Forms Teach Us Nothing About The Physical World Essay

Forms Teach Us Nothing About The Physical World Essay.

To what extent is it true to say that the forms teach us nothing about the physical world? (15 marks)

There is an ongoing debate as to whether Plato’s Theory of Forms truly teaches us anything about the physical or empirical world, with many scientists and philosophers throughout history having very contrasting views. Throughout this essay I will lay down both arguments for and against the above statement and evaluate the outcome.

Aristotle, although the student of Plato, had a very different outlook on the theory of physical and universal forms.

He is well known to have provided one of the most famous criticisms of The Forms in his ‘Third Man Argument’. He derived that if a man is a copy of the ‘Form of Man’ and that every object in the physical world has a copy in the World of Forms; there therefore must be a copy of the copy of the ‘Form of Man’. This creates two questions: Is the man in the physical realm simply a copy of the Form of Man? Or is the man a duplicate of the copy of the copy of the Form of Man? This paradox relinquishes the Theory of Forms as apparently meaningless.

Aristotle also undertook a more empirical analysis, emphasising that observation comes first and abstract reasoning second. Plato would argue that instances of for example beauty only exist because they partake in the universal Form of Beauty. However, Aristotle would argue that universal concepts of beauty procure from instances of beauty if this world, the physical world. He believed that we only arrive at the conclusion of beauty by observing particular instances of it, for example a sunset, or a beautiful woman. Deriving from this theory he deduced that beauty has no existence beyond the concept we build from these instances, from the sunset or the woman, and that without these exemplars beauty has no existence. This accentuates the concept of particulars coming before universals and forms, with particular insistence on observation. Due to this, Aristotle has long been considered one of the first to develop the idea of scientific method.

This idea of scientific method and observation links to that of Dawkins. He believed that any talk of a transcendent world is meaningless as there is simply no evidence to suggest such a declaration. For Dawkins, real knowledge presents itself through scientific examination of the physical world around us. However, the discovery of a quantum world and its physics has placed this empirical outlook under scrutiny. The quantum world is that of astoundingly small forms of matter, much smaller than atom, and questions our understanding of the physical world.

This is presented in evidence of laws that govern the world of atoms upwards (in size), not always applying to the quantum world. Although the quantum world could still be considered that of the physical realm (we know of its existence), its discovery implies that what we see may not be a truly accurate depiction of the world. If we cannot uncover an acute demonstration of the world then we also have no argument to suggest that the World of Forms does not exist.

Kant, a rationalist, would in some sense also agree with this. He believed in the actuality of two different realities –that of sense experience (phenomenal) and that of the observed world (noumenal). Kant conceived that our idea of the world comes from the way we apprehend and elucidate the universe around us, that we experience through our five senses (touch, taste, sound, sight and smell). In contrast to this, he also contrived that the very fact we observe through these sense means we change the nature of our perception. In some comprehension this could be said to be agreeing with Plato’s separation of realities, but also illuminates empiricism’s lack of ability to provide accurate information about the world around us as we can never ‘sense’ the world as it verily is.

When concluding, to say ‘the forms teach us nothing about the physical world’, may be a controversial statement to peruse. While you could argue the existence of the World of Forms being purely the creation of Plato, that there is no proof of its existence; its actuality however cannot be disproved. Instead, as bold as this appears, rather than the forms having taught us nothing of the physical world, a more fitting statement may be that in fact we knew nothing of the physical world in the first place.

Forms Teach Us Nothing About The Physical World Essay

Know Thyself Essay

Know Thyself Essay.

When early Greek philosophers developed theories in the premodern period, they challenged many dominant assumptions of this period. Socrates and Plato were two of the most influential early philosophers who addressed the issue of the good life. For these two philosophers, the good life was an ethical life. Socrates was famous for his statement “Know thyself.” Psychologists throughout history have echoed this. Plato had some revolutionary ideas on what it means to be human. He was responsible for bringing dualism into popular thought.

