There are eight different ways of knowing: emotion, memory, imagination, sense perception, intuition, reason, faith, and language. However, none of them are more likely than others to lead to truth. Then what is ‘truth’?
Aristotle once stated that truth is “To say of what is that it is not, or of what is not that it is, is false, while to say of what is that it is, and of what is not that it is not, is true”. Aristotle defined truth as the ‘fact itself’. For example, calling a red object “red”, and calling a non-red object “not red” is the truth. Therefore, when we say something is true, it is aligning with the facts.
However, if the different ways of knowing are a step to get closer to the ‘fact’, the truth cannot be discovered as the different ways of knowing can be manipulated, ultimately distorting the ‘fact’. For example, in 1974, Loftus and Palmer conducted a car crash study. During this study, 45 students were shown videos of car crashes with the critical question, “About how fast were the cars going when they hit each other?” The verb ‘hit’ was replaced with ‘smashed’, ‘collided’, ‘bump’, and ‘contacted’ for different participants. Those who were asked with ‘smashed’ averaged the mean speed of 40.8 mph and those who were asked with ‘contacted’ averaged the mean speed of 31.8 mph. Then what was the true speed of the cars? It cannot be known as the manipulation of language distorted the ‘fact’ despite all the participants viewing the same videos. Another example is the manipulation of memory. Leading questions can easily influence people to recall false details, and questioners can create an entirely new memory by repeatedly asking insistent questions. Then how do we solely trust our memory to discover the truth when constructed memories feel like accurate memories, facts, to the person recalling them? Lastly, another example is faith. Faith can often blind people from the ‘facts’. During World War II, Nazis were faithful towards Hitler and considered Jewish people to be inferior. To the Nazi Party, the notion of Jewish people being inferior was their truth. Therefore, when the ways of knowing work solely, none of them are more likely than others to lead to truth.
In other words, when the different ways of knowing work together, they can lead to truth. For example, during station 5 for the ways of knowing station activity, we used our reasoning, memory, and imagination. We would use our memory of animals that we have seen and reason with the photographs of the skulls by asking questions such as do domestic cats have teeth that big? Through this method, most of our drawings matched the true animals. Therefore, when the ways of knowing align with each other, it can lead to the truth.
I believe that the ways of knowing cannot be ranked as more superior or inferior to each other as isolation of the ways of knowing can cause manipulation. However, when they work together, they are likely to lead to the truth.