My personal epistemology or theory of knowledge is dependent on my realistic understanding of the world. I have come to know reality because of my inherent ability to perceive and interpret my environment. Through my senses and rationality, I know what it is like to know what I do know, despite the fact that I have my limitations. Given my knowledge to distinguish my internal and external worlds, I have realized that there is more than just knowledge, which is above itself. I will refer to here are second-order or meta-knowledge.
Commonly Asked Epistemic Questions
Before delving farther into the critical parts of this essay (e.g., empiricism and rationality, and meta-knowledge), I would like to answer commonly asked questions about epistemology, such as, What do I believe, and why? What is the basis for what I know? How do I know anything to be true? Does truth exist? Although my views about knowledge in general differs with other people, I strongly believe that a priori knowledge (that is, use of rationality) and a posteriori knowledge (that is, use of empirical observations and data) intertwine with one another to present a coherent and consistent worldview.
My Personal Epistemic Stance
What Do I Believe, and Why?
I do believe what I know because I view the world as I see it. I am me. Because of my natural abilities to feel, speak, smell, see, hear, and perceive, I have come to know the world I live in. Apart from the reality that exists, I am but a vacuous entity. I get burn and feel the heat. I speak and I comprehend myself. When I talk to other people, they understand what I say. Whenever I feel something fishy, it could mean one or other things. Because my auditory sense is normal, I can hear someone. I perceive because my mind tells me so. All the sensory inputs that my senses bring to my perception, I have learned to discard, accept, analyze, and/or interpret. I do believe what I know because I relate with the world, despite its normalcy or idiosyncrasies. The same goes with me, other people, events, and so on. Although, I sometimes doubt what I believe in, it is because of my limited capacity to learn beyond what I am able to fashion and fathom.
What is the basis for what I know?
The basis of what I know is me, non-narcissistically speaking. Without my inherent ability as a homo sapiens, I will be like some special individuals or non-sentient creatures. Because of my natural talents, I learn to know the world I live in: truths and falsehood. The world presents itself to me and I behold it. I present myself to the world – and the world remains to be so despite its ever-changing course. My world consists thus of internal as well as external worlds, which are the basis for what I know. Remove from the equation myself (or my world) and the world stays to exists – for how long, I will never know. Dispose of the outside world and I will never know what I would be, considering this thought experiment is highly hypothetical (a world beyond known possibilities). Thus, it is my rationality and empirical understanding of the world I live in where I ground my knowledge.
How do I know anything to be true?
I do know anything to be true because I lived in a shared reality. I understand myself: my existence, experiences, and knowledge. I associate and relate with people, and vice versa. I know something is true because it is testable, confirmable, and verifiable by my senses, but more importantly, by my rationality or a priori knowledge. When someone say what is the answer for two times two in mathematics, it is always four (where there might be exceptions to this mathematical rule, it depends on that specific context). Hence, what I have known to be true is because of the inter-subjective yet objective consensus of people on facts. In case of evaluative issues, many people believe that what is true to them may be false to another person because they deal primarily with morality. Hence, what is true to others may vary due to the kind of ‘world’ (e.g., math, philosophy, etc.) individuals understand. Although there seems to be universalizable understanding of what is true (e.g., loving oneself or others), there are also contrary to it (e.g., self-annihilation). Whatever the reasoning behind the variations of ideas, they remain to be true to a specific person, esoteric group, or entire situation. I have to enter the world of a quantum physicist, mystic, vagabond, psychopath, genius, etc. to get a better understanding of him/her to know what is true for them, and back.
Does truth exist?
Truth is something verifiable for it to be considered as extant. If I say that, ‘I who wrote this essay do not exist,” someone will not believe me. Likewise, if I say, ‘He who wrote this article does not exist,” someone will not believe it either. My point is, “Truth exists because there is an evidence for its existence.” I cannot deny something exists if it does exist. I can reason out; hence, my reason is something that subsist. Everything I come to know with my senses and rationality, or rationality and those within the gamut of possibilities, do actually exist. If truth is something apart from nature or existence, it is merely a figment of my imagination. Hence, something that is purely a mental creation is something that may not be true at all. Going back to the question: Does truth exist? I have come to think of it if it does not. Would I then be able to agree, disagree, or remain neutral with what I trying to pointing out and make clear? Nope. Only with the presence of something that already exists (such as ourselves), do we come to know that truth do exists.
