Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


I’ll say its spelled BerenstAin when I’m dead in my grave.

Knowledge is subjective. If I can “know” one thing about knowledge it is that what you know changes from person to person and depends on your senses and how you rationalize things. But I’m mostly gonna talk about empirical knowledge because that’s kinda easier.

P: Knowledge is based upon the senses and how you can rationalize what you sense

  • The two main theories of knowledge are Rationalism and Empiricism. Empiricism as the idea that knowledge comes from your senses and I kind of extend that to knowledge that comes from being told things because you’re using your senses to learn things even if they may be brought about by rational knowledge. Rationalism is the idea that knowledge comes from reason not experience. In my opinion, knowledge comes from a combination of rationalism and empiricism where you experience things and you can know how to use or recreate them without knowing how they work, but if you want to know how they work you need to rationalize them.

P: The senses can be subjective

  • This is more something that needs an example to explain. If you were to wear a pair of red tinted glasses, at first a white surface would appear red. After a while, as the colour-detecting cones in your eye get tired, looking at the same white surface it would appear white, even if you were still wearing the red glasses. If you were to take the glasses off at that point, the same white surface could appear green. Here your sight is interpreting the colour of the same white surface differently due to an outside effect. This is not objective. This occurs other places too, from not noticing pain during a fight-or-flight response to not hearing sounds of a high (or low) enough frequency.

C: Therefore, Knowledge based on the senses can be subjective

  • As shown before for a variety of reasons the senses, and the knowledge based on them, can be subjective. Have some examples:
  • Count the “f”s in this sentence
  • Basically any optical illusion ever but here’s a gallery of some fun ones
  • And relating to the title of this post, the Berenst*in bears. Which in case you weren’t aware, almost everyone remembers being spelled “Berenstein” but it is apparently spelled “Berenstain” (Which just seems twisted I’m sorry if you think it’s spelled with an A but you my friend are wrong)

The philosopher I can most closely link this to is Descartes with his “Sense Illusion” argument which, according to my notes went like this

    • There are times when our senses deceive us
    • We can detect these times when we have “non optimal” conditions
      • Sometimes the senses deceive us when conditions are not optimal
      • Whenever you are deceived by something you have reason to doubt it in the future
      • Therefore, we have reason to doubt beliefs derived from the senses when conditions are not optimal
        • Trouble being when we cannot tell when conditions are optimal or not

and was part of his “The only thing I can know for sure is that I am a thing that thinks” philosophical rebirth but where Descartes believes that you can’t know anything I’m more of the idea that you can know things, and these things can be true, but depending on how your senses perceive things you might know things differently than the people around you.


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