Pursuit Of Knowledge Essay

1671 words - 7 pages

To a large extent in several cases, doubt can be considered heavily influential in the pursuit of obtaining knowledge. In order to construct a balanced answer to this question, a stringent assessment of several key terms should be undertaken. The term ‘Doubt’ can be defined as a feeling of hesitation in regards to the legitimacy of something which is alleged. A ‘key’ can be considered a tool that enables access to a further advanced place of meaning, in this instance, knowledge. The profound figure, Rene Descartes, who is often credited as being the ‘Father of Modern Philosophy’ branded the ‘mind’s existence’ as being the only absolute certainty in the universe. Descartes arrived at this conclusion through rational doubt. When an element of doubt is inherited a motive is thereby created as means to determine whether or not the proposed piece of information is actually truthful or not. Nevertheless, whether ‘doubt’ is representative of ‘the key’ by authenticating or assisting our prevalent pursuit of knowledge or whether it is in fact a constraining deterrent on our thirst for knowledge is dependent on the specific aspect of knowledge under examination. For the proverb in question, I will be assessing History and the natural sciences. Within these areas of knowledge there are numerous examples in which ‘accurate’ information has been divulged through scepticism, namely; theoretical developments within the natural sciences as well as revision historical revelations. The Persian proverb takes a definitive stance as ‘the’ sole ‘key’ to knowledge, however this claim should be challenged as in many cases, doubt is merely a tool in the acquisition of knowledge.

An immediate contradiction to the Persian proverb is the idea that certainty is a plausible ‘key’ to knowledge; this alternate theory implies that, in time ‘knowledge’ has been accumulated ‘through cumulative segments of certainty. Isaac Newton exemplified this theory when he said "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." When a theory is proposed, it is usually the result of questioning the basis of knowledge; the initial knowledge has since been supplemented to. Evolution as a theory hasn’t been adequately disproven; it has however been modified and further developed. For example, the development of genetic knowledge and cell theory as intricate components of the evolutionary theory were mechanisms that Darwin couldn’t have been aware of, due to the astutely inferior technological equipment that he had access to. This theory argues that certainty, rather than doubt is a ‘key’ to knowledge.

Highly accredited philosopher Karl Popper said that “a scientific law is conclusively falsifiable although it is not conclusively verifiable.” , otherwise put; in order to verify a theory or thesis, to obtain genuine knowledge in natural science, one must ultimately doubt the theory or thesis and do his/her utmost to disprove it, only after considering every...

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