There are other questions related to the ones mentioned above that I would like to address concerning my personal epistemology, such as, Why do I know some things, but not others? Can my knowledge be certain? How can I differentiate truth from falsehood? Why do I believe certain claims and not others? And, so on. However, suffice to say that I have already answered some of the most relevant ones.
My Approach to Empiricism and Rationality
For me, it is hard to demarcate empiricism (e.g., observation) from rationality (e.g., logic). It is easier to merge the two given that they are not distinct from each other. For instance, when I observe something as it appears to be, my rational side tells me so. Although one predominate the other, it still depends whether my experience of the world is as “it is.” This is because another person’s experience may mean differently when he/she used his/her own interpretation of the context. Nevertheless, when I speak of empiricism as a posteriori and rationality as a priori, I make a better distinction.
When I reason from particulars to general principles or facts causes to effects, I am using my a posteriori knowledge. When I am thirsty, I know it empirically based on my introspective (that is, sensory and perceptual) experiences. On the other hand, when I deductively reason from a general principle to a necessary effect (that is, without support from facts), I am using my a priori knowledge. In its strict sense, a priori knowledge is solely derived from the use of reason. For instance, when I say that all widows have dead husbands and are unmarried individuals, I am referring to conceptual truths.
Despite the distinction that I just made about a posteriori and a priori knowledge, I believe that a priori knowledge is derived from a posteriori knowledge. My reasoning is that if my mind does exist, it is because it is able to receive data from the outside world. How would it be possible that I know something without the aid of external reality? I would be hallucinating, or perceiving what is not there, should what I believe in is not provable. Even great mathematicians follow rules, derive equations, and so on, to come up with new ways of solving problems. They have thought deeply about other versions of realities or possible worlds. There thus arises many variations of a particular field in mathematics, logic, and other specializations because something was thought to be of the same but not identical kind.
I know that whatever we are able to perceive, understand, create, invent, etc. are products of our mental constitution. Some individuals are better able to ‘create’ something out of something, because of their genetic makeup for high-level of cognitive, affective, and practical intelligences. Other than a nurturing environment, these excellent-minded (e.g., geniuses) individuals were born to be so. Our current understanding of neuroscience is far from being perfect, but our DNAs are the keys to who we really are. What I mean by the impact of science with our rationality or a priori knowledge has something to do with how we view the world, not just as it is, but also how we have a better understanding of it. Hence, we are better at manipulating it so much so that that it seems that a priori knowledge is something purely out of our reasoning power.
In support to the preceding paragraph, how could something come out of nothing? How could we rationalize on something that has no influence to us? If I believe on something that does not exists, it could be that it is only something that I made up. When I say that Sponge Bob exists in my understanding, it does exist only in my understanding. In reality, it is not. There could be mascots, caricatures, etc. of ‘it,’ but not someone who is a young male person who is made of porous mass of interlacing fibers? I can therefore create things out of my imagination, but not something that is ‘real.’ On the other hand, when logicians make rules of reasoning, it is because they have learned to figure out how things work depending on an agreed upon configurations using as basis human rationality.
Knowledge beyond experience or reason is something I cannot discuss fully, but I will try for the sake of knowing about knowing (higher-order knowledge). When I think something to be true, it is primarily ‘true’ according to my own understanding. If other individuals claim that what I believe is something false, they have some basis for stating so. But when I use a standard for claiming something to be true, it must be testable using that same standard. I cannot claim something to be true unless I am just presupposing or assuming it to be true.
