3 Reliable Sources of Knowledge

There are six sources of knowledge we use to gain more insight of the world. These are sense perception, intuition, language, reason, emotion, faith, memory, and imagination. Theses knowledge sources are all important in their own way, but some may be more reliable than others. To answer the question, “Which knowledge sources are considered the most reliable?” we have to answer this knowledge question: “To what extent can a source of knowledge be unbiased in any given situation?”None of the sources of knowledge are perfectly unbiased in any given situation. There are times when our senses deceive us, and our reasons are flawed.

But sense perception is one source that is relatively unbiased compared to other sources. Majority of people in this world have the same ability of our five senses, sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. And each of our senses, though can be deceived, our senses provide us with a fairly identical tool in which to experience our surroundings (“5 Mind-Blowing Ways Your Senses Lie to You Every Day” ). Though our senses can be biased, as there are cases where our sight can change the way we hear. But I think it is safe to say that these exceptions, though they may not be so few, do not change our perspective to such a great extent.

The second source that I considered was reason. Reasoning lets us create knowledge through evidence. Through reasoning, we are able to supports ones claims through multiple ‘proofs’, which makes knowledge based through reasoning quite unbiased. Though, reason is not perfect as our supporting evidence for ones claim can be very subjective, are we may not consider evidence that disproves are claims. But I think the core of reason, which is finding evidence that supports our claims is less biased than other knowledge sources, as it requires us to justify our beliefs.

The last source is memory. Memory let’s us store information from the past, and relive those experiences in our heads. When we learn something, we rely on a lot of concepts we learned in the past, and apply it to the present problem. So it can be said that in order to achieve this, our memory must be reliable enough that we get our concepts right. Having said this, our memories are shaped each time we think back at our past, and though a long process of re-shaping our memories, they may end up different to what our actual experiences are. Having said this, I think our memories are unbiased enough as it let’s us to solve present day problems relatively accurately.

Works Cited

“5 Mind-Blowing Ways Your Senses Lie to You Every Day.” Cracked.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2016.

Does Santa exist!? [Lesson 4: Gettier Problem]

According to the Gettier Problem, there can be a case where two people holding a belief where one person illustrates justification, while the other does not illustrating reliable justification. Let’s look at a fictitious example.

 

There are two boys, Jim and George,  who are close friends, and both of these boys believe that santa claus does not exist after all.

 

Jim does not believe in the existence of Santa Claus because a week before Christmas day, he spotted his mum hiding a large wrapped present in the closet of her room. Under further inspection, he found that the present contained a skateboard, which coincidentally was what he had wished for that Christmas. Just to make sure, he did not go to bed on Christmas Eve, and hid under the table in the living room all night. He saw his mum late at night with her stack of presents, gently laying down the presents under the Christmas tree, with no sign of Santa in sight. On Christmas day, he found that his present that was supposedly from Santa was the exact same skateboard he saw in his mum’s closet, with the same pattern wrapping paper. He asked all his friends the next day if there was actually anyone who has seen Santa Claus, but none of them did.

From all these evidence, Jim concluded that Santa does not exist.

 

George on the other hand does not believe in Santa Claus because he did not get the present he was wishing for. He was told that Santa is all-knowing, and he would give George anything he wanted if he keeps on being a ‘good’ boy.

 

From this example we can pose a knowledge questions, “To what extent can personal belief be reliable enough so it can be used to support a claim?”

 

Though both of the boys believe in the same thing, we can see that Jim exhibits justified true belief, whereas Jim’s justification of the claim is not entirely justified.

 

Jim’s belief is concluded from a series of things he observed that did not match with what it was ‘suppose’ to look like if Father Christmas did exist. He believed that if Santa existed, and he was the one who gave him presents. He also believed that he would not get a present his mum was hiding in her closet if he existed. We can see that these two beliefs he holds can be justified, as his belief can be applied to other real life situations. When a person that supposedly exists does not do what they are suppose to do, or do not show up when they are expected to show up, or that no one has actually physically seen, may not actually exist afterall. There could be a counterargument against his belief, by saying that Santa may indeed do exist but he was unable to come around this time this year, and he asked his mum to buy Jim’s presents. It could have also been that the friends Jim asked were also unlucky in that they have never seen him, but that does not mean that no one has seen him. But in the case of Jim, there were enough evidence against the existence of Santa that it was enough for it to be justifiable.

 

In the case of George on the other hand, is not as justifiable. His thought process is similar to Jim in the sense that he justifies his claim because what he thinks is something that should have been true if Santa existed, was not, in George’s opinion, true. He believed that if Santa existed, he would give him a present of his choice, but that belief itself cannot be justified. He needs to see what kind of justification he has for this belief: is there any evidence proving his belief? The only evidence used for this belief is that his parent’s told him so. But this is not enough justification to make his personal belief reliable enough to support his claim. Adding to this, George only has one personal belief to justify his claim, whereas Jim had multiple.

 

In conclusion, personal belief can be reliable enough to justify a claim. But this will depend on the reliability of your personal belief itself, and the number of beliefs used to support your claim.

A Glide to remember – Two types of Personal Knowledge

One of my highlights of the past summer was my paragliding experience that I had in France.

