Epistemology asks questions that relate to the scope, source, and nature of knowledge. The truth, belief, and justification of knowledge have been up for debate in the study of Epistemology. Plato offered the first theory of knowledge in his philosophical studies (Moore & Bruder, 2011, pg. 41). Epistemology asks the question how does one know what he knows. The sources of knowledge people gather is considered Epistemology as one who has read and researched and can by reasoning attain what is fact or fiction. The method used to be certain are considered deductive reasoning.
People who use this method of reasoning would be considered a rationalist. Rationalists (Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz) believe they know things for certain even though they may have never experienced themselves. My experience in the military had many rationalists. They believed if we followed the manual on warfare we would be successful although they may have never experienced combat firsthand. Writers of the manual often used others experience to author the manual but each encounter with the enemy may require a different action. The opposite of a rationalist is being an empiricist.
Empiricists (Aristotle, Epicurus, and Aquinas) deny that there is any knowledge that does not stem from sensory experience (Moore & Bruder, 2011, pg. 117). The interpretation is that ideas come from experience such as, perceptions and emotions. Empiricists believed that if we had no experience we would have no knowledge. There is an saying that says Experience is the Best Teacher. The question that should be asked on the premise of epistemology. Does experience make the person knowledgeable of his or her mistakes? Will the person repeat their mistake if he or she have knowledge of his or her experience.
Experience has to be relevant as people have improved and advanced in thoughts, creativity, and personal improvements. Skepticism attains that true knowledge is uncertain or impossible (Moore & Bruder, 2011, pg. 80). The Sophists were skeptics of the Greek philosophy. The Sophists believed that any idea was as valid as the next (Moore & Bruder, 2011, pg. 42). St. Augustine was a skeptic and believed that nothing can be known. Skeptics also suspend judgment in all matters. Skeptics do not deny or suspend judgment about certain things such as God or history (Moore & Bruder, 2011, pg.80).
Skeptics cannot argue the case of whether there is a God because the uncertainty that they cannot see, feel, or hear the higher being. Skeptics use sensory projection to attain if something is certain and that in itself makes it factual. The example of waking tomorrow and making plans is a skeptics example of uncertainty. Waking tomorrow is not guaranteed but living in the present moment is certain. Reference Moore, B. N. , & Bruder, K. (2011). Philosophy: The power of ideas (8th ed. ). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.