The Uncertainty Of Knowledge Essay, Research Paper
What is knowledge? Can we as a whole actually be certain of our knowledge? If so, how? Are we not all based upon illusions and misconceptions, which in actuality create our society today? Knowledge is supported and evidenced by faith or by the ‘arrogance of religion’. Faith is supported by psychological beliefs that have little or no proven evidence. By simply believing and having this faith, a person creates a rationale for accepting ideas and happenings. Truth is seen from this faith. On the contrary, knowledge is also acquiesced by scientific or empirical based theories. By ignoring religious beliefs in miracles, revelations and other unexplained occurrences, the search for knowledge is primarily founded upon facts and tests of the natural sciences. A primary facet of faith coincides with the acceptance of religious standpoints. Thus, with the approval of science-based evidence, there is an arrogance or disapproval of religion as the source knowledge. Therefore, there are two different perspectives that proclaim to maintain the certainty of knowledge: justification by faith alone and the neglect of religion or evidence from specific observations.
These two arguments serve as the basis of the search for the certainty of knowledge. Though many of these theories represent justified claims, an absolute truth of knowledge has still not been resolved. Therefore in reality the uncertainty of knowledge is in fact unknown and will continue to remain unknown as long as the question of faith still lingers. Not a single person is born with truth, but is rather authoritatively ordained with his knowledge whether it be through scientific or religious means. All is based upon a single thread of evidence or the recklessness of opinions or assumptions.
Philosophers have sometimes construed the problems of justification as though they were problems concerning the knowledge possessed by a social group; and it does of course make perfectly good sense to ask what statements we are justified in believing, and why we are justified in believing them. But such a question cannot be answered without first answering a more fundamental, egocentric question: Why am I, at the present moment justified in believing some statements and not justified in believing other statements? For the most part people believe in statements as a response to societal pressures and for personal content. Society needs to be comforted by having strong beliefs, which can reduce the stresses of uncertainty. Hence in order to actually believe and justify knowledge, one must have some form of this faith.
Being one of the primary sources of reason and doubt, religion plays a widely dominant role in our society today. But how do we, ourselves, know the certainty of religion, that which validates one of our understandings of knowledge? This is simply performed through faith. There is no evidence that a religion is real. One might say, yes, there is evidence that being holy books or artifacts. Once again where did those relics arrive from, or maybe someone merely conjured them up. Indeed, some scientists have therefore renamed faith of religion into the arrogance of religion. This being the fact that someone who actually feels that his or her religion does proclaim absolute truth is in reality being arrogant not to recognize the other billion faiths. But one might ask another, if there was no arrogance of religion where would one be today? Our society would not be able to evolve and function without these ‘absolute faiths’ (an oxymoron in itself due to the fact that though these are universal and widely accepted truths, they are not based on any evidence or facts.). Whether the faith be Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, or even atheism, each person categorized in one of these subjects must have an arrogance in their faith otherwise there would be no innovation or movement in this world today. People would find no reason to look for new knowledge and further advancement. In other words, people must have strong beliefs through faith, and it is in this way that new and more ideas are created. Thus solely through absolute faith (or arrogance of religion), has religion played a major factor in the revelation of the uncertainty of knowledge. Their faiths have been molded into certain knowledge by their arrogance alone.
Though some scientists question the justifiable resources of religion, they fail to ponder whether their ‘religion’ or faith in science is equitable in itself. Scientists state that the arrogance of religion is causing misconception in this world today, but is it not their own discoveries and misleading equations that create our concerns in this skeptical society? Once again how do we even know that science can be proven? How do we know that evidence is justifiable? Science could merely be a series of illusions, by which there is no tangible evidence. If there were no faith in the authoritative dictators of science, where would we be today? Thus there is not only an arrogance of religion, but also an ‘arrogance of science’ as well. Scientists believe that everything plausible has a reputable solution or experimental evidence, and that through the use of the empirical or deductive method of thinking a statement of knowledge can be made. This is nothing but a mere arrogance in itself. Just as religion is based on faith, science is based on religion. Without the use of religion in science, there would not be any experiments in the first place. If a person did not have a faith or belief in something, then how could this person have faith upon his own discoveries or experiments? Hence, faith upon science has allowed scientists to create their own certainty of knowledge. But in reality, all of their knowledge is just as uncertain as that of a religious authoritarian.
