According to Plato, for one to know a proposition, one must be justified in knowing the proposition is true, the proposition must be true and one must believe in the proposition (Woolman 2000). Much of what we know and value, is justified through strong and solid reasoning and proof, such as Mathematical and scientific formulas; but a lot of significant knowledge which is believed in and seen of great importance, cannot be proven in the same way, and is justified in a very different manner. For example, one’s belief in God is justified mainly through faith and to some extent tradition. Historical interpretations are justified through a mixture of rational facts, but also involve a lot of guess work and hypothesis. So is the knowledge justified by strong and solid reasoning and ‘proof’ valued more? In my opinion the correctness of this claim depends on the area of knowledge and way of knowing. Strong justification in my opinion is different in different subject areas. In maths and science, I am only prepared to accept knowledge with strong logical and empirical proofs. In other areas, such as my faith in God, that type of justification is irrelevant and meaningless. Faith is the basis of my belief that there is a God. Mathematics is the one area of knowledge where I think the most valued knowledge is that for which we can provide the strongest rational, logical, reasoned justifications. The explanation behind this is that for mathematics, the main way of knowing is reason, and minimal sense perception, language or emotion is involved. Mathematicians try to keep other ways of knowing down to a minimal to try to avoid ambiguity and uncertainty. A great example is Fermat’s last theorem, where even though everyone had assumed the theorem was correct, it could not be proven, therefore was not valued as much, which was shown by the small number of theorems based upon Fermat’s theorem. After a long process of reasoning a mathematician called Andrew Wilds was able to...
Bibliography: • Woolman, Micheal. 2000. Ways of Knowing – An introduction to theory of knowledge. Australia. IBID press.
• Lagemaat, Richard van de. 2005. Theory of Knowledge for the IB diploma. Cambridge, UK. Cambridge University Press.
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