• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Assess the view that knowledge is possible

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Assess the view that knowledge is impossible Philosophical scepticism and ordinary everyday scepticism are very different. The difference between both types of scepticism is that ordinary scepticism is doubt that the train will come on time for example, whilst philosophical sceptics believe knowledge is impossible. Global scepticism is doubts everything for the purpose of an academic study this differs from ordinary scepticism due to it being on a much larger scale. The best example of a sceptic is Descarte. He was the first philosopher to think so deeply into scepticism. Descarte wrote six meditations, the first named 'Method of Doubt'. This meditation had three waves; The Senses, Dreaming and Malignant Demon. Each wave looked at a different theory of scepticism. There are many different arguments that conclude knowledge is impossible. The Infinite Regress of Reason, Closed Belief System and Brain in a Vat theory are the three examples which will be looked at, in detail, as to how they came to the conclusion that knowledge is impossible. ...read more.

Middle

The name explains what some philosophers think to be real; that our brains really are in Vats and being controlled. An example of this is in Descartes' first Meditation - in the third wave of doubt (the evil demon argument). This is one example of a sceptic's theory: A scientist in the year 2560 is sending impulses through a secretly obtained brain to give it the illusion that it is living a life and that the life is a real experience. However there are criticisms to these theories such as The Infinite Regress of Reason can be stopped by Foundationalism and therefore isn't infinite. This theory says there are things in this world that we can know for sure and all other beliefs can be built-up on top of these foundational beliefs. Beliefs that justify themselves or need no justification are foundational beliefs and these beliefs justify others. This classic reaction to the Infinite Regress is called Foundationalism. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, the existence of physical objects shouldn't be doubted even though they cannot be explicitly justified using language. Therefore the Brain in a Vat theory cannot really be genuine as it is rejected by common sense. In conclusion, the theory of scepticism, although a strong argument in the short term, when thought about more thoroughly is fundamentally flawed because the criticisms of each argument evaluated proves that there must be truth in this world for us to be able to doubt anything. Although philosophical scepticism, on some levels, can help us see what can not be proven or justified, it also helps us understand that knowledge is indeed possible and that we must all have some aspect of truths in our beliefs. For example Descarte, said: 'I think therefore I am'. This quote explains that knowledge of having a present experience is true and from this knowledge we can build up other claims (for example the claim of physical objects proven to ones' self by using senses and the common sense theory). ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. An embodied life in heaven is entirely possible. Discuss.

    Often, the term 'Cartesian dualism' is used to refer to the general class of substance dualist theories. Substance dualists hold that mind and matter are different kinds of substances. Cartesian interactionist dualism is a particular kind of substance dualism supported by Descartes in which these two different kinds of substance can causally interact.

  2. Can You Step into the Same River Twice?

    be two different things depending upon how it is viewed, Heraclitus regarded this as another form of change. From Heraclitus' theory he may be suggesting that true knowledge comes from our mind rather than our senses as although a

  1. Evaluate Descartes Method of Doubt

    Therefore all paintings are forgeries. This is clearly invalid, as a forgery suggests that there is a real painting out there somewhere which the forgery is a copy of. Is Descartes not making the same mistake in his first wave of doubt?

  2. Discuss the characteristics of the scientific method which makes it superior over other methods ...

    Theories which cannot be tested, because, for instance, they have no observable ramifications, do not qualify as scientific theories. One of the key factors of scientific method is that the theory must be falsifable. Sir Karl Popper (1902-1994): Falsificationism (1993)

  1. Explain and illustrate one criticism of the view that a belief is knowledge if ...

    However, that is not to say that my coherent belief is the truth. It may not be the truth. It is just a justified belief. This theory of coherent beliefs perceived and regarded as a whole is called holism. Coherentism dictates that if we want the greatest understanding of what

  2. Theory Of Knowledge essay

    Humans are both rational and emotional and science can never be supreme form of knowledge, as it does not provide both of these aspects. This view suggests that other forms of knowledge are needed to satisfy other human needs. Existential attitude focuses on other areas of knowledge i.e.

  1. Descartes Meditations

    If we suppose there is no God, then there is even greater likelihood of being deceived, since our imperfect senses would not have been created by a perfect being. Descartes likens himself to being 'like a prisoner who is enjoying an imaginary freedom while asleep', and 'as he begins to

  2. Critically Assess the View that, Without a Predetermined Conceptual Scheme, Our Sense Experience Would ...

    This technique works because the computer is unable to perceive the picture, which has a few distinct letters in front of a background of scratches.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work