A portrayal of the documentation of history epitomizes the uncertainties in faith and knowledge. When a historian or any human being for that matter records a situation or an event, he must include his personal opinion. Whether these opinions are subtle or quite overt, this person is never the less personalizing his facts. Though events have indeed taken place in the past, when a historian writes about such an event he will always add personal view to the text. He will judge what is important and what should be left out. By simply emphasizing that a fact is important he is therefore inserting an opinion. As one witnesses some kind of data, a type of subconscious analysis is almost instantly being activated. At the very instant a person begins to write ‘history’, he is using personal judgments and reflections. Without such judgment, how could anything be recorded? It is virtually impossible to do so. All humans are unique individuals, who have certain perspectives and beliefs. Thus, when an individual is recording history, interpretation leaves room for opinionated facts. Actions and sources seen by a single historian could very well be totally different from the perception of a fellow historian. Thus who and what does a knowledge seeker believe? Since there is not one universal portrayal of history, there will always be an uncertainty as to what to consider to be knowledgeable and what to consider to be useless. The basic duty of a historian is to foretell the mysteries of the past occurrences. This task is usually performed through the method of storytelling. Using imagery, categorization, and reasoning abilities, a historian is indeed portraying elements of writing an enhanced historical portrayal.
Whenever a piece of information is recorded, a judgment of some type is produced. In order to create coherency and fluency, a historian must add superfluous information to provide the reader with a well understanding of the data. When a historian writes about something he sees, he is writing of what he thought he saw, or theorized, for the historian could have made a misjudgment. This illustrates the power of the historian; if he makes a slight mistake due to a likely inaccuracy (because nobody is perfect), history could be changed forever. This judgment of the historian is bound by no limits, and will constantly digress society from the actual representation. Thus, how is one suppose to accept these historical texts as knowledgeable? With so many viewpoints, it seems impossible to gain from historical texts what actually happened in the past.
In comparison to the historian, we, in our society today, also make judgments and assumptions in everyday life. Whether the situation be minute and worthless, or significant and grand, people make calculations and observations that depend upon their individual understandings and faith in whatever situation may be occurring. With these personal calculations and observations, people continue the process of using opinionated and tainted facts. But though this procedure is indeed natural and will always occur from time to time, it is also the source of many doubts and disbeliefs. Due to this uncertainty, generations of today and the past have questioned the justification of God and whether or not he exists. Political theories are also being questioned and not understood, promoting people to disobey rules and regulations. Depression and suicide, in extreme cases, also emerge due to the confusing uncertainties of knowledge. On the other hand, there can also be positive outcomes from this ignorance. By accepting beliefs past down in school or through family generations, unity and solidarity can be achieved, and people can learn to cooperate with one another.
Therefore, throughout the many stages of history and facets involving scientific and religious faith, knowledge has been past down and gained with a startling amount of uncertainty. By using faith alone to acquire knowledge, one is not being scientific. But by only using science to prove that knowledge is viable is also indecisive due to the actual uncertainty of science itself. Without the use of faith, there could be no religion (since for the most part religion is based on faith). Hence, the key questions arise; what is knowledge? And what makes knowledge certain? Thus, again as in the beginning of this paper questions are being asked, for the truth of the matter is I also do not have an answer. One can continuously debate over what defines the certainty knowledge, but in order to actually want to apprehend knowledge, there must be some type of faith involved, along with the mergence of categorical, scientific facts. Hence, both approaches to understanding knowledge must compliment one another. Though what constitutes knowledge still will not be defined, but will at least be accepted.
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