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"Human beings are not aware of their assumptions or basic beliefs, much like fish are unaware of the water in which they live." Discuss.

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Introduction

"Human beings are not aware of their assumptions or basic beliefs, much like fish are unaware of the water in which they live." Discuss. "Human beings live in accordance with their assumptions and basic beliefs." This was the initial paraphrase I deduced from the quotation "human beings are not aware of their assumptions or basic beliefs, much like fish are unaware of the water in which they live". The word "assumption" usually alludes to uncertainty, unreality, mistrust, suspicion, and so on. At first glance, this quotation is pessimistic. For scholars, philosophers, scientists or, generally, truth seekers, they spend their whole lifetimes seeking "truth" and, more often than not, they suddenly realize that they themselves are living in a world of assumptions. Even I myself, who have existed on the earth for only seventeen years, often think that the knowledge I have acquired so far and which I am still pursuing might all be based on apparently baseless assumptions and beliefs. [JX1][rko2][JX2][rko1]However, after examining the above quotation with care, I have realized that a more plausible interpretation should be that human beings need assumptions and basic beliefs to survive, just as fish need water. ...read more.

Middle

I'll further demonstrate that human beings need such assumptions to enhance their knowledge about the world and whatever else there is to know. Good examples of this type of assumptions may be found in the five postulates of mathematics. In early 700 B.C., Euclid in his book Elements suggested five postulations, or assumptions, which cannot be proved by any other theorem, but which yet [JX3][JX3]serve as the foundation of the entire system of geometry. For example, Postulate 1 states that "given any two points such as A and B, there is a line AB which has them as endpoints"i[i]. This postulate seems apparent, but it is believed not to be provable. However, mathematics has been developing since the beginning of human civilization despite the fact that the five postulates are not susceptible to proof. Although they are not provable (hence not empirical), they have to be accepted as given and are thus fundamental to mathematics. Thinkers of all ages have observed and marveled at the regularity of mathematical operations and the inexorability of their results. Finally, these conclusions became basic beliefs in which mathematicians in all ages have lived through. ...read more.

Conclusion

Fish need fresh water to maintain their lives; human beings need assumptions and basic beliefs to physically survive and, more importantly, to mentally improve themselves. We humans of modern times live in such a fast-paced world; nonetheless, while we enjoy our achievements of which we are rightfully proud, not many of us ever stop to ponder, even for a split second, what they are essentially based upon. In the process of writing this essay, I am surprised to find that a large part of human accomplishments, from antiquity all the way down to the present, should be credited to the indomitable human spirit in its relentless pursuit of knowledge and truth by observing, scrutinizing, and experiencing the world in which we live, as well as by assuming, proving or disproving the various theories proposed, the better to refine our knowledge about this splendid, beloved world. 1163 words i[i] Euclid's Elements, Book 1, Postulate 1, [Online Available] http://aleph0.clarku.edu/~djoyce/java/elements/bookI/post1.html [JX1] This statement sounds awkward but I'm not sure how to correct it. [rko2]OK now. [JX3] The auto grammar check of Microsoft Word says there is something wrong here. Is there any grammar mistake? ...read more.

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