Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


knowledge to me

In my 16 years of living, I’ve learned that everyone has different ideas on everything, which also includes knowledge. My proposition of knowledge is: people can acquire knowledge just through living. The three premises I have for this conclusion is…

Premise 1: We gain knowledge everyday through experiences.
Premise 2: Knowledge is subjective.
Premise 3: Knowledge is the ability to process thoughts into ideas.
Conclusion: People can acquire knowledge just through living.

My first point is a point that most people can agree with and understand. As kids we fall on pavement, get a cut on our leg, it bleeds, we clean it up, and it forms a scab. That one experience provokes the thought that maybe every time I have a cut, a scab will form. As we grow older, we get bigger cuts because we do more dangerous things and every time it forms a scab, no matter how big or how small the wound is. This is an example on gaining knowledge through experiences regardless if we’re in a classroom or not.

My second point is also pretty easy for everyone to agree on. Some may not think that knowing a cut turns into a scab is considered “knowledge” but some people do. My third point explains what knowledge is better.

My third point can be argued against. Many would say that thoughts and ideas are essentially the same thing. Thoughts produce ideas and ideas produce thoughts, so what is the difference between the two? A thought is just something that comes to mind but an idea is breaking down the thought into a purpose. The ability to process a cut becoming a scab is an idea. But the thought of scabs and cuts but not putting the two together, to me, isn’t knowledge. A better example is how human language works, you can learn all the words in the world but if you can’t create sentences and use grammar, then you don’t know how to use the language. In this example, the idea is using the language but the individual words are the thoughts.

My conclusion is easy to argue. But personally I think that my senses are reliable enough to acquire knowledge and they are reliable enough to process experiences.

Immanuel Kant describes my ideology pretty well. I do think I’m a transcendental idealist because I believe in both rationalism and empiricism. Kant described knowledge as “a unity of consciousness, an ongoing process of synthesizing experience, rational, and critical thought.” I agree with his idea that it is an ongoing process, people learn every single day in their lives.

My personal experiences with learning occur mostly in a classroom, but a place where I’ve also learned a lot from is the pool. From the two lifeguard courses I’ve taken, I realized that you can read as much as you want on first aid and how to meet the fitness standard, but actually practicing and being given scenarios where you have to perform first aid and having experience in swimming is much more valuable. In my very first day of class, the instructor explained the steps to do CPR: check for fire, wire, gas, glass, thugs, and drugs before you start. That already was very overwhelming and hard to remember. So when my instructor gave me my first scenario it was much easier just remembering the steps on how to do CPR than each individual step. When it is a life or death situation, I’ve learned that trusting your senses and previous experience is much more important than Kongfuzi’s theory that if we can recognize we don’t know something it is knowledge. Saying we don’t know something may lead us to the right direction of knowing it but applying your knowledge from experiences before is more useful.




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