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THE PLACE OF KNOWLEDGE TO HUMAN EXISTENCE

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Abstract

This assessment discusses the place of knowledge to human existence. Knowledge is an abstract concept without any reference to the tangible world. According to Francis Bacon’s Theory of Ideology and Culture, “Knowledge is Power”. This assessment therefore attempts to explain “knowledge”, significance of “Knowing” by incorporating diverse interdisciplinary, multicultural perspectives on understanding of “Knowledge” and its concepts that we experience “knowingly or unknowingly”. This study also attempt to explore the place of knowledge in human existence. Cross examining the perspectives of some great philosophers like Aristotle and Russel’s on knowledge to human existence. It involves a discussion on knowledge to human existence, their differences and interdependence; reality and its manifestations in various aspects that talks about the nature of reality in general as a concept. Knowledge is a topic, widely discussed both in philosophy and in everyday life of a common man who is not aware of its principles and existing connotations. From the views of Aristotle to Russell, knowledge is the ultimate purpose and meaning of human life, and this assessment is set to establish such fact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.0 Introduction

Great philosophers like Aristotle and Russel have put forward that knowledge is the ultimate purpose and essence of human existence. For example, Aristotle claims that theoretical wisdom, that is, knowledge of the first principles and of what follows from them, “is by nature our purpose” and “is the ultimate thing for the sake of which we have come to be” (Dawkins, Richard 2006). This is the highest form of knowledge since it “is knowledge with grounding of the highest things.” Through this kind of knowledge one “not only knows what follows from the first principles,” but also possesses “truth about the first principles” (Dembski, William A. 2002). Theoretical wisdom must be pursued for its own sake and can make us free, for among the activities of our thought only “those desirable for their own sake are free” (Dummett, Michael 2001). Being knowledge of the first principles, theoretical wisdom is knowledge of God, since “God is thought to be among the causes of all things and to be a first principle” (Hume, David 1998).

The definition of knowledge is a long lingering debate among philosophers in the field of epistemology. The classical definition, described but not ultimately endorsed by Plato, specifies that a statement must meet three criteria in order to be considered knowledge: it must be justified, true, and believed. Some claim that these conditions are not sufficient, as Gettier case examples allegedly demonstrate. In Plato’s Theaetetus, Socrates and Theaetetus discuss three definitions of knowledge: knowledge as nothing but perception, knowledge as true judgment, and, finally, knowledge as a true judgment with an account. Each of these definitions is shown to be unsatisfactory. In the book “Epistemology or Theory of Knowledge” (P. Coffey) knowledge is said to be “sui generis” meaning it cannot be defined properly/sufficiently/adequately/convincingly by anything other than itself. “Knowledge” after decades of researches and debates in the same [since the time of Plato (423/428 BC-438/437 BC) till present day including contribution of, Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), Rene Descartes (1596-1650), B. Pascal (1623-1662), D. Hume (1711- 1776), I. Kant (1724-1804), F. W. Nietzsche (1844-1900), E. Gettier (1927) etc. and the postulates, teachings of the great spiritual leaders and philosophers such as Buddha, Confucius (etc. ) were of immense importance to explain the same] has been explained as “justified true belief”. Knowledge is the “awareness” and “understanding” of particular aspects of “reality”, the approach is that knowledge requires three necessary and sufficient conditions, so that knowledge can then be defined as “justified true belief”:

Truth: since false propositions cannot be known – for something to count as knowledge, it must actually be true. As famously Aristotle (but rather confusingly) expressed it: “To say of something which is that it is not, or to say something which is not that it is, is false. However, to say something which is that it is, or of something which is not that it is not, is true.

Belief: because one cannot know something that one doesn’t even believe in, the statement “I know x, but I don’t believe that x is true” is contradictory.

Justification: as opposed to believing in something purely as a matter of luck. Knowledge is itself complete, but what a person “knows” depends upon “justification”. This, in turn, is dependent upon our ability to accept and agree to things around.

What Aristotle and Russell propose as the ultimate purpose and meaning of human life is the ideal of self-liberation through knowledge: only through knowledge can humans become really free. This ideal is religious in kind, as it appears from the fact that Aristotle identifies the liberation of humans with the knowledge of God, and Russell identifies it with that union with the universe in which, in his opinion, religion consists.

1.1 The Nature of Knowledge

 

 

 

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