This had a profound influence on religion, philosophy, and Western thought as a whole. What implications does the statement “Know thyself” have, along with other ideas of Socrates and Plato, for the process of human change? How is this related to achieving the good life?

How will this impact the evaluation of a person’s degree of living the good life?
What was Plato’s understanding of human nature?
How did dualism influence this understanding?

Be sure to support your conclusions with information drawn from the online content, the textbook, and other credible, scholarly sources to substantiate the points you are making.

Apply APA standards to for writing and citations to your work. Submit your response to the M1: Assignment 3 Dropbox by Wednesday, November 13, 2013. The paper should be 3-5 pages, double-spaced 12-point typescript, Times Roman font, with 1-inch margins all around, and free from grammatical errors. This page count includes the title page, text, and references.

In life the Socrates’ famous statement “Know thyself” has great meaning to the lives of people today. Implications certainly come with this type of statement and Socrates and Plato provide ideas of how a human can change in order to under who they really are. While many think the “good life” is reachable so many do not know how to get to that point in their lives. Plato’s own understanding of human nature introduces dualism which shows another option to living the good life.

Life has key goals in it and in order to understand a person’s purpose it has to be understood what Socrates meant when he said the statement “Know thyself”. To Socrates that meant a way of achieving the good life. His two primary points of the good life were being ethical and having self knowledge; the most important tools to have. The statement “Know thyself” has conclusions such as how one should live and what they should seek. The answers to these questions come from seeking God and pleasure and living a moral and tempered life (Argosy, 2013).

Socrates believed that humans obtain knowledge through analysis of concepts and rational process will bring objective truths. Additionally, he believed that with increase in knowledge comes increase in virtue (King, 2009). Half truths lead a person to a road of not knowing themselves fully but when they use the social, mental and physical knowledge they have together they can learn who they truly are. Human change cannot come without a person realizing a change is needed.

Plato’s beliefs were more on rational beliefs than on sensory beliefs and a theory of forms. In the theory of forms he believed souls were reincarnated into another body and the new body may still have recollections of the past body making it difficult for the soul to comprehend (King, 2009). He had his own metaphor “the eye of the soul” where he felt the world was perceived through memories, images that keeps the soul from seeing the true reality form. Also, there were three types of souls; rational, appetitive and affective. The rational is in the head, appetitive in the gut and affective in the chest. He also believed that we are all chained inside a cave unable to see the outside world because we rely on senses instead of forms but we can overcome this by escaping captivity through reason.

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Know Thyself Essay

Shared knowledge Essay

Shared knowledge Essay.

Shared knowledge, in common sense, refers to a body of knowledge that is commonly accepted or rejected by a collective organization (IB TOK guide). Personal knowledge, on the other hand, refers to a body knowledge acquired from experiences of a particular individual (IB TOK guide). Since human beings are political animals, as Aristotle aptly points out, as humans, we are born into a certain form of community or society. Being born into a society requires socialization process and this long extended period of socialization process exposes us to varying bodies of knowledge.

In this way, the body of shared knowledge seems to shape personal knowledge in a one-directional way. However, is there any possibility for personal knowledge which is basically grounded in personal experience and learning to influence and shape the shared knowledge the other way? Also, are there cases where personal knowledge is unaffected by conflicting shared knowledge?

As to the question of how shared knowledge shapes personal knowledge, in both areas of natural science and art, shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge in two different ways.

First, socialization can shape personal understanding of the world. As human beings, from infancy onward, we have to learn from others. When we need parental care, we learn greatly from parents. As we grow, sources of learning may expand to include relatives and other adults who can teach something. This socialization process often takes place in non-institutional settings.

Second, institutional learning process can affect the way individuals understand the world. As we enter the institutional learning process from elementary schools to universities, teachers and other adults who offer various lessons to help us understand and the institutions themselves in which the learning take places, offer us various lessons and materials. Since a very young age, we have learned to accept certain theories and knowledge presented to us by a very large group of people, including teachers.

