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'Can we know something that has not yet been proven true?'

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Introduction

Theory Of Knowledge February 2004 Essay: 'Can we know something that has not yet been proven true?' By: Solange Di Rocca Gr. 12 Before analysing this title we must understand what it is to know what is meant by the term 'to prove true'. A proof is something we take to be true, something that justifies our beliefs; it is not the same as to reach 100% certainty, but to reach such a level that allows us to draw the conclusion that an argument is true. And knowledge is the established understanding of the connections between the data we perceive from the world around us, for example to gain mathematical knowledge; we understand the connections made between the question and the result. However, do we always need proof to know something? Some would say that they know God exists because they have proof; they take the bible or miracles etc. to be true, and therefore consider these enough proofs for their argument. By the same token, we need some kind of proof in order to establish these connections, and therefore to achieve knowledge. ...read more.

Middle

They had restricted knowledge and drew the sensible conclusion; if the earth were not flat we would all be falling off at the sides of it. Similarly, people believed that the earth was the centre of the universe and that the sun revolved around the earth because they had proof to back up their belief. After all they had no knowledge of other planets or other constellations, they saw the sun and the moon rise and set, and drew to the conclusion that they rotated around the earth and therefore the earth was at the centre of the universe. This knowledge was also enclosed in many books, and few dared to question this knowledge, that many simply accepted because it made sense. However Christopher Columbus and Galileo Galilei proved them wrong, these men dared to question, and discovered new knowledge. They had new beliefs that was then justified by some kind of proof and led to new knowledge. Christopher Columbus had this belief that the earth was not flat but in fact round. ...read more.

Conclusion

proving that we can indeed only know what has been proven true; but because of the very nature of proof, truth must be something mutable and not fixated and rigid. But in order for us to make these connections, we must have proof. Although this proof can sometimes be based on assumptions, which can be true or false, they can also be based on facts. For example the proof that the earth was flat was based on false assumptions, whilst scientific proof is based on scientific facts. But even the knowledge back then, although based on false proof, was dependant on these proofs in order to be knowledge. Proof is needed in the validation of a belief or argument, and validation is necessary to knowledge. If we do not believe an argument we would not know it. For example, we may not believe in the existence of the devil, but only with the necessary proof, either empirical or rational, could we say that we knew the devil did or did not exist. Proof is what makes the difference between belief and knowledge and it is a crucial part of our quest to knowledge. ...read more.

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