Essay on The Concepts of Belief, Certainty, and Knowledge

1942 Words Apr 13th, 2013 8 Pages
TOK Essay
Jeana Joy Tan

Belief has been described as “certainty about what cannot be seen”. Does this statement hold true any, some or all areas of knowledge?

Over the years, philosophers have tried to grapple with the concepts of belief, certainty and knowledge. Despite numerous controversial claims and arguments that come from both sides, we have yet to come upon a general consensus. However, the contention here is that belief can contribute to all areas of knowledge.

Even though belief can be associated with all areas of knowledge, it is a complex concept that exists in different degrees and preconditions. Therefore not all kinds of beliefs can contribute to knowledge as there are certain limitations we need to be
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This is a reasonable belief and we can therefore conclude that he has now attained knowledge. This explanation can also be illustrated using the education system itself. Every day, students go through the same mundane activities in school; they sit in classrooms and listen to endless lectures that range from the sciences to arts. Do they question the teacher’s knowledge of which is imparted to them and insist that the teacher provide substantial evidence to the reliability of the source of their information? Most often not, as this would be rather ridiculous. Though we should not abandon the inquisitive mind, we can’t expect our teachers to take us to the volcanoes to believe that volcanic eruptions are real nor can we expect to be taken back in time to witness the Civil War to believe that it happened.

One can also attain knowledge through reason. In our daily lives, we are constantly using reason to gain a deeper insight into the immediate evidence of our senses. Reason is a powerful source of knowledge as it gives us certainty about what cannot be seen and is rationalism’s fundamental philosophy of life. To be able to reason based on a logical and rational premise is crucial to arriving at a conclusion that serves its purpose of increasing our knowledge. Rationalists like René Descartes are particularly impressed with areas of knowledge such as logic and mathematics,…