The established sets of knowledge can then be used to act as a standard by which personal knowledge can be judged. In art, the institutional learning process teaches people a point of reference by which the validity of individuals’ interpretations, understanding, and analysis of an artwork can be judged. In natural science, institutional learning process also causes people to conform to a standard by which individual observations or theories can be measured.

In the fields of art, shared knowledge among established artists and specialists, whose views dominate the standard perspective of certain objects, can shape what some individual artists have of their creative activities, such as paintings and literature. The shared knowledge among established experts serves as a standard by which any new creations, new experiments, or even new theories shall be evaluated.

For instance, millions of people still crowd aroundLouvre to see Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa”. But what is so special about the painting that makes it so influential? To some extent, the painting seems to be no more than a portrait of a typical woman during the Renaissance period. However, without sophisticated understanding of the painting itself, it is very hard to provide a valid argument that the painting does not serve any value.

On the other hand, with specific reference to Leonardo da Vinci’s exquisite use of ‘ light and shadow in the paining’ and ‘ illusion of three-dimensional features through layer of transparent glazes’, many experts’ opinions came to a consensus and have since served as a standard viewpoint for many viewers. In this way, many viewers are more likely to believe in the powerful yet mysterious artwork of Leonardo da Vinci.

Similarly, my experience with George Orwell’s eminent novel, 1984, explains how shared knowledge acts as the standard view, which can affect individual’s understanding of this fiction in particular and art in general. When I first encountered George Orwell’s 1984,I struggled to read it because I did not understand the ideology and purpose of cruelty and strict rules in a society. In fact, I thought that the book was a portrayal of a mere imagination of one’s own world. However, after learning about the historical context of the literature from online and history books, I came to appreciate how the author cleverly set up the novel to portray a totalitarian regime existing after the World War II and that the purpose of the novel was to critique potential dangers of living under such regime. In this way, my initial personal knowledge was shaped by the established and shared knowledge by relevant experts in literature.

In natural science, shared knowledge also acts as a reference point or the standard by which any scientist’s research outcome will be measured.  For example, Rene Prosper Blondlot, a French physicist, once claimed to have discovered a new type of radiation called N-ray. Through a series of unconventional experiments, which requires using prisms to refract N-ray, he asserted that all substances except for green wood emit N-rays. However, when another physicist, Robert W. Wood, failed to replicate the experiment, scientific community rejected Blondlot’s discovery of N-ray and concluded that the discovery was a mere “self-induced visual hallucination”.

Because scientists believe that science should be infallible and that every experiment should conform to the conventional methods, Blondlot’s seemingly significant discovery was taken to be unacceptable. Had scientists anticipated misguided notion in the existing body of knowledge, they may have considered Blondlot’s experiment favorably, thus taking a significant step towards advancement in the fields of science. In this light, this explicates the way in which shared knowledge is so influential that it acts as a point of reference by which personal knowledge is accepted or otherwise.

However, should personal knowledge remain passive, only subject to the dictates of shared knowledge, especially the shared knowledge among specialists? Isn’t there any way that the opposite case where personal knowledge in fact shapes shared knowledge, especially the shared knowledge of the science or art? The history of biology and art tells otherwise. When the standard view or the frame set by the scientific community becomes ineffective and unconvincing in comparison with what the alternative theory presents, then the personal knowledge may shape shared knowledge the other way.

Once, Louis Pasteur was certain that it was airborne bacteria that cause contamination of food. Unfortunately, the scientific community, which had strongly believed in Aristotle’s spontaneous generation, immediately rejected Pasteur’s theory. However, strongly believing that spontaneous generation is invalid, Pasteur devised a more conclusive experiment by bringing in the two different test tubes filled with nutritious broth- one was straight necked and the other had curved neck.

He observed consistent results in this experiment and, based on such evidence and the use of deductive reasoning, he proved that the cause of the contamination of the nutritious broth was airborne bacteria. The volume of data and accuracy of the results produced by Pasteur made Pasteur’s theory more valid than the prevailing theory of spontaneous generation. In the end, having found that Pasteur’s theory is more convincing in explaining the existing body of knowledge on the nature of bacteria, the scientific community decided to accept his theory to replace Aristotle’s long held theory of spontaneous generation.

