Doubt is the key to all knowledge. To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?

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Jang, DaeYong                

“Doubt is the key to all knowledge.” To what extent is this true in two areas of knowledge?

DaeYong Jang

Rene Descartes said, “” The reason why people consider what he said is reasonable is because we never are fully sure of the uncontested knowledge unless it is constantly under inquiry and proven to be a true statement. So the knowledge issue is same as the question topic: to what extend is the doubt key to knowledge? I believe that the doubt is “key” or important method through which the truth is discovered. First, the uncertainties are formulated using many different ways of knowing. These ways include sensory perception, logical reasoning, culture and educations. Then, an uncertainty is formed using one of the ways of knowing, next convincing evidence is formed around the doubt, and once that evidence has been formed and tested, either the doubt disproves the former uncontested knowledge, or it further supports the theory, which turns into knowledge. Such is the method of doubt; it is one of the factors that I believe influences the expansion of knowledge in science, math, religion, and history.

The considerable increase in the quantity of information, such as invention of linear perspective and publication of De humani corporis fabrica libri septem that occurred during the Renaissance times, can be contrasted to almost no knowledge gained during medieval times. The reason for this was the involvement of religion and the suppression of doubts. The religion is not influenced by much ways of knowing, but the culture and education affect where I stand between truth and religious belief. By education, I know that some questions are not answerable like is there a god, but with enough education I know some of the beliefs the church teaches are not absolute. During the Medieval times the Catholic Church suppressed great philosophers, for example Galileo Galilee, and the science didn’t expend as fast as did later in the Enlightenment period. Although a cliché example, Nicolaus Copernicus and the revised Julian calendar clearly demonstrates the power church had during Counter Reformation period. In the dedication to Derevolutionibus Orbium Coelestium in 1543, Copernicus mentioned the reform of the calendar proposed by the 5th Council of the Lateran (Irving A. Kelter). However, the fact that Copernicus’ heliocentric theory regarding the Earth’s motion directly contradicted Ptolemy’s geocentric theory and religious teachings of the church (David C. Lindberg) meant that these arguments eventually led the pope Paul V to condemn Copernicus’s work and temporarily bans it (D. W. Morehouse); as result the heliocentric theory was “lost” until it was challenged by scientists like Newton. Therefore, one can deem that doubt is a very important aspect to the expansion of knowledge. By taking away the right of people to have their suspicions, the Church eliminated the opportunity for accumulation and progression of knowledge. Some critiques argue that it was not the religious involvement that prevented the collection of the knowledge, but it was various disastrous events, such as black plague, slowed the process down until the problem was solved. However I think this statement is largely ignorable since the science’s main impetus for gathering knowledge was by repeating the experiments.

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In the field of the Physics, there is no uncontested law or fact, because the knowledge in the science is based on repeated experiments. So it seems unlikely that doubt will be hardly a key, which serves to disclose, or explain what is unknown. Consequently, Science is not affected by ways of knowing such as emotion or language because logical reasoning is largely universal. If enough data are supporting the theory that is hypothesized, people will believe that the theory is true. Yet doubt, I believe, has different meaning or use in the science. It is merely an another tool ...

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