Truth has been a topic of discussion by itself for thousands of years. No consensus has been made for the definition of truth, as it differs for everyone, since we hold our own beliefs and judgements. However, a general understanding of truth can be made, which is truth is a verified or proven statement that corresponds with reality. Now to answer the question given, the eight ways of knowing are defined as language, sense perception, emotion, reason, imagination, intuition, memory and faith. There is no one way of knowing that is more likely to lead to truth in all scenarios, instead, different ways of knowing outweigh others in specific areas. This brings out the four areas of knowledge, science, mathematics, art and history. Each of these areas define truth differently, hence making some ways of knowing more authoritative than others in one specific area. This blog post will examine the ways of knowing and their methods to lead to truth in different areas.
To begin with, sense perception and reason are more likely to lead to truth in science. Sense perception, experience of the world through senses, is essential for science as experiments and observations lead to new discoveries. On the other hand, reason, the use of prior knowledge to synthesize new knowledge, collaborates with sense perception to lead to truth. Because without prior knowledge and the reasonings formed by the observations, no conclusions can be made. A good example would be Charles Darwin’s theory of Evolution through Natural Selection. This theory was generated through numerous experiments and observations of generations of living organisms. The scientists use their eyes to observe the physical differences of animals and use their prior knowledge to reason and conclude that living organisms adapt to the environment and form new traits.
In the fields of mathematics, language and reason are more likely to lead to truth. Language, a system of symbols and signs that have a particular meaning, plays a crucial role in math. Math is built on basic principles, and these principles are strictly followed when applying math. An example would be “1+1=2”. There is no evidence which proves this equation to be true, however, people do not question this equation, because they assume it is true. Along with language, reason helps develop further knowledge in mathematics. Reason uses the principles of math to prove theorems and form new ones.
Next, for art, imagination, sense perception and emotion are more likely to lead to truth. Imagination, the formation of new images and ideas that do not exist in reality, is prominent for the creation and interpretation of art. As well as emotion, the method to make sense of behaviors, ideas and experiences. Whether it is visual or performing arts, many artists get their inspirations through imagination and their art pieces are intertwined with their emotions. Similarly, the audience interpret art pieces through their imagination and emotions as well. In fact, both the audience and artists depend on sense perception, because it is our senses that bring us our varied understandings of art pieces.
At last, in the fields of history, memory is more likely to lead to truth. Memory, the recollection of old knowledge from past experiences and ideas, is the most direct and broad-used method to reveal history. Memories from eye-witnesses and people’s narrations of historical events are recognized as primary resources that have an extent of credibility. For instance, Chen Qiang, who has experienced the Chinese Revolution recounted “A big character poster appeared on campus and said: Save the reactionary speechmaker Chen Qiang”. This is an first-hand evidence which shows the radicalness of people during the Chinese revolution, who viewed people holding opposing opinions as reactionists. People’s narrations based on their memory such as these help the historians to gain further insight of specific events.
Some may say that there is only one way of knowing that outweighs all the other and can be applied to all areas, however, that is not the case. Because for different areas of knowledge, one or multiple WOK will be more likely to lead to truth. You cannot say that ‘Reason’ will be the most likely to lead to truth for all AOK, since for history, one cannot define historical events by only basing things off of prior knowledge.
In conclusion, the concept of truth differs for different areas of knowledge, just as the ways of knowing differ too. For each area, there will be a few ways of knowing that are more likely than other to lead to truth, but there is no one way of knowing that can be the most likely than others to lead to truth in all areas of knowledge.
word count: 655