Language in some parts of art, such as music, is very difficult to communicate in one universal manner, since music involves subjective feelings and interpretations, a new interpretation and a new way of expressing some feelings are extensively practiced in music. The history of music tells much about the nature or direction of relationship between shared knowledge and personal knowledge. The sense of this history is that there is no fixed or one-directional relationship between the two. Rather, the supposed relationship between the shared knowledge among experts and personal knowledge is bi-directional, mutually influencing and shaping each other.

My personal experience vindicates this mutual bidirectional nature of knowledge. I had been studying the Expressionist music, in preparation for a music examination. Because communication of emotions was very hard, I could not fully comprehend Beethoven’s 4th symphony only by reading textbooks about Expressionist music. Especially, I could not comprehend how musical techniques, such as forte, function to give out a specific feeling of ‘grandiloquence’.

However, after listening to the music, a sensation quickly filled my heart and I could instantly understand Beethoven’s intention for writing this specific piece of music. The emotion was ineffable, but the established facts and specific musical effects described in textbooks started to make sense, after hearing the music. In music, when emotion and imagination are to be in demand, the personal knowledge interacts with the shared knowledge to make more sense of an understanding of the music.

Knowledge is an inclusive term. Knowledge refers to acquired understanding and awareness of some facts, information, and skills (Webster). In order to obtain a certain level of understanding, one must go through diverse ways of knowing. If the process of obtaining the knowledge is grounded in personal experience and learning, the knowledge is very personal. However, in order to judge the validity of the personal knowledge gained from such diverse ways of knowing, shared knowledge is needed. Thus, it is evident that shared knowledge and personal knowledge are interdependent.

Bibliography

“Knowledge.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster. Web. 5 Nov. 2014.

Shared knowledge Essay

Plato Vs Aristotle Theory Of Knowledge Essay

Plato Vs Aristotle Theory Of Knowledge Essay.

The theory of knowledge (Epistemology) is the philosophical study of the nature, scope and limitation of what constitutes knowledge, its acquisition and analysis. The fundamental issue that remains unsolved in epistemology is the definition of knowledge. Philosophers are divided on this issue with some analyzing it as justified true beliefs while others differ and say that justified true belief does not constitute knowledge. The objective of this paper is to compare and contrast Plato and Aristotles theories of knowledge.

Platos theory of knowledge

Before Plato, there were some other philosophers that had made some remarks about the theory of knowledge especially Socrates.

However, Plato has been credited with the origin of the theory of knowledge as it was found in his conversations. His theory of knowledge closely intertwined with his theory of forms (ideas), envisaged that there were two essential characteristics of knowledge.

Knowledge must be certain and infallible.

Knowledge must have as its object that which is genuinely real as contrasted with that which is an appearance only, that which is fully real must be fixed, permanent and unchanging- in the realm of being as opposed to that which is in the realm of becoming(physical)

Consequently, he completely rejects imperialism on the account that knowledge does not arise from sensory experience.

In his arguably best publication, Thaeatetus, Plato explores the question, what is Knowledge much more ardently than in any of his other works. In this dialogue involving Socrates and the young man named after the text, the dialogue turns aporetic because it ends at an impasse. What the dialogue inferred in the beginning is that knowledge is perception. This is evidently not true because it would be impossible to attribute knowledge to perception without a semantic structure and hence it would be impossible to state it.

Perception only describes one quality of a given type of knowledge that is available only to the vision. Based on the tripartite theory of knowledge, which analyses knowledge as a justified true belief, Thaeatetus believes that knowledge structured semantically from sensory impressions, is possible. Plato rejects this notion arguing that there is no way to explain how sensations concatenated, is organizable into a semantics structure. In response to the definition of knowledge as true judgment with an account, he uses the Dream Theory to explain how semantic structures can arise from perceptions, just as the mind creates logical constructs, which have meaning in a dream (Chappell, 2005).

