"That which is accepted as knowledge today is sometimes discarded tomorrow."
Until 1900, human knowledge doubled approximately every century. Post-WWII, it doubled every 25 years. It now appears to grow exponentially. This has resulted in the revision of the information previously thought of as knowledge. This raises these knowledge issues: if knowledge that is accepted today is sometimes discarded tomorrow, and the aim of the natural sciences is to provide the complete objective truth, can science ever achieve this aim? And in the study of history, is information that is considered to be true in the past still useful, and can and should knowledge ever be ‘discarded’?
2500 years ago, Plato defined knowledge as a true justified belief. This condition of ‘true justified belief’ must be met to consider information as knowledge. However, this definition is problematic because it is obstructed by Gettier problems (situations in which someone has a belief that is concurrently true and evidenced, but yet fails to be knowledge). These are situations in which the above conditions were seemingly met but that many philosophers disagree that anything is known. There are differences in opinion for what is meant by justification, and what amount of justification is sufficient for one to believe that it is true.
According to science, the stronger and more valid the justification, the more likely it is that a knowledge claim is true. Thus, the scientific method evolved, to provide the highest level of certainty. It is often presumed that the objective of science is to provide certain objective knowledge, but we can see that that’s impossible. How can science reconcile itself to with problem, when what science aims for is certainty?
The scientific method begins with observations that can be built into a universal theory that can be used for predictions. However, it is imperfect. Since perceive events based on prior beliefs, emotions, intuitions, intelligence, schemas and other factors, we make theoretical assumptions and presuppositions that cause a dilution in objectivity. Furthermore, there are sensory limitations that limit us from observing the true nature of our surroundings. However, technology is a great aid for scientists to get around this, though there are still missed observations.
Science relies on induction. Generalizations are made based on recorded observations. Once enough observations are made we assume that the sequence of events in the future will occur as it always has in the past. Deductions on the other hand, conclude with a certain answer depending on the truth of the premise. Therefore, scientific observations are based on probability, which makes absolute certainty impossible (as demonstrated by David Hume ). Therefore, the obtaining of the complete objective truth cannot be verified.
Despite this, the use of induction is justified because the predictions have been noticeably rewarding. Induction is based on a...