Talons Philosophy

An Open Online Highschool Philosophy Course


Everyone is responsible for what they know by Ashlee

Simplifying my theory of knowledge, I managed to summarise how I perceive knowledge in a few bullet points:

  • You should withhold judgement before you investigate the situation
  • belief should exist in correlation to validity and true in order to be perceived as knowledge
  • knowledge is subjective; for every object or matter there exists different ideas
  • Without a human mind that can think, the existence of knowledge is impossible

And with pondering lead by these thoughts, I concluded  that with all forms of knowledge follows epistemic responsibility. The thought process (shout out to Mr. Jackson for guiding me in finalising my rather jumbled and disoriented mind) looks something like this:

  • Premise 1: Knowledge tends to affect the way people view the world
  • Premise 2: the nature of one’s knowledge tends to have an implicit effect (even without the explicit intentions/actions) on the world in which we live in
  • Conclusion: All form of knowledge holds epistemic influence that affects our surroundings, no matter its intentions

Knowledge tends to affect the way people view the world:

Coinciding with the idea of knowledge being perpetuated as a belief, I believe that one’s knowledge is mainly rooted from the way they tend to perceive the world. Knowledge is often interpreted as facts, information, data and what the current education system teaches our adolescents, yet knowledge exists in forms of layers. Its concept is often believed to be subjective among many philosophers; Plato has argued that two conditions must be fulfilled in order for anyone to claim to withhold knowledge: truth and belief. From here, I much agree with Plato, except I personally put the emphasis on the “belief” aspect more than the “truth” part. Often, there is much contrast put between belief and knowledge, but I believe that knowledge stems from individual’s beliefs; if there exists enough motivation to pursue proving a point one possesses, then that is the reality in which they live in. The knowledge that individuals carry is a paradigm that has a direct effect on our emotions, opinions, and thought processes in general. In clarity, you see how much you know, and how much you know is directly impacted by what you believe in.

The nature of one’s knowledge tends to have an implicit effect (even without the explicit intentions/actions) on the world in which we live in:

After much investigation I decided that even without physical or verbal actions being taken, knowledge has its way of making an effect in our world. The way we treat others and our actions derive from the epistemic responsibility that is behind our choices. English philosopher, W.K. Clifford purposed that there is no such thing as a “private belief”, meaning that it spreads not always with our fullest intentions. One example I want to bring up to support this very premise is how epistemic responsibility is of absence when it comes to religion. Clifford suggested that a belief in a God was “epistemically irresponsible” and is proven as a “blind faith”. Clifford believed that a blind faith leads one to live an unexamined, unthoughtful life by ignoring facts and arguments.  Just like how a religious person’s reality consists of believing in a superior being and actions carried out may be through attempts in conversion (of others) to weekly rituals. Although, I want to accentuate even