Because this view fails to give an account of how the logical construction takes place in the first place, Socrates objects. In essence, the failure to differentiate between what is knowledge and from true belief about knowledge only adds to identify a diagnostic quality of knowledge. Because there is s problem of how to identify knowledge, then it also follows that there will be a problem in how to identify the diagnostic quality of knowledge. This regression makes Thaeatetus conclude that we cannot define knowledge. A very interesting point emerges in Platos remarks at the end of the dialogue, bringing into focus the concept of understanding and the role of wisdom in enabling us to even start considering that perhaps we only begin having true belief and about what knowledge is when we actually understand anything (Chappell, 2005).

The allegory of the cave

In the allegory of the cave, Plato compares people untrained in the Theory of Forms to prisoners in a cave, chained to the wall with no possibility of turning their heads. With fire burning behind them, they can only see the wall of the cave and the shadows of the puppets placed between them and the fire (Platos Cave, n.d). The prisoners are unable to fathom that the shadows they see and the echoes they hear are a reflection of real objects, behind them. The Allegory of the cave summarizes most of Platos views and philosophical thoughts. His central tenet, the belief that the world available to our senses is only a reflection (a poor imitation) of the real world, of which the real one can only be intellectually grasped, is synonymous to his theory of forms, which exalted the world of ideas (form) above the world of senses (matter).

It is therefore easy to mistake appearance for reality, based on what the prisoners in the cave experience they easily refer to the shadows using the names of the real objects that the shadows reflect. In this way, Plato tries to show that our knowledge is only a reflection of the real ideas in our minds. He maintained that what is seen on the earth is an imitation of the real thing. The prisoners, by looking at the shadows may learn what a book is but this does not enable them to claim that it refers to an object, which they have seen. Likewise, we need the physical objects in order to enable us acquire concepts. However, it would be a mistake to imagine the concepts same as the things we see (Platos Cave, n.d).

Plato concludes that men Begin to understand reality by being out in the full glare of the Sun (out of the cave). He gives an illustration of a more true reality of the road and the images of people passing along it. These he explains are perceptions that present the immediately apparent reality of shadows upon the wall and the conceptual recognition that the images being carried are not as real as the variously motivated people carrying them.

Aristotle

Aristotle theory of knowledge was based on his strong belief in Logic. He developed the principles of reasoning. He argued that the possibility of error forces the mind to determine the truth validity of a given statement. This meant the intellect must have adequate reasons, which can ensure the proposed judgment conforms to reality. He believed that such reasons, were the foundation of perfect knowledge, perfect knowledge being knowledge through causes.

Aristotle devised a method of leading the mind to correct reasoning (syllogism) which is a structure of two statements (premises) which follow from each other and a conclusion necessarily drawn from the two above. He developed the first principle of reasoning which was the principle of no-contradiction where he stated that something could not be and be at the same time in the same manner (Adventures in Philosophy, n.d).

Aristotle differed with Plato in his theory of Knowledge. He believed that experience showed that individual substances exist and a predicated of the substance and that an individual is not produced by some idea or model, as opposed to what Plato thought, but by fellow individuals of the same species.

His theory of knowledge was based on empirical evidence as opposed to Plato who was an idealist. Aristotle believed that first there had to be an individual who through germ or seed was able to reproduce another one hence, the seed in the individual would be in potency form because of its capacity to become an individual in future.

To make this possible matter (substratum) where this seed with potency could develop under the right conditions was needed. It was supposed to remain unchangeable but perform its function. Aristotle believed that only individuals could be referred to as beings in the full sense of the word. Every individual was a compound of matter and form.

Matter was the indeterminate element, which was unchanging, and Form (potency) was the force and power shaping and developing the individual. This he called active potency. Every form, because it possessed some actual determination of matter, was also called act. Therefore the Human being development analysis was designated as comprising matter (substratum), form (determining element), potency (both active and passive), and act.

