Ways of knowing is a term used to describe the 8 methods through which knowledge becomes apparent to humans. Truth is a subset within knowledge that stands firm and unwavering. Knowledge is subjective between minds, while knowledge stays definitive. For example, you are either reading my post right now, or you are not. If you are, then you can read English, and that’s the truth. Rigid and unmalleable. The ways of knowing help humans reach this definitive answer of truth through validating knowledge that is definite and discarding those which are not, while revisiting the previously valid and accepted truths to see if any adjustments to our boundaries between “truth” and “knowledge” is necessary. As we redefine and adjust these boundaries, we get closer and closer to the definitive and objective truth. In these assessments, multiple ways of knowing are put into practice to judge each piece of knowledge. But can one of these ways of knowing more likely lead to truth than others? Obviously, none of these ways of knowing work independently, but some ways of knowing are definitely used more than others in this verification process, such as reason, which is more reliable than other ways of knowing to approach truth.
Reason is often considered invaluable to decide whether knowledge claims, or even people, are trustworthy and valid. For example, if someone is described as “reasonable,” people tend to find this person more reliable and valid. Correct deductive reasoning can lead us to preserve the truth, and examples of this can be found in the activities that we did on the Reason Station. The logic test listed included a question that outlines this example of deductive reasoning:
A) All Men are mortal
B) I am a man
It can be logically assumed that I am mortal.
This type of thinking is what leads to absolute truths, and gives a definite answer formed out of other definite truths. Also, reason drives our search for patterns and exceptions which can be used to create models and predictions in a range of knowledge. In this sense, other ways of knowing like intuition may partially stem from Reason, as it includes observing patterns, then jumping to conclusions. On the other hand, reason is sometimes contrasted with emotion or faith, whereby in the Emotional way of knowing, emotive language and emotive arguments hinder our quest for knowledge, and in the Faithful way of knowing, preset scriptures may hinder our process of refining our boundaries between knowledge and truth to get closer to the definitive truth, and thus, are less applicable for our pursuit of truth. So, the ideal way to seek truth would be to have a method that results in knowledge that is solid but can be proven otherwise with enough evidence.
However, despite reason’s apparent strengths when it comes to knowledge production, there are limitations to knowledges obtained from reason. As G. K. Chesterton, an American Philosopher, put it simply:
“The madman is not the man who has lost his reason. The madman is the man who has lost everything but his reason.”
Stating that mysticism is truly what keeps men sane, and to pursue truth only in reason is an action fitting of a madman. This is true, as reason, such as deductive reasoning can lead us to preserve truth but does not provide a source of truth as such. Inductive reasoning can help alleviate this issue to some extent but can lead to hasty generalizations in structures and patterns, invoking a logical fallacy like the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy. The role of reason in knowledge has been debated over by multiple famous Philosophers such as Kant, Hume and Descartes, and why reason is almost always regarded as the highest form of knowing despite outrageous situations such as
being considered invalid to assume that Mary committed the murder. While yes, reason is the basis of form for science and mathematics, as stated first, it is does not work alone. It simply sits above some rigid and stubborn ways of knowing due to reason’s nature to change based on its assumed premises.
“A Quote from Orthodoxy.” Goodreads, Goodreads, www.goodreads.com/quotes/5299229-imagination-does-not-breed-insanity-exactly-what-does-breed-insanity.