Not only is paragliding itself a very thrilling experience, it held a special meaning as it was the first time that I made a decision to try something out of my comfort zone that I did not have outside influence on. I do not consider myself as someone particularly adventurous, but for the first time, I wanted to do something adventurous that I have never had the privilege on doing before.

Paragliding has given be great amount of knowledge by acquaintance. Not the way I imagined, paragliding was not just a smooth journey downwards. I did feel scared at the beginning because I was 1000 metres above the ground, but the sense of height started to numb very quickly. I could not see the parachute above me so when I looked down, it almost seemed like I was floating on air, slowing drifting downwards. The buildings on the ground below looked so tiny, but realistic at the same time. It was not like looking out the window of an aeroplane because the sounds of daily life below started to crescendo further down I went. It was like an escape from reality, and I know the sensation cannot be described fully as it is one of the things one needs to experience. I used many factors from the WOK such as sense perception, imagination, and emotion.

Paragliding cannot be done independently as beginners, and I had a supervisor with me all through my glide, and he controlled our movement downwards. So in that sense, I did not gain much practical knowledge as I was just there for the experience paragliding and not for learning the skill. But there were simple practical knowledge I picked up on the way such as when you first open the parachute on the ground, the force of the wind will be so strong it will try to topple you over, but you must face the direction of the cliff and keep on walking until you get to the end. I made a mistake of withdrawing my legs just before we took flight, which I found out was not a good idea later on. So as a one-time paraglider, paragliding was a lot more about knowledge by acquaintance than practical knowledge. But I know that if I wanted to pursue paragliding further, I will have to learn a lot more about the practical knowledge of paragliding in order to glide independently.

Truth, Modernism, and Postmodernism

To question, “Do we care if our beliefs are true?” is a difficult question to answer because proving whether a belief is true or not is impossible. Belief can be defined as An acceptance that something exists or is true, especially one without proof” (“Definition of Belief in English:.” ). So for many ethical and  religious beliefs that is a controversial issue with opposing sides, it would be difficult to prove that one is the ‘right’ belief and the other is ‘wrong’.

 On the topic of whether people care about the validity of our own beliefs, however, is a different story. Many of us, including myself, do not question the validity of our beliefs without thinking twice, but this does not mean we do not care about them. Beliefs are shaped by our identity, and differ from person to person. Many religious and ethical beliefs we hold developed from childhood that was passed on to us from people close to us, which means beliefs are not something you question, but rather something we take for granted as the truth.

Adding to this, because the people around us influence our beliefs, most of us hold same or similar beliefs within our communities. So it is easy to jump on a bandwagon and keep on believing what everyone else believes. In history, up until the 16th century, people believed that the Earth was the centre of the universe (Cessna). It seems ridiculous now, but it can be justified because it was normal then to believe this theory so people did not question its validity. They just assumed it was. Conflicts between groups of people with opposing beliefs are still  very common in the present, therefore it is difficult to think that people who go to war for their beliefs do not care if their beliefs were wrong.

 In conclusion, I think that people do care if their beliefs they hold are true or not, just that we do not have the instinct to question what we already think we know.

 

Works Cited

Cessna, Abby. “Geocentric Model.” Universe Today. N.p., 17 June 2009. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

“Definition of Belief in English:.” Oxford Dictionary. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Nov. 2015.

Perspectives, Biases, and Paradigms – summative task

I wholeheartedly agree with the statement, “We see the world, not as it is but as we are.” We as humans all live very diverse lives with differing backgrounds, and each of us hold a unique perspective of our own. So putting this in another context, each of us hold our own biases against someone or something. We have our own paradigm and we see things on how we are, and how we want to see it.

 We each hold our own paradigm because we as humans have a mechanism for survival, not for perception of occurrences. So we may not see things for what it really is, just because it may be easier to be blinded by our bias and act accordingly to what we ‘want’ to see. An example can be made of ancient rituals to ensure good harvest, which has happened in many ancient tribes. Agriculture was an important to people in these days because agriculture was their only definite source of food, and they relied heavily on good weather. But then, people could not think of the reason why there were times of droughts and times when there was too much rain. They had to make sense of why these things happened, and rather than making a judgement that it is infact a random occurrence that cannot be controlled, they turned to the conclusion that they were angering the gods. This was the view the people held because it was easier to accept that the gods were held responsible because in their view, the gods was almighty and powerful, and god was responsible for everything that happened on Earth. That was there paradigm.

 Though the example above was for people living long before our time, it still applies for us. For example, many of us may make a judgement about a person we have never even met because people close to us have warned us about them. This has happened to me countless of times when I already made a judgement about someone, usually in a negative manner (but sometimes positively too). But once I actually meet that person, I am skeptical to begin with, but then I am surprised and I feel that my initial judgement about them was utterly incorrect: I was blinded by my bias. I do this unconsciously, and I also feel many others do too. This is another example of my own paradigm because I held my view, my prejudice against that person because of who I was and what I was told about them. If I had met that person with a clear head without being told about them from before, I would not have judged them in the same manner I had. Because of this, our paradigm never makes us hold an accurate perception of what actually is.

 

I feel that we all have our own paradigms for a reason. We make our own judgements based on our past knowledge, our culture, and our background. But this does not mean it holds an accurate view of the world and our surroundings, but see things on how we want to see them. Because of this, I believe that we see the world as who we are.