Epistemology Reason Essay
Is it true to say that there is no truth? The very concept itself is contradictory, but is still a topic worth exploring. If a person were to simply go about their life believing everything they ever heard or experienced to be true, they could be deceived without their own knowledge. Say they overheard someone talking about Sam Houston when they stated, “… and then Sam Houston claimed her land. ” Rightfully, without any other knowledge but their heard facts, the listener would assume “Sam Houston” to be a “Samantha” due to the possessive pronoun “her.
” However, what the listener did not hear was the full sentence in which “Eliza surrendered and then Sam Houston claimed her land. ” By basing their belief off of their senses of hearing, the listener was unable to acknowledge the truth behind the pronoun “her. ” Similarly, in the case of epistemology, truth should not be simply based off of senses, or feelings, but off of sound reasoning. However, sometimes senses can be useful in arriving at a proven truth. The rationalist response to the view of Epistemology states that “all knowledge ultimately comes through reason” (Cowan/Spiegel, 52).
This view claims that knowledge is proven true through deducing what is true from possible truths, as opposed to using the senses. As Descartes reasoned, truth can be acquired if every belief is tested to be false. Then, if it is proven that something cannot be false, it is therefore true. By taking a Biblical rationalist response to the view of Epistemology and using faith, Christians are able to acquire sound surety in their faith and view on what is true. Logic points to the rationalist response over all other views of epistemology.
For example, the skeptical response states that truth is unattainable and we have no knowledge. However, if this view is to be believed, then it disproves its own claim by showing that there is truth in believing there is no truth. Skeptics put forth absurd hypotheses that cannot be proven false, but at the same time have no way of being shown true. For example, The Matrix, or Descartes’ belief in an “evil genius” who could potentially be controlling every aspect of life and humans have no way of proving this false.
Summarily, the skeptic believes that there ultimately is no knowledge. This view largely contradicts Christianity because the Bible continually states from Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” to Revelation 3:15 “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! ” that knowledge does indeed exist. Therefore, if Christians believe in the scriptures, they also must believe that knowledge does exist.
Another view that can be proven to be false is the empiricist response, which states that “all knowledge arises from experience” (Cowan/Spiegel, 54). This is the view is based largely off of feelings, sensations, and the experiences people learn from them. However, as exemplified in the introduction, sometimes senses fail. Anesthetics, holograms, sleep deprivation, noise recordings, candles and so many other factors can easily misguide senses. Proverbs 23:33 states, “Your eyes will see strange sights, and your mind will imagine confusing things.
” This verse shows that the mind doesn’t always perceive what is being seen correctly. On the other hand, many people in the Bible were guided by their senses in visions, miracles, angels, and other events. Many times the Bible describes foolish people as being senseless (Psalm 92:6, Ecclesiastes 10:3, Jeremiah 5:21) but the senses can be swayed by the devil. 2 Timothy 2:26 says “and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
” So while senses can be used by God, they can also be used by the devil and ultimately should not be the deciding factor in determining what is true. People ought to not always rely on senses, but rather they should rely on the reasoning behind the senses and testing them to be false to determine what is ultimately true. As Galileo alleged, “Where the senses fail us, reason must step in. ” A Biblical rationalist response is the most logical response to take while trying to understand epistemology largely because it deduces all false options and true knowledge is only acquired through seeking God.
By using Descartes method of proving false beliefs false to find what is true, rational thinking deduces what is true. Proverbs 1:7 says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge. ” Christians are only able to start to be able to attain knowledge when they start to reason and grasp how great God truly is. Only when people’s thoughts are in the correct perspective can they begin to reason properly. Through awe, Christians are able to truly contain a proper fear through respect for God, and with that in turn, truly begin to know.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 5 November 2016
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