By giving an example of an artist, Aristotle explains how ideas in the mind of an artist become a work of art in the physical world- his classical example, the piece of marble, which becomes a sculpture through the work of the artist. The marble though it has shape and form (in passive potency), loses it to become a sculpture which was only an idea in the mind of the artist. Aristotle thus identifies the four important causes, the efficient cause- the work of artist. The material cause- the organic matter (marble), the formal cause when the two meet and the final cause which is the finished product-perfection.

From the combination of the above four, he summarizes the idea of Form in the development of the individual. Making form the … propelling, organizing and final principle of becoming.

The individual therefore has both matter and form, even though God, the immovable mover was only form.

Plato Vs Aristotle Theory Of Knowledge Essay

Global skepticism Essay

Global skepticism Essay.

Descartes defined global skepticism as all of our experiences, thoughts and everything we know to be true as dubious and deceptive. Therefore we are constantly being deceived and what we perceive to be true may not be true at all. In this essay I will attempt to show how Descartes’s dreaming argument and evil demon argument justifies global scepticism and which of the two is a stronger and more convincing argument.

According to Descartes, we rely on our senses to determine what is most true and many of the decisions we make are based on our senses and feelings.

However, our senses can deceive us, so what’s not to say that our senses are not deceiving us all of the time. Or if what our senses tell us is supposedly true most of the time, how are we able to differentiate between when we are being deceived and when we are not? Bearing this in mind it is safe to say that if our senses can deceive us, even once, it is unwise to trust and rely on them.

(Descartes, _Introduction to Philosophy,_ 2009)

We then have to ask ourselves that if we cannot trust our senses, what can we rely on and trust to not deceive us. We should then take into consideration the fact that even though our senses can be deceptive, more often than not we can rely on them. Therefore we should still trust our senses but at the same time remain weary of the risk of possible deception.

This brings us to the evil demon argument. What if our senses, thoughts, instincts, perceptions and everything that we believe to supposedly be true has been deliberately placed in our minds by some evil entity that has manipulated us into believing those things? According to Descartes’s argument, it is possible that we are being controlled by an evil demon that has deceived us into believing everything that we have come to know as being true: from sunset to sunrise; going to sleep at night and waking up the next morning, to every other aspect of our lives and our knowledge of the world as we’ve come to know it. (Descartes, _Introduction to Philosophy,_ 2009)

If we believe God to be the creator of life itself, is it possible that he could also be controlling all human life according to the way he thinks it should be? And if he is in fact controlling all life itself, is it safe to say that the evil demon and God could be one in itself? Could God in fact be the reason behind the chaotic state that the world is in today? This would go against everything that we’ve believed God to be. Therefore one would think that perhaps the evil demon and God are two entirely separate entities that are counteracting each other. Yet if the evil demon has total control of all human life, it implies that the evil demon is greater than God, which is impossible since there is nothing greater than God.

So perhaps there really is no evil demon and everything that we have experienced was never real to begin with. This brings us to Descartes’s dreaming argument. Like the evil demon argument, the dreaming argument also states that we are being deceived into believing what we know to be true, or rather what we know to be real.

According to our knowledge, we know when we are dreaming and when we are awake and therefore can differentiate between dreaming and reality. Dreams are incoherent and we are unable to control the occurrences within our dreams, which is why we know when we are dreaming. So when we wake up, we know that we are no longer asleep and dreaming and are once again in reality. However, according to Descartes’s argument we could be having one long coherent dream that we are unaware of and have yet to wake up from. (Descartes, _Introduction to Philosophy,_ 2009)

If this is true, or even possible, we then have to ask ourselves when or if we will ever wake up from this dream. Will everything we have come to know as real turn out to be an illusion or something that our own imaginations have conjured up as being part of this never ending dream. One then has to wonder what will happen if we were to wake up and discover that everything we have seen and felt, all the knowledge that we have acquired, the way we have lived our lives, was never real.

