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In expanding the field of knowledge we but increase the horizon of ignorance.- Henry Miller. To what extent can a knower agree?

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Introduction

"In expanding the field of knowledge we but increase the horizon of ignorance."- Henry Miller. To what extent can a knower agree? By approaching this quotation with a simplistic viewpoint the knower may feel more inclined to disagree with Miller's statement. They might ask themselves, "How can this be true? If we know something, we know it." However, when considering this quote from my perspective, I could not help but think they are wrong. It must therefore be questioned whether this idea of Miller's can be both true and false. Placing myself into the position of the knower I deliberated over this statement and concluded that, yes, it is valid. However, as I am a physics student I may be considered bias, as there may be a great likelihood that I am more inclined to apply this statement to the scientific areas of knowledge. Although this may be the case I found that throughout science we use reasoning and observations to conclude answers to our questions, often through experiments. Nevertheless, after these experiments have been completed we are often left facing many more questions than we had to start with. To use a personal example as a way to further explain this point, recently I participated in an experiment in physics where we used a jelly-like substance to model human's skin, and dropped ball bearings at different heights, in an attempt to recreate and compare gun shot wounds. ...read more.

Middle

Feynman appears to have realised that by modelling the results of our experiments to the results of other scientists we have stopped looking for answers to our questions but have rather started looking for questions to fit our answers. For example if a group of scientists had been funded by a particular company, such as Range Rover to find the effects of carbon emissions on the environment, we know that the results found by these scientists will prove some benefit for Range Rover, and will not be entirely truthful. The reasons for this being that Range Rover would have been depending on the scientists to find an answer that benefits their company. As a result of these bias findings we cannot progress our knowledge any further. It is because of this that I feel we have condemned ourselves to lives of ignorance. The halt to intellectual advancement is not solely the fault of the scientists; we are all to blame. The ignorance in our lives is only further perpetuated by the laissez-faire way in which we simply accept information without question. By not asking these questions and aspiring to increase our knowledge we can never hope to reach the equilibrium between understanding and ignorance. An example that may help to clarify this declaration that I am attempting to justify would be the paradigm shift of the Sun's pattern of orbit. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although this example verifies the first point that, by knowing the answer to the historical question, there is simply nothing left to know about this question, it also contradicts it. In considering this example we relies there is a reiterates of the point prior, the point that suggests, yes, in expanding our knowledge we increase our ignorance. The reason for this being that in order to be certain the knower is not ignorant the knower must be 100% certain their knowledge is correct. The historian who thinks that Archduke Franz Ferdinand has died peacefully in his sleep is wrong, and therefore by knowing the false answer he has still increased his horizon of ignorance. To conclude this argument I feel that the best answer to suggest to a knower is that, yes it is valid, but at the same time, it is not. The knower must think about the context to which they are applying this idea to before they can make a reasonable judgment. By first considering the context, whether it be science or history, or art even, they have progressed further in their ignorance, and if the knower is assured that the knowledge they have gained is 100% accurate they again have come even closer to understanding the extent to which increasing our knowledge increases the horizon of ignorance. It is only after both of these variables have been considered that the knower can truly reach equilibrium of knowledge to ignorance. ...read more.

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