"What I tell you three times is true" (Lewis Carroll) Might this formula- or a more sophisticated version of it- actually determine what we believe to be true?

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Klaudia Loretti, D-0721- 020, page

Question 2: “What I tell you three times is true.” (Lewis Carroll) Might this formula- or a more sophisticated version of it- actually determine what we believe to be true?

First of all, let me rephrase the question to make matters easier: do we believe in things because we are told many times that they are true or because we ourselves have been able to prove ourselves that they are true? I believe that the best manner to establish whether this formula actually determines what we believe to be true is to test it in different situations. In other words, as the “knower,” I will investigate whether Lewis Carroll’s formula works in various areas of knowledge and life experiences. We see that in some situations, this formula does determine what we believe to be true due to our intellectual or physical limitations, convention, emotions or language. Yet in others, what we believe to be true is shaped through experimentation and reasoning skills and thus, repetition is not necessary to form our beliefs.

Let’s use the natural sciences, physics in particular, as the first area of knowledge. I will make use of the “law of conservation of momentum” as an example to test this formula.  The question that we must ask ourselves is: do we believe in this law because we were told that it is valid or because we saw/tested this theory? In other words, do we take what the teacher told us for granted? It seems as though when we take upon the role of a scientist, we need physical and empirical proof in order to accept something as the truth. The physics course, which I attended, for example, was based on experiments. In class, we tested and retested theories and laws through them. They gave us proof that they were correct. Further, experience from outside the classroom observations of the world also gave me proof. Therefore, I can say that my knowledge of the laws is not based on what someone convinced me to believe. It was formed through experimentation and reasoning as a way knowing.

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Yet what happens when we encounter theories or beliefs in the natural sciences that cannot be tested at our level? For example, Newton’s First Law of Motion, which states that in the absence of an unbalance force, a body in motion will remain in motion. We can’t test this theory since we don’t have the physical capabilities. As we encounter things that we cannot test, we use logic and trust. If the theory seems logical and it was told to us by a teacher we hold the theory to be true, even if it has not been proven. We trust ...

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