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How achievable is certainty for knowledge?

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Carter Els Mr. Fum/Theory of Knowledge P.2 How achievable is certainty for knowledge? 10 October 2011 Word count=545 "How achievable is certainty for knowledge? Does this vary by area of knowledge? What in the procedures by which expert knowers generate, justify, or test claims of knowledge within their area of knowledge determines the degree of certainty that is possible and thus required? Discuss this with reference to at least two areas of knowledge that, between them, represent the range of acceptable degrees of certainty across areas of knowledge." Certainty is when something is true beyond reasonable doubt; it is what distinguishes knowledge from mere belief. In each area of knowledge, certainty is essential in establishing that subject, however, the degree of certainty varies depending on the area of knowledge and on how information about this area is justified. ...read more.


Therefore, differences in the achievability of certainty vary depending on each area of knowledge and on how each area of knowledge justifies their knowledge claims. Mathematics is the only area of knowledge that is abstract and perfect and therefore considered to have an absolute degree of certainty, while natural sciences, although regarded with a very high degree of certainty, will never achieve absolute certainty. The assertions of experts in mathematics are proven deductively and without any doubt through indisputable proofs and by operations that culminate in a result that can never be overturned regardless of any possible future observations. Meanwhile, the knowledge of experts in natural sciences can be justified through inductive reasoning and the scientific method involving the formation of generalizations based on a limited current experience. ...read more.


The use of judgment is crucial when there is uncertainty and no fixed rules apply and since both the arts and ethics involve uncertainty, they require the use of judgment. The arts and ethics rely on human actions and judgment in order to justify their certainty, and since human behavior is inevitably linked to uncertainty, these two areas of knowledge are held to a low standard of certainty. On the other hand, the areas of mathematics and natural sciences are held to the highest standards of certainty due to their use of deductive and inductive reasoning ( , "Knowledge as Problematic"). This demonstrates that the achievability of certainty varies with each area of knowledge and depends on how the experts of each area justify their knowledge claims. ...read more.

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