When I think of something significant that indicates the concept of knowledge, I think of Epistemology. This is one of the most significant divisions of philosophy. There has been numerous of efforts by philosophers to find the source of knowledge. Knowledge is the ethics or principles by which we can criticize the dependability of knowledge itself. Even though we are sometimes shocked to realize that something that we once believed in or still do believe in was sure and certain, we have a tendency to be okay with thinking that we know just about everything.
However, we come to the realization that what we thought we knew is instead proved doubtful and indecisive.
To use as an example, a person that I know, trust and believes in, expresses to be that something that was reported in the news was a lie, and the pictures that were shown on the television were in fact created within a lab. Since the headline was featured on the news, I may either stop trusting my friend, or instead, think that there is no proof that the news is lying.
Either way, right from the start, any person would start to investigate in the pursuit of finding any evidence that would lead to finding the certainty and truthfulness. With this example in mind, I truly believe that the largest source of knowledge is the great age of individuals’ opinions. In my opinion, knowledge is the connection amongst a person and the world. There are many philosophers that agree with this meaning of knowledge in its simplest form, however, there are other philosophers who disagree on the vital concentration of that affiliation.
There are many things that take place that confirm that individuals have tried to put forth their personal views on other individuals. In the end, they are assumed to be crazy. One of those people that comes to mind is Galileo Galilei.
This philosopher was certain that there was no circulation of the sun around the earth. On the contrary, he believed that the earth really rotates and circulates around the sun. To this day, there have been a huge number of martyrs that have been disciplined just for the simple fact that they do what most people don’t, which is challenge the unfailing knowledge of the higher arcs in their civilizations. Philosophers are very anxious in finding and discovering the foundation of which knowledge stands upon. Upon my readings in Philosophy, there have been two philosophers that are very well-known that disputed about this theory. These two philosophers are John Locke and Rene’ Descartes. Locke is presumed to be the forefather of British empiricism; however, Descartes is believed to be the forefather of modern philosophy. They together have two distinct epistemic arrangements that all give the awareness of knowledge and what it really and truly is.
To begin with, Descartes method is to doubt any and everything with the hopes to create a solid foundation for knowledge. His philosophy expresses that the knowledge of a man, derives from his sense of experiences. He finds that it is very probable that everyone is just existing in a dream state and that we have not, even once, have had contact with the reality of things. From now on, Descartes never gives his senses any credibility, but instead, he realizes that he has placed himself in a state of complete doubt. To my understanding, he thinks that nothing at all can be notable and distinguishable than one thing we all possess, which is our [his] mind. To his awareness, the bodies of human beings are controlled by the mind instead of our senses or even the proficiency of our imagination.
The significance of our senses, in Descartes’ understandings, is not set in place by being touched, smelled or even tasted. The significance is set in place by our senses just being recognized alone. For instance, we consider an orange to be an orange just because our intellect tells us that it is in fact an orange. It is the natural tendency of justification that provides the knowledge and allows the mind to recognize the veracity and value of matters. In the end, Descartes truly believes that every human being can be set apart and perceived by our senses. For example, a person can visualize an entity at a great distance, but when it arrives closer and closer, the person comes to the realization that it was not what they actually thought it was. In saying this, Descartes has come to believe that we cannot persistently be certain of what we come to sense.
On a different note, Locke is considered to be an empiricist. By him being an empiricist, he is led to give his criticism to Descartes’ structure of epistemic and in this attempt, he tries to seek out his own premises of knowledge. Locke assumes and suspects that our knowledge of the world we are habituated in, stems from what our senses conveys to us. The theory that Locke established states that a clean slate is what we were given when we came into this world, tabula rasa. This was given to us before we could even comprehend what anything was. With that being said, the concept of distinctive ideas to Locke, is no longer useful and he beings to protests that everything we realize that the world is or has become, is what we live through our senses. The terms, idea and quality, are described by Locke.
With this description it is made clear that thoughts are in the mind and qualities are in our bodies. “Idea” is expressed to be what the mind distinguishes in itself, or in other words, the instant entity of discernment, thought or the comprehension of things. When it comes to “quality”, he states that it is to be the power to give any inkling in our mind. The illustration of a snowball is given. This is given to further illuminate his classification and clarification of quality and idea. In this illustration, the snowball has the control to originate in us the proposition of white, cold and round. He then inserts that the powers to create those notions in us, as they are held within the snowball, are the qualities. Additionally, the sensations or insights in out comprehension is what he describes “ideas” to be. The qualities are not within the idea of the snowball; however, it is within the snowball itself. Our ideas are everything that we have interaction with. Therefore, the mental understandings of the snowball is all that we possess in our mind.
Moving on, Locke goes on to differentiate primary and secondary qualities from one another while also defining them. Initially, Locke makes it evident that well thought out qualities in bodies, are inextricable from the body. In his clarification, he displays how you can never take away the solidity, leeway, figure or mobility from a body. This idea is revealed by examining a grain of wheat. Each part of the wheat still has solidity, leeway, figure and mobility if you were to split a grain of it. If you were to split it a second time, the qualities of the wheat will still be there. He then goes on to justify these primary qualities of body that creates plain ideas in us of those same things. Furthermore, what is unknown in the object themselves, but has the power to create a variety of feelings in us by their main qualities, is what he states secondary qualities as being. To my knowledge, the colors, sounds, and how things taste are a few examples of what secondary qualities are.
I very much come to an agreement with Locke. I do, in fact, believe that we are born into this would with a clean slate, and that our knowledge arrives mostly in sensual experience, with no distinctive ideas. In actual fact, I also believe that we do come up with ideas that not based on experience, but we continuously tend to show to ourselves the reality of those ideas. For instance, we all recognize that a sunflower when to be found from a bush, fluctuates color and size, and from that exact color of yellow we identify that is something beautiful to touch. Based on our encounters, there are certain things we come in contact with that we wouldn’t imagine touching or feeling because of the ideas we initially set in place. However, there are certain instances or people set in place to alter our thoughts and challenge us to do the opposite of what we initially think to see if what we could be thinking is in actuality, true. In saying this, I to this day, think that we receive our knowledge of the world through ideas and qualities as well. We are born blank and bare, but over time, knowledgeable encounters and acquaintances, help us distinguish what they are and what their meaning truly is.