Are some ways of knowing more likely than others to lead to truth?
Reason is the more likely way of knowing to lead to truth. The definition of truth is one of the most ambiguous and difficult to communicate definition in philosophy. Apart from the fact that individuals have different understandings of truth founded on different philosophical positions and ways of knowing, the difference in logical and linguistic ways is also an important factor. In exploring the relationship between the eight existing ways of knowing and truth, the definition of truth is supposed to be that people’s correct understanding of the essence and law of objective existences. Cognition accords with objective reality is truth.
Some arguments stated that perception is the way that humans relied on most significantly and frequently, and therefore, it is the most suitable way of knowing that should be adopted if individuals are seeking for the truth. However, truth and objective existences are the objective materials that people know through perception. Perception is an approximate, active reflection of the truth, not an approach that can lead to truth. Truth does not depend on the individuals’ feelings but are reflected, recognized, and felt by the individual’s perception. For example, chairs are objectively produced substances that people can perceive when they sit on them, but the existence of these chairs do not change because of how people feel about them. No matter how people’s perception change, the truth and the reality will always exist regardless of the individual’s feelings.
Since the eternal truth is independent of any human thought, it is possible for reason to lead mankind to the truth of the objective existence. While the other seven ways of knowing all depend to some extent on human consciousness and thought, reason is the one that contains as diminutive personal consciousness as possible. Reason concerns the unadulterated knowledge of the nature of existences, which then develop into the individual’s own experience of existences. The experience possessed by the individual can help to make further rational judgment and analysis. Reason is the higher power of thought which is derived from all experience, and it may help human to acquire more knowledge.
Reason finds truth through persuasive arguments, and it obtains conclusions, opinions and grounds for action by logical reasoning rather than by appearances. Innate knowledge comes from pure rational thought, including concepts we are born with, such as how to breathe and logical reasoning. Individuals can only reason out the rest of knowledge by applying the principles they instinctively possessed. For example, mathematical concepts like multiplication or division cannot be perceived without a direct counterpart in the real world. Therefore, human beings need to rely on their innate knowledge and inherent logical thinking ability to reason, so as to seek the truth.
In essence, the reason is the way of knowing that is more likely to lead to truth.