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How Do We Know Things: Discussion

People can be completely mistaken concerning many things we are surrounded by; this fact can be explained by human memory lapses and delusion. The investigation of human thoughts and knowledge is considered to be the basic principle of epistemology study. The science is focused on the issue of people’s differentiation between real facts, truth and falsehood. A great number of well known philosophers and thinkers devoted their sturdy to the issues of epistemology trying to depict their personal vision of things perception.

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Diving into the history of philosophical study it is important to stress that physical science managed to identify the principle elements used by human beings as the basic knowledge sources:

  • Intuition (covering immediate cognition);
  • Sensory Data (information provided through senses);
  • Reason (covering analytical and logical thinking).

Immanuel Kant devoted his study to the main question “how do we know the things”. He stated that the position of rationalists and imperialists as to the issue depict the thoughts and ideas being close to reality. His theory of Truth discloses the idea that people are aware of things around with particular certainty and the human knowledge cannot be identified through experience or truth only. Kant supported the idea that we know the things through unchanging structure of human mind. All the things in the world should be perceived in accordance with substance, effect, reality and possibility. (Epistemology: Kant and Theories of Truth. 2005)

Plato, an outstanding philosopher and great thinker, developed his own theory devoted to the nature and source of knowledge. The true knowledge lies in believe bringing the true proposition. It is important to note that one can hardly accept this theory as belief is not enough to have the true knowledge about the facts happening around.

Taking into account the theory of empiricism, the knowledge about the things can be received only through the definite experience, so the knowledge about the things comes after experience; while according to rationalism theory the knowledge can be got before the experience though it cannot be proved. Both views touched the aspect of experience which is really an integral part of knowledge though this issue is not the basic in our understanding of reality. (Cline, 2001)

The real knowledge being perceived by the humanity was clearly identified by Edmund Gettier. His theories were considered to be dominant in the epistemology science. The great thinker stated that every belief should be firmly justified in this or that situation experienced by human beings. The truth of the things can be reached through justifications provided by experience, and the experience should transfer the truth of the facts. This idea can be perceived as the one being close to life; people usually confirm their knowledge on life experience and some cases faced in life. Complete and definite approval of the facts and knowledge can be perceived as the truth about the things got in the world. (Gettier, 1963)

The science of epistemology was studied by many philosophers throughout previous centuries in order to reflect the knowledge of getting the reality. It should be noted that the theory provided by Gettier appeared to be the most appropriate for personal understanding of truth and reality. The knowledge received by people should be followed by facts and justified through experience stating and proving its reality.

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Epistemology: Kant and Theories of Truth. Intro to Philosophy. 2005. Web.

Cline, Austin. What is Epistemology: Philosophy of Truth. NY, 2001.

Gettier, Edmund. Is Justified True Belief Knowledge? Vol. 23, 1963.

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