know anything with certainty.
This book explores such topic as the nature of and limitations of perception, concept formation, inductive and deductive reasoning. It places considerable emphasis on critical thinking - examination and evaluation of our though processes in an attempt to assure that our thoughts and communications are both valid and reliable.
A number of exercises and assignments designed to illustrate and test our understanding of and control over our thought processes encourage students to take an active approach to this subject.