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What do I know for sure, and how do I know it?

Hi, my name is Sunny. Iโ€™m a 16-year-old girl from Korea. I like music, bubble tea, and windy days


What I know for certain can be classified into 3 classes: true by definition, knowledge from experience, and self-awareness.


First, the definition of something will always be true, because it was made up by us humans. For example, I know for certain that one second is the โ€œunperturbed ground-state hyperfine transition frequency of the Caesium 133 atomโ€ (NPL). Even if the definition of it changes, one second will be one second โ€“ regardless of the value of it โ€“ because scientists defined it to be that way. It is also the case for me: I am 16 years old and from Korea because humans invented the idea of years and nations.


On the contrary, instead of being determined by us, knowledge from experience is the result of our interactions with the past and the outside world. For example, the sun, that has been rising for the past few millennia, will probably rise again tomorrow morning, but there also is a possibility, albeit minuscule, that it will not rise. The only thing I know is that the sun has the possibility of rising. Similarly, right now I know that I like music, bubble tea, and windy days, but I may not in one day, one year, or one decade. I only know that events have a possibility โ€“ some greater than others โ€“ of happening, but not for certain that they will happen.


Lastly, the last truth comes from inside. Some of these facts are true only to me. For example, seeing $40 in my wallet, some may say I am poor, and others rich. However, if I think Iโ€™m rich, the truth to me is that I am rich. It is a matter of perspective โ€“ my perspective. Self-awareness also questions physical existence: we may be brains in containers. If this is the case, how do I know I exist? To this, I borrow the words of Descartes, โ€œCogito, ergo sumโ€. Even if the physical is an illusion, the fact that I am currently thinking is irrefutable.


  1. I like how you categorized knowledge into three different classes with solid explanation. One question that popped into my mind is, to what extent do you agree with Socrates statement, “Know thyself”?

  2. Wow, Sunny! This was so fun to read. I actually never thought about “self- awareness”. Reading this made me think- how do we know, or where do those perspective come from? I’m currently thinking it comes from our values, beliefs, experiences, etc. what do u think?

  3. I am sincerely impressed how you could explain this question concisely with impressive points.

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