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Ways of Knowing and the Truth - Essay Example

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Ways of Knowing and the Truth

This research will begin with the statement that the quest for knowledge and its acquisition since time immemorial, continues till date, because, knowledge has helped man conduct his life better and thereby empowered him in many ways. Therefore, it is not very surprising that a number of philosophers and thinkers of the past have been pre-occupied by the concept of Knowledge. While some may hold that knowledge is nothing but the truth, some others have given importance to the various branches of Knowledge and their applications, and quite a few other philosophers have pondered over the epistemology itself, regarding its sources; constituent elements; ways of acquiring knowledge, and so on. It is useful to get acquainted with epistemology. This is because human beings are surrounded in daily life by a multitude of challenges that require them to be aware of their own cultural, linguistic, financial, moral and ethical principles which influence their day-to-day decisions.  Interestingly, there has been no single, direct answer to the question “what is meant by ‘truth’?  In the New Testament, Pontius Pilate, the Roman Governor, asks Jesus Christ what the latter had done in order to be brought before him. To this Jesus refers to the concept of truth thus, implying that it - ‘Truth’ exists as an independent entity, “You … I am a king. For this reason, I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth; everyone on the side of truth listens to me;” to which Pilate questions Christ "What is the truth?"...
"Truth may perhaps come to the price of a pearl that showeth best by day; but it will not rise to the price of a diamond, or carbuncle, that showeth best in varied lights" (Bacon 1). Here Bacon too, does not deal with the concept of truth directly, but through the use of analogy of pearl. Bacon implicates that pure form truth does have its value and glow, which is compared to the subdued lustre of pearls whereas half-truths or truth when mixed with a bit of lies is more attractive, like the glitter of a diamond.
Bertrand Russell in "Truth and Falsehood" in his Problems of Philosophy, puts forward the "correspondence" theory of truth; this states that 'truth is the understanding that results from the manner in which one's belief's describe reality; and therefore, truth is "a belief is true when there is a corresponding fact, and is false when there is no corresponding fact." (cited in Reading For Philosophical Inquiry: A Brief Introduction, p. 2).
Plato initially theorized that 'knowledge' or in order 'to know' something, three conditions - called the "Conditions of Knowledge," namely a) it should be true; 2) One should consciously believe it; and 3) sufficient evidence should justify it (Southwell 4). This is referred to as the "tripartite theory of knowledge" or "knowledge" is "justified true belief" (Holt 1). There are two theories associated with the source of Knowledge: 1) Empiricism, and 2) Rationalism (Holt 1). The first theory states that knowledge gained is mainly based in experience, and second theory holds that knowledge is gained, based mainly on logical thinking and reason. Regarding the ways or means of knowing, there are four ways of knowing, given by philosophy, the nature, merits and demerits of which are worthy of discussion.
The Four ...Show more

Summary

This essay discusses the concept of ‘Truth’ and ‘Knowledge’ and then take a look at the four main ‘ways of knowing,’ their strengths and weaknesses. The paper tells that the concept of truth is abstract and there has been not single definition for what is the nature of truth.

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Ways of Knowing and the Truth essay example
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