When I think of a case such that theists believe in God and atheists believe otherwise, I will appeal to their standards. The former will use divination, revelation, miracles, and so forth to back up their beliefs. To the contrary, the latter will not resort anything to those that were mentioned because they believe only with what they behold. I cannot make someone believe in God if he/she is asking that I make God appear to him. On the other hand, I cannot make a theist abandon his/her beliefs simply by saying that there isn’t any God because He is nowhere to be seen.
With the above examples, the two factions look for a meta-knowledge, that is, something that goes beyond ordinary human reasoning. A theist whose knowledge of God does not come from empirical proofs is simply a believer. On the other hand, an atheist who defies knowledge of the divine is grounded empirically, using at the forefront, his/her own rational thought (that is, it is not the case that something divine is existing when there isn’t any evidence at all).
For the theist, everything that exists was designed by a divine entity. There would not be anything in existence without an originator, a creator. On the opposing camp, they will stick with their beliefs that anything in existence could be explained by science. If it was formerly believed that people are possessed by demons, hence, become ill, for the atheists, that is precisely beside the point. With advances in medicine and technology, people become more aware of the disorders, illnesses, and diseases that affect humans. Although, the whole picture is still incomplete, atheist would never accede to believe in God.
Despite the atheists’ belief in the non-existence of God, theists believe in a higher power. Because not everything can be explained empirically (as of the moment, or maybe, never at all) and rationally (because human beings will possibly remain as human beings even when they unlock the mysteries of life and death), it is better for theists to believe in the Almighty.
Given my own understanding of meta-knowledge, for me, that which transcends human knowledge and understanding may be something that, at the other end of reality, is not knowledge at all. It may be the case that what I/we call knowledge is human knowledge. As an analogy, if there is lower-level animal knowledge, it might be the case that we only possess such as limited knowledge. Thus, no amount of knowledge will make us attain divine knowledge in too and per se if we have but human knowledge and understanding. To call humans as having divine knowledge is to call them divine beings, immortals, or gods.
My knowledge of myself and the world defines who I am as a person. Whatever knowledge that I have, it is due to my physical and mental constitutions. I learned something to be true because it suits my reasoning. My experience attest to my own conception and perception of reality. Nothing is apart from experience. Even when I can concoct something to be true according to my own imagination or understanding, it should still have its basis in reality. If not, it is only a figment of my imagination. On the other hand, given the case that what I imagined is something testable, provable, or testable, then, by all means, my rationality runs in line with what reality is out there (that is, in a possible world). Thus, whether I talk of a priori and a posteriori knowledge, I will adhere with both. I believe that the two are like married couples: the first one is needed for something to be true ‘out there’ and the second one is needed for something to be true ‘in here.’ If those two requirements cannot be made, I am simply using my imagination or someone who is like a non-sentient animal. As Thomas Edward Lawrence (a.k.a. Lawrence of Arabia) lightly put it: “The living knew themselves just sentient puppets on God's stage.”
So what i need is an Persuasive Essay and I want to talk about why I think Euthanasia should be allowed, ((because of the right of humans who have terminal illnesses to die in dignity, also the right to end their suffer and pain, and that they don't have the life quality also it is a emotional and physical distress for the family experiences)) I don't know but these points what came to my mind, maybe you like it maybe there are some of the point needed to be change, do what ever you think is right; however, I need it to have 3 sources article or books with pg numbers and for each source we should right a paragraph long about it in order to strengthen our arguments, I will show you an example:
Batt, Ellen G. "Teachers' Perceptions Of ELL Education: Potential Solutions To Overcome The Greatest Challenges." Multicultural Education 15.3 (2008): 39-43. ERIC. Web. 30 Sept. 2013.
Callins, Tandria. "Culturally Responsive Literacy Instruction." TEACHING Exceptional Children 39.2- (2006): 62-65. ERIC. Web. 30 Sept. 2013.
but also we need to have Counterarguments and Supporting Arguments for each point and we should have 4 of them and we should support our arguments with an articles or books about the argument to be more persuasive.
l hope you understand what I am trying to say here
I hope you got the idea