Theory Of Knowledge Essay, Research Paper
Theory of Knowledge? First Short Paper
The skepticism of the existence of God has been a heavily discussed topic since the existence of man. Many philosophers have had many writings analyzing the facts and possibilities to prove this argument. Saint Thomas Aquinas is the philosopher whom best analyzes the facts in a way for me to understand that God exists. Saint Thomas Aquinas can prove the argument of the existence of God in five ways. I have chosen to discuss the first paragraph in his thesis due to the least amount of confusion. The first paragraph contains the following from Saint Thomas Aquinas:
The first and more manifest way is the argument from motion. It is certain, and evident to our senses, that in the world some things are in motion. Now whatever is moved is moved by another, for nothing can be moved except it is potentiality to that towards which it is moved; whereas a thing moves inasmuch as it is in act. For motion is nothing else that the reduction of something from potentiality to actuality. But nothing can be reduced from potentiality to actuality, except by something in the state of actuality. Thus that which is actually hot, as fire, makes wood, which is potentially hot, to be actually hot, and thereby moves and changes it. Now it is not possible that the same thing should be at once in actuality and potentiality in the same respect, but only in different respects. For what is actually hot cannot simultaneously be potentially hot; but it is simultaneously potentially cold. It is therefore impossible that in the same respect and in the same way a thing should be both mover and moved, i.e. that it should move itself. Therefore, whatever is moved must be moved by another. If that by which it is moved be itself moved, then this also must needs be moved by another, and that by another again. But this cannot go on to infinity, because then there would be no first mover, and consequently no other mover, seeing that subsequent movers move only inasmuch as they are moved by the first mover; as the staff moves only because it is moved by the hand. Therefore it is necessary to arrive at a first mover, moved by no other; and this everyone understands to be God.
In the passage, several arguments are discussed to prove that God exists. The difficulty lies in the understanding of potentiality and actuality. Keeping in mind the focus is to prove that God exists was a good aid in translating some of Aquinas? writing. Saint Thomas Aquinas starts his argument discussing whatever is moved is moved by another. The movements all start with a first mover. The first mover moved another person that was potentially going to be moved by someone (the first mover). Aquinas talks about the movement that could happen, did happen, and how it happened in terms of potentiality and actuality. For ?X? which is in potential form, to become ?Y? which is the actuality of potential ?X. then the only way for ?X? to have become ?Y? is from something that was already in actuality form. This explains the mover moving things.
In the example of the wood and fire, potentiality and actuality play a key role in the understanding of the existence of God. Aquinas says for wood to go from potentially to actually hot, something must be applied to the wood. In this case, fire would cause the wood to go from potentially hot to an actual hot state. It is impossible for the wood to be simultaneously in a potential hot state and an actual hot state. Although, the wood in the actual hot state could be simultaneously potentially cold when the fire is extinguished. The following statement may be an aid in understanding potentiality and actuality. If an object is potentially ?F. the only way for it to become actually ?F? is for it to be affected by ?something in a state of actuality. In another sense, whatever is doing the moving can be the thing that is moved in motion. This demonstrates that this process can be looked at in the shape of a circle. The process consists of change that started from some other change, and the change continues in a cycle. If an object undergoes change, then there must be a cause of that change. The cycle is potential capability of a thing experiencing a change to become the actual. Then the actual will experience a change to go from potential to actual again, a cycle. The entire process of wood becoming hot from fire starts with a first mover causing a chain reaction of movement.
In conclusion, since there is no infinity of action and all moving takes place in a cycle, therefore the person that is the first mover has never itself been moved (God-Y?X?Z?Y?X). In the end, Aquinas proves the unmoved mover is God. God is actually in motion and he causes the second motion. God is the capability of going to potentially hot to actually hot in the movement. God is simultaneously actually hot and cold. God started all the movement and he responsible for all actuality which makes him everything and great.
