How think something is true if it lines

How
do we know if something is real? It seems like a simple enough question, but
many fail to give a reasonable answer. In the vast study of philosophy this is
one of the many thought provoking questions that arises in a lot of
philosophical studies and research by many philosophers. There are two ways you
can approach this particular question, one way is metaphysically and the other
is epistemically. We are going to use epistemology to shed some light on this
question. Epistemology is the area of philosophy which involves the exploration
of knowledge, as defined by Klemke, Kline, and Hollinger (1994), in their text Philosophy Contemporary Perspectives On
Perennial Issues. We think something is true if it lines up with reality
and all it constructs, and without the possibility of knowledge we are left
with only belief. Belief that all things, whether material or abstract we
chose to accept as valid; such as this paper you’re reading is real, ideas,
religions, what scientists tell us and, for some, to know is simply to believe.

How
do we gain knowledge? In his article Rationalism vs. Empiricism, Markie (2017)
explains empiricism (a posterior) is all our knowledge that we have gained
through experiences and rationalism (a priori) is knowledge that is acquired
through reasoning. To gain empirical knowledge (a posterior) is to go through a
lifetime of experiences which indefinitely grow from a belief about certain
things to justified knowledge (Mackie, 2017). Rational (a priori) knowledge
is not acquired in the same manner as empirical knowledge, it is a matter of
reasoning through an idea to establish its reliability and validity (Mackie,
2017). For example, we observe that a basketball is round, by the definition of
what round means we can conclude that round objects have no sides therefore,
the basketball can be classified as round and objects that have sides cannot be
classified as round. Another way rational (a priori) knowledge can
also be used is to reason out any truths that are not connected with
observation at all (Mackie, 2017). Empirical knowledge and rational knowledge
is why two humans who live in completely different parts of the world such as
Canada and a village in India have completely different knowledge about
everything. A donkey to a Canadian is an animal in the zoo, while a donkey to
someone in India is a form of transportation. All the knowledge that we possess
was given to us by someone else, therefore our knowledge can never be truly
objective (Mackie, 2017).

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Patrick
Connolly (n.d.) explains in his article John
Locke (1632—1704) that John Locke was a British philosopher who was often
called the founder of British Empiricism. Locke thought we were born blank with
no knowledge and as we grow old and experience things we learn and that is
where our knowledge builds and comes from (Connolly, n.d.). On the contrary, Matt
McCormick (n.d.) states in his article Immanuel
Kant: Metaphysics that Immanuel
Kant a German philosopher had quite the opposite to say about what Locke had
stated. Kant believed that we are born with innate knowledge for things
(McCormick, n.d.). These differing theories although may be in contrast to each
other, both in the end mean the same thing. Whether you chose to believe Locke
on his theory that we start off completely blank or whether you chose to
believe Kant on his theory of being born with innate knowledge, after the initial
stage of birth whether or not you have any knowledge at birth the initial
learning process in both theories is the same, by experiences.

Another theory that was widely accepted by
people was that of Bishop Berkeley’s. In Daniel Flage’s (n.d.) article George Berkeley (1685 – 1753) he states
that Bishop Berkeley was an idealist, he believed that ordinary objects are
only collections of ideas, which are dependent on the mind and that there are
no material matter. Berkeley states that there are only finite mental
substances and an infinite mental substance, which was God (Flage, n.d.). Berkeley
claimed that existence could only be justified if and only if the existent can
be known, and the existence is known by God and therefore we are mere
collections of ideas in Gods mind. (Flage, n.d.). Although at the time even
though many believed this theory there are many flaws to which this theory is
discounted. Not everyone believes in God and if God is not evil, then why do
humans have thoughts about evil and then whose mind does God exist in? These
problems raise many doubts to the theory and especially the latter, that in
whose mind does God exist in leaves us in an infinite regress of a never ending
question.

Justin Skirry (n.d.) states
in his article René Descartes
(1596 – 1650) that famous philosopher René Descartes was known as the
“Father of Modern Philosophy” and that he believed that he could not rely
solely on his senses to show him what was reality and what wasn’t. Descartes
also said that “I think, therefor I am” he was certain that he existed but just
not in what form (Skirry, n.d.). This brings us to the
movie The Matrix which depicts our world as nothing more than just a computer
program that is being run through our brains while the world around us
deteriorates from within. This raises the question to how can we ever truly
know that this is not happening to us at this very moment and what we are
doing, seeing, hearing and feeling is all true? Every single day we rely on our senses to tell us
the truth, we believe what we see, smell, touch, hear, and taste, and never do
we ever question whether or not our senses are deceiving us. We hardly ever
stop to think whether or not our senses are being manipulated and if we can trust
our senses to tell us the truth. This once again raises the question as to how
can we truly know for sure what is real and what is not?

Even
after all these theories of renowned philosophers we cannot rely on other theories
of reality because every individual perceives reality differently, what I may
perceive is different than what you may perceive, and due to this not everyone
can has the same views and theories on what reality constitutes of and what existence
exactly means. Many people believe in God and see God as a vital part and
influencer in their reality, while there are others who may not. Some individuals
may say believe nothing truly exists, and that life and this world is an
illusion, while others may say everything they see is real. Although everyone
has their own thoughts and opinions, no one is wrong; how we view the world and
reality is our personal view, how we perceive things are not the same as how
other perceive them, and that does not mean one individual is wrong or right. Even
with the great contributions of philosophers like Descartes, Berkeley, Kant and
Locke we still cannot be completely sure what is real and what is not. For some
seeing is believing, for others God may be their reality, some may believe that
this could all just be a dream and then there will always be those will believe
that we may just be a brain in a vat. I guess no one can know for sure and it
will remain a mystery forever. 

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