To What Extent Can One Truly Know Anything? Essay

To What Extent Can One Truly Know Anything? Essay

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To what extent can one truly know anything? The ideal of knowledge and the extent of which one can posse has been a controversial point debated by numerous philosophers over a period of time. Beginning in the 17th century, traditional ideas were questioned by the new beginnings of science. Although many of the accomplishments during this Scientific Revolution were in astronomy and mechanics, very significant advances along the borders of knowledge were also taking place. The revival of skepticism, the view that we lack knowledge in some fundamental way, had many philosophers seeking answers. Rene Descartes, whom many consider the father of modern philosophy, sought to kill the ideology of skepticism for good. He believed in the rationalism and certainty principle: If he perceives something clearly and distinctly, he must know it with certainty. Following Descartes, later in the 18th century, David Hume also sought to seek answers regarding the ideology of skepticism. However, his epistemology dismisses Descartes principles and instead, he adopts his own theories which counters the ideas of his of predecessor, and casts a different view on the levels of certainty humans can obtain. He argued human truth, causality and certainty is always in some way, an assumption. Skepticism, however, should be embraced because we lack full knowledge and can never be absolutely certain of theories, conceptions and understandings of the unknown.
According to Descartes, we each contain within ourselves the principle for truth
and knowledge. He believed that the responsibility of obtaining knowledge rests on the individual. Descartes believed that in order to obtain knowledge, there must be a rational method for reaching the truth, and the use of th...


... middle of paper ...


...ced because we lack full knowledge and can never be absolutely certain of theories, conceptions and understandings of the unknown.
Thus, skepticism is a concept that causes much concern and controversy to philosophers. The idea of if and how much knowledge an individual can posse is a topic that stirs much discussion. Whether you approach the topic like Descartes, who did not want to believe in skepticism, and believed in the rationalism and certainty principle or you had more of a Hume approach of radical skepticism, due to causality and lack of certainty, both offered strong arguments. I personally have concluded skepticism should be embraced because we lack full knowledge and can never be absolutely certain of theories, conceptions and understandings of the unknown. However, the demand for certainty is still an open-ended conversation that foresees no end.




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