Is it possible to have a dream within a dream? To fall asleep, when according to the argument, we are constantly sleeping? Or perhaps that is simply our interpretation, due to the fact that in order for someone to dream, they need to be asleep. Does this mean that up to this point, if all our experiences have been part of this long, coherent dream, that we have been asleep for our entire lives? And if this is true, what happens when we die and our lives have come to an end? Is our death the time that we finally wake up from the dream? If we are dreaming, who is controlling that dream? Is every dream different for each individual or are they linked in some way? Is our birth a part of this dream as well?

This argument brings up many questions that cannot be answered which proves that this argument cannot be justified. If the argument itself cannot be justified, it therefore cannot be used as an argument for global scepticism.

We then come back to the evil demon argument. It is likely that the evil demon does not exist, due to the fact that even though Descartes came up with the evil demon argument, he himself did not believe in its actual existence. It is however possible to use this argument for global scepticism as unlike the dreaming argument, the evil demon argument is in fact plausible.

The evil demon deceives us into believing what it wants us to believe, while global scepticism makes one aware of the constant deception that we experience everyday. Even though according to the evil demon argument, when we think we are not being deceived, the evil demon is constantly deceiving us. The argument implies that we cannot trust our own perceptions at any time because either way, we are constantly deceived, whether we are aware of it or not. This shows that the evil demon argument can be justified and is stronger than that of the dreaming argument. It can therefore be used for global scepticism.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy, _Introduction to Philosophy_, 2009

Philosophy lecture notes

Global skepticism Essay

Philosophy of Knowledge Essay

Philosophy of Knowledge Essay.

David Hume’s “The Origin of Our Ideas and Skepticism about Causal Reasoning” states his beliefs about knowledge and his idea that we can only have relative certainty of truth. Skeptics concur that there is not enough evidence to predict the future or prove truth. In “An Argument Against Skepticism,” John Hospers argues that we can have absolute certainty because there is enough evidence from the past and from our own experiences to prove an argument to be true. Although both Hume and Hospers make strong arguments, Hospers’ philosophical beliefs on different levels of knowledge and evidence are more convincing than Hume’s concepts on knowledge and truth.

Hume’s argument is based on the idea that we can only be certain of analytical truths, such as mathematics; synthetic truths, or “matters of fact” are only and can only be probable, not truth. He believes that induction cannot be rationally justified because the premises support but do not guarantee the conclusion to the argument.

Hume states that through experience, people assume that the future will represent the past, and that similar things will be coupled with similar qualities.

Skeptics, like Hume, believe it is not an absolute truth that the sun will rise every day; it is merely supposed that history will repeat itself. If there is any suspicion that nature will change, experience becomes useless in predicting the future. Hume questions why we should accept the uniformity of nature, and anyone who argues this point is said to be “begging the question.” He comes to the conclusion that there is no real evidence to prove that inductive arguments are true or false, and accepting them is just routine but can’t be justified.

Hospers believes that because there are different amounts of evidence needed to find certain truths, there are different levels of knowledge. In daily life, we use the weak sense of know, and therefore we do not need absolute proof. Why should people be so skeptical of propositions that are not relevant to everyday life? Hospers also poses an argument to Hume’s idea that synthetic truths are probable and can never be actual truths. Hospers believes that an argument that has a probable conclusion can become a certainty, or truth, if evidence permits it. He argues that these “matters of fact” are probable until time and evidence make them certainties.

Because we use the “weak sense of know” in our everyday lives, why wouldn’t we accept the uniformity of nature, and the idea that the past outlines the future? The sun will rise everyday in my lifetime, because it always has, and there’s no logical reason that it would cease to do so. If, as far as we know, nature’s past has always shown a vision of nature’s future, there is no reason to be skeptical about it.

Hume’s point that induction cannot be justified makes sense but is arguable. If the premises support but do not guarantee the conclusion to the argument, it can still be easily justified with little evidence. Hospers’ view on the amount of evidence needed to prove that something will happen in the future, is much more reasonable and realistic in everyday life.

Philosophy of Knowledge Essay