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Sources Of Knowledge Essay

  • Submitted by: assasyn
  • on March 18, 2012
  • Category: Psychology
  • Length: 589 words

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Below is an essay on "Sources Of Knowledge" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

3.4 Sources of Knowledge
One of the perennial questions in the history of philosophy has always
been this: How does knowledge come about? How do we know
propositions to be true? Or by what means do we come by our
knowledge of the real world? Answers to these questions have been
given through the following means:
(a) Reason
(b) Sense experience
(c) Authority
(d) Intuition
(e) Revelation/faith and
Reason
Rationalism is the theory which believes that human beings can acquire
knowledge of reality by the use of our minds alone, by thinking or pure
reason. To any rationalist, reason is a necessary ingredient for all our
knowledge claims. This is one of the reasons why Aristotle defines man
as “a rational animal”. Thus, the ability to think is what is called reason.
Any serious rationalist agrees that we cannot acquire knowledge through
sense experience without the powers of reason. For them, it is true that
our perceptual experience provides the raw material for judgments, but
without reason, we cannot make judgments at all.
For instance, to reason that the object in front of you is a blackboard you
must first of all recognise it as a blackboard based on certain perceptual
characteristics such as colour, smell, taste, size, shape as they recur in
your experience.
Then, by way of abstraction, you are able to recognize a blackboard
when there is a combination of these characteristics. To the rationalist therefore “… reason is the prima-matrix of human knowledge and with
it alone the certainty of human knowledge is guaranteed” (Ayer,
1956:54).
Sense Experience
Sense experience is another source of knowledge. Empiricists are the
proponents of sense experience theory. To any empiricist, as far as
knowledge is concerned, only sense experience matters. In other words,
empiricism is the philosophical theory which denies reason while
insisting that experience is always the necessary ingredient in our
knowledge claims of the natural world....

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