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What Is Knowledge Essay

1595 words - 7 pages

Until taking philosophy class and carefully dipping my toes into the realm of epistemology, I thought of knowledge as something pretentious. Something that studious people would keep in their arsenal, something that seldom gave teachers their undeserved arrogance. After my first philosophy class, I was not proven wrong but I was proven to be oblivious. The word "Knowledge" bared so many meanings and implications that it left me hanging clueless. The best I could do was simply read great philosopher's writings on theory of knowledge and attempt to get a grasp on the fundamentals of ...view middle of the document...

("taking account" means to analyze a complex into components of simples) Plato's main concern for this theory is that the distinction between complex and components is extremely vague. If complexes are mere sums of composites, it goes without saying that in order to know what complex is, one must know what those composites are. This contradicts the hypothesis that simples cannot be known. On the other hand, If the whole of composites are more than mere sum of composites, this would imply that the whole has something missing from the sum. However, something missing makes the object neither sum nor a whole. Thus, the theory faces a dead end, thereby, Plato rejects the Dream Theory. In Republic, Plato approaches knowledge from an abstract point of view. Although Plato does not straightforwardly define knowledge, he gives an object of knowledge. Prior to discussion on knowledge there is a need to clarify a few Platonic concepts in the Republic. In chapter 9, Plato mentions his well-renowned allegory of line, sun and the cave. First, the line consists of four segments, A, B, C and D. Segment A and B represent the visible realms, the realm which we detect with our basic senses, more commonly known as reality. Segment C and D are the intelligible realms, constituted from unchanging and absolute entities, known as "Forms". These Forms allows us to sense the visible realm. According to Plato,

objects of knowledge should be exclusive to Forms. Among these Forms, the Form of the Good holds the utmost importance. According to Plato, Form of the Good is the source of every other Forms, thus the object of ultimate knowledge. The Form of the Good is symbolized as the sun, as the sun brings other beings to existence. Lastly, the allegory of the cave draws a scene where humans are since birth, tied into a cave with eyes fixed to the a wall inside the cave. Behind them is a fire and behind the fire are statues which casts shadows that they can see. It is merely the reflections that they recognize to be reality and they are oblivious to the true form of entities. Through this imagery, Plato implies the severeness of our ignorance. Yet, Plato leaves margin for hope when he mentions the existence philosophers who are capable of escaping from the cave and face the sun, and face the ultimate knowledge. In both Theaetetus and Republic, Plato eventually claims ignorance to what knowledge is. I do not have a lucid definition of knowledge either, however with my limited reasoning skills, I would say, to acquire ...

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