Saint Thomas Aquinas? argument is a very plausible argument to me. I have been raised all of my life in the Catholic religion and I do truly believe that God exists. It was rather difficult to think of the existence of God in the way of wood and fire. I had a problem understanding the possibility of the movements being the same all the time. If God was the first mover, then all movements should be in his favor. This raises the question of why are there so many religions that do not consider God to be the main first mover or that he even exists. Where did the moving alter people to discover ways of believing different gods? It is obvious that this is not taken into consideration in Aquinas? argument. In the end, after examining all the factors, Aquinas? argument makes complete sense and I believe the main idea is completely true. God is the first mover and he is responsible for the beginning of all moving. Aquinas proves this by explaining the mover of potentiality and actuality and how God is the entire process.
Saint Thomas Aquinas? teachings are highly favored by the Roman Catholic Church. The Church encourages the main message that God is everything and everywhere. Aquinas proves that God started the movement of the world and that God was the originator. The same movement that moved the potential to the actual state continues the same process today, spreading the actuality of God.
Rene Descartes. Discourse on Method
Theory Of Knowledge Essay, Research Paper
“There is no scientific evidence that civilization is synonymous with Aristotelian rationality the syllogism, the negation and the abstract classification are not discoveries of reality itself, of an eternal, absolute or self-evident truth-but simply linguistic inventions of conceptual tools which people find useful in varying degrees according to their life situation”
Discuss this quote in reference to two different forms of knowledge: Physics and History.
In order to comprehend what kind of role logic has in reality, as well as in different forms of knowledge, we must first interpret what is meant by this Aristotelian rationality. Then each subject was analyzed critically and then laid side by side to logic, so see that subjects such as history and physics are actually forms of logic applied to the world to gain more knowledge. Man is naturally curious and has created subjects to understand different aspects of the world. But since logic is a man made tool, it can be used to understand an event controlled or created by man, and cannot understand something that is one hundred percent natural.
For something to be logical, it must make sense and have a rational and understandable explanation. There are two types of logic, deductive and inductive. Logic, whether inductive or deductive, must have a premise. To have a sound argument, I had to have two true premises and the conclusion had to be in specific relation to the premises given. The premises come from our knowledge, and more specifically that the Empiricist called sense perception. When we put reasoning into these premises, we come up with a conclusion that also becomes part of our knowledge. Therefore, logic is a tool that is applied to knowledge to gain more knowledge. For example, if I know that I only have red socks, and that I’m wearing a pair of my socks, through these premises I can come to the conclusion that it socks I have on right now must be red. This argument is sound and valid and therefore logical. One can also argue that an argument with false premises can also make sense and have and a rational and understandable explanation. But the fact of drawing a conclusion of something that is not true is illogical. The reason behind logic is to gain more knowledge, so what would we gain by drawing reasonable conclusions from something that isn’t true in the first place? Therefore, logic can be defined as a sound and valid argument in order to gain more knowledge.
History is usually known to most as the memorization of dates but there is more to history than just memorizing a bunch of dates. It is understanding the past, and comprehending why it occurred thus gaining more knowledge than what just happened. Historians and students of history use logic to understand history and often run into disagreements in viewpoints. Logic is used to explain one’s views about a controversial issue. There are times where subjective views play a role in interpreting past events, but they are not accepted as a valid argument in explaining or supporting a thesis. To support a claim or a viewpoint, one must use a logical explanation supported by strong evidence that is of course true. For example, say a person was to discuss the ambitions of Napoleon. In the Napoleon code, he discouraged the freedom of press and made sure that the press was limited in what they could say. The Old Regime, before the rule of Napoleon, allowed the freedom of press and did not suppress the press. It would be a sound and valid argument to say that Napoleon’s rule was unlike the Old Regime. Then if history is based on sound, valid and arguments why are there so much controversy on one issue? This is because although logic can be applied to human creations, it cannot be applied to non-human creations. Events of the past are a part of a human creation because it was humans took part in these events. When we start to judge history, people can have different views of what is significant and what isn’t. Take the same example of Napoleon. Although he limited the press, he also promoted the rights of the peasants. This can be seen as a similarity of the Old Regime. Does this mean that Napoleon’s rule was much like the Old Regime? Some people may think that the suppressing the press is more significant point that the rights of the peasants and others may think the opposite. Therefore, history is human’s unsuccessful attempt in applying logic to explain past events.
