950 words - 4 pages

The Truth of Skepticism

Skepticism, in the context of this paper, is defined as the proposition that there is an inherent inability to absolutely and perfectly have knowledge of the truth of a particular object, hence there is no proof a truth exists for any object. An argument that skepticism is true sets out to establish the subjectivity and imperfection in the gathering and analysis of empirical data about an object. What skepticism is not is the denial that absolute truths exist about any object. Rather, skepticism is the denial of the assertion that it can be proven that absolute truths exist about any object . Hence, the goal of defending skepticism is to illustrate the quantitative and qualitative accuracy limitations inherent in empirical observations as well as the perceptive distortions in such observations. More succinctly we'll be showing that:

(1) We learn of an object through empirical observations.

(2) Empirical observations are inherently inaccurate and subjective.

(3) We can never learn an object with perfect and objective accuracy and, hence, truly know the truth of an object.

For definition, let quantitative analysis be the measurement of an object: its height, its mass, its volume, etc. Quantitative analysis is a tool for gaining empirical evidence about an object to gain knowledge of it; that is, to know a truth about that object. However, quantitative measurements are done with a degree of precision. Precision is the degree of closeness to a true value. Precision, and the limitations of precision, are so ingrained in scientific research that values are measured by 'significant digits'. For lack of tools capable of perfect measurement, researchers decide how much inaccuracy, or lack of the 'true' quantity, will be acceptable for their purposes.

For example, let us evaluate pi – an irrational number. By definition, an irrational number is one that cannot be expressed as a ratio. While its utility is not being called into question, its introduction in an equation necessarily makes any quantitative analysis utilizing it inexact. Hence, one cannot know the absolute truth of the circumference of an object and, therefor, the exact truth of the object being measured. Furthermore, absolute shapes of objects defy existence. Matter, at a molecular level, is not smooth. Electron orbits and the angle of bonding in molecules make necessarily non-smooth shapes. What might appear as a perfect ball or square to human observation, or high precision tools, is not. Therefore, even removing irrational numbers from measurements will not afford the exact 'true' measurement of an object. Likewise, there are inherent flaws in qualitative analysis.

Let us define qualitative analysis, for purposes of this paper, as the empirical observations of an object pertaining to its distinctive attributes and characteristics. Such attributes could include color, texture, abrasiveness, reflectiveness, etc. For example, a tennis ball would be green,...

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