Starting on my Journey towards Knowledge

One of the primary questions that the Theory of Knowledge course tries to explore is: “What do you know for sure, and how do you know it?”

I believe that we, as humans, are able know something “for sure,” only if we can corroborate it. Furthermore, It is impossible to know “for sure” social constructs simply because it is impossible to corroborate them.

My initial reaction to the question was quite simplistic and primarily focused on first part of the question:

“I know my name is Jerry, I know the Earth is round, I know that I have five fingers on each hand, I know I currently live in Beijing, China, I know… I know…. ”

These tidbits of knowledge seemed quite obvious and generally self-explanatory. However, upon further inspection, I realized that I have never even attempted to confirm most of this information, and for some of the answers, I didn’t even know how to confirm them. How do I know my name is Jerry? Well… I guess it’s because that’s the series of vocal sounds that everyone uses when referring to me. It’s the series of vocal sounds I use to refer to myself. How am I supposed to “confirm” that?

Maybe the scope of this question wasn’t intended to encompass collective social constructs because… quite simply, there is no way to corroborate them. How do I know that winged mammal is called a bird? Everyone calls it a birds. Is that enough to justify the “truthfulness” of that piece of information?

On the other hand, when I stand on a beach and look out towards the horizon, I can see the curve of the earth. When i have a pencil in my hand, I can physically feel the shape in my hands.  As humans, it is only possible to know information that one can corroborate themselves.

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Hi Jerry,
    I think so too that to make sure you know something you want to experience it youself but what if there are things that you can’t experience, then do you dont know that you actually know it?

  2. I agree with your statement that many of the things you “know” has no real confirmation. Almost everything that you know has been taught to you by other people, or something you read, or something you assumed. One thing I wondered about was what do you consider to be something you know for sure? You went into information that is impossible to corroborate but how about the information that can be corroborated?

  3. Ok – it sounds as though you are arguing against the consensus theory of truth and prioritizing empiricism. Will you accept evidence gained only through your own first-hand experience, or will you accept second-hand evidence as well? If not, your knowledge of the world will be necessarily extremely limited.

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