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To trust in something or someone can be seen as a subjective concept, nevertheless, I agree with the definition given by the British dictionary that states that it “implies instinctive unquestioning belief in and reliance upon something”, furthermore, is coherent for me to trust on our knowledge, a concept defined by Kant as a “true justified belief”1, when it is mediated ( justified by empirical and/or rational knowledge). The issue for me in this statement begins with the word “immediate”, a term that refers to the knowledge that is justified only by our intuition and sense perception.
This uncertainty that the term immediate provokes on me leads me to explore to what extent immediate knowledge is this a reliable source of knowledge?
Trusting in our immediate knowledge implies the reliability of our capacity to do intuitive good decisions, the idea that is challenged by Dan Gilbert, who argues that we commit systematic errors at the time of making instantaneous decisions due to the fact that we base these decisions on the context of the situation and on our past memories which depend on our brain is mechanisms and on how social constructions, our environment, and the media plays with it.
Therefore our manipulates perception and memory cannot be trusted because it will provoke counterproductive effects. Regarding the area of arts, if we follow Gilbert is perspective, we can not judge a piece of art for the first impression that we have about it, since we will not be able to appreciate it in an adequate manner.
I have experimented with this myself during my research for the process of my visual art portfolio. In the beginning, I exclusively selected those artworks that for my eyes, guided by nothing more than my immediate knowledge, seem to have a certain beauty. Nevertheless, after work for several weeks on my piece, I understood the importance of the message on it, furthermore, I started to look again at different pieces of art but this time using my reasoning, my empirical knowledge and also linking it to the personal story of the artists and the messages that they wanted to transmit realizing that the ‘beauty’ seen before by me was nothing compared with the real beauty of the artworks.
‘An alternative view to this may be Dennis Dutton’s approach to the intuitive perception of art. In contrast with Gilbert’s statement, he argues that our immediate appreciation of art does not depend on our culture, what we learn through it, and its effect on our brains and memory, but instead, he attaches it to multiple evolutionary adaptations suffered by the homo sapiens during the Pleistocene period. In which case our human nature has adapted to process the external information that is given by our world and understand it in a more accurate and precise way. Leading us to the conclusion that our intuition may be trustful, that our immediate knowledge could be even more reliable than the mediate knowledge that requires the process of data and our rational thinking which is, according to his perspective, affected by our culture.
During IB arts classes we visited the Dilijan arts museum, we first explored it by ourselves and then had a guided tour. Therefore, in the beginning, we analyzed each artwork by ourselves, in this exploration I changed my opinion of each artwork after analyzing it for minutes, and it was later confirmed that my first appreciation, the one led by my sense perception and intuition tend to be more related with the universal agreement of the meaning and value of the piece. This experience is indeed related to the idea of our intuition’s evolution since it shows how my intuition was connected with the ones of those who analyze it all over the world.
Our senses have physical limitations and therefore are subjective making immediate knowledge unreliable. This can be manifested in the area of Natural Sciences where multiple scientists that rely on both previous information and technological apparatus to conduct their experiments. In my chemistry class, for example, I did a lab report where I relied on the capacity of my eyes to determine where the solution was turbid enough to impede my ability to see through it. This mechanism in which I did the experiment led to a higher percentage error that those experiments that do not depend on sense perception, showing that immediate knowledge is not as trustworthy as technological apparatus such as the ph meter.
Nevertheless, the fact that sense perception has been a core factor in the development of science challenges this perspective. This point of view argues that our senses were the ones that conducted human development and therefore our sense perception is as reliable as all the others kind of knowledge since they all emerge from it. Regarding my personal experience, it was my sense perception the one that allowed me to identify, in the first place, the influence that different food had in my organism, what was later confirmed by several medical studies,
After analyzing different perspectives I think that immediate knowledge has multiple layers and branches, some of them as Gilbert say, highly dependent on our social constructions, whereas others, such as our touch sense,are indeed related to the process of evolution in which we are involved and it can be both: the spark that gives place to our success or the one that leads us in the wrong direction.
Therefore, what is crucial for me, is not just the balance between meditated and immediate knowledge, but also the understanding of the strengths and flaws of immediate knowledge so then we can apply it when is more appropriate.
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