Physics can be seen as an imitation of the world so that it would be suitable to apply logic in order to explain this phenomena ‘nature’ as well as the world. With this imitation, physics explains nature pretty well. For example, according to the ideal gas law, PV=NRT. Which means pressure times the volume equals the number of moles of that certain gas, times the constant R, times absolute temperature. Yet an imitation is just merely an imitation and does not fully explain nature. For example, the ideal gas law only applies to an ideal gas, which doesn’t exist. To be an ideal gas, the gas has to possess certain qualities, such as the molecules have to be in continuous motion and no energy must be lost in collisions with another. In physics, we just assume that all gases are ideal to make calculation, thus the application of logic, easier. Something in nature is impossible to imitate because the fact of imitating makes it no longer a part of nature, but a human creation. One may argue that physics can explain the motion of a car and it’s force when it hits a brick wall. But what kind of human can drive a car at the exact speed of say 60 kilometers per hour for a specific amount of time without having some faults? Also when the car does hit the wall, not all the force goes to the wall but some is lost between friction, heat and in forms of sound. This is ignored when calculating the force to allow logic to be applied to this subject. Therefore physics is another unsuccessful human attempt to use logic to explain the world around us.
It is not merely the subjects history and physics that logic is applied to the world as a whole. It is all the subjects, math, chemistry, English. All are unsuccessful attempt, for logic is basically a tool to help our understanding of nature, it does not originate from within. It is not the concept of logic that is at fault but where it is applied to, that is a problem. There is no problem in applying logic to physics but ‘physics’ is not achieving it’s purpose in completely understanding nature for that fact that nature cannot be duplicated. If nature cannot be recreated, how are able to capture a moment of it to understand it? Therefore, subjects are merely logic applied different aspects of a human simulation of nature that is changed in varies ways in order to satisfy the human’s want of information and comprehend the world around.
Outline Russell's fundamental distinction between knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description.
Our knowledge of things is attainable in two ways: knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description. Our knowledge by acquaintance entails an immediate awareness of our own sense-data. From this acquaintance, we are directly aware of a thing without any inference. Knowledge by acquaintance is logically independent of any knowledge of truths. Knowledge by description is predicated on something with which we are acquainted, sense-data, and some knowledge of truths, like knowing the description: "such-and-such sense-data are caused by the physical object." Thus, knowledge by description allows us to infer knowledge about things we have never experienced via things with which we have had direct acquaintance.
What is idealism and how does Russell respond to its epistemic implications?
Idealism is the philosophical view that "whatever exists, or at any rate, whatever can be known to exist, must be in some sense mental." Russell rejects idealism because he believes the arguments for idealism to be based on fallacious reasoning. The arch-idealist, Bishop Berkeley, refers to two different things using the same word, "idea." One is the thing of which we become aware and the other is the actual act of apprehension. While the latter act seems obviously mental, the former "thing" does not seem so at all. Russell holds that idealists mistake the object sense of "idea," with the apprehensive, mental sense. Instead, Russell advocates a theory of knowledge where things exist independently of our minds and are constituted in the physical world of matter.
Distinguish the universal from the particular. How does each fit into Russell's theory of knowledge?
Russell believes that objects in the physical world, like his famous table, are composed of matter. These are particulars. They exist in one place at any given time and exemplify universals. The universal is an ideal from which particulars derive their common essence. Universals include qualities, properties, and relations. A white sheet of paper is a particular that exemplifies the universal "whiteness," which is common to all white things. A particular may be known by way of our acquaintance with sense-data. We grasp universals through a process of induction from particulars.Suggested Essay Topics
How does the knowledge of things differ from knowledge of truths? Which one is subject to verification and error?
In what sense does Russell's philosophy suggest that the philosophical mode of enquiry benefits mankind or the general good?
Discuss Russell's analysis of the concept of a priori knowledge and how it is distinct from the concept of analyticity.
On Russell's view of our possibilities for knowledge, where is reality, in our subjective heads or independent of our minds?
What is sense-data and how do we come by it?
According to Russell, what types of investigation are fruitless in the philosophical quest for knowledge and what are some examples of these failed philosophical systems?
Russell develops a theory that truth consists in a correspondence between belief and fact. In light of his "Othello" proposition, of which the constituents are subject, objects, and object-relations, describe his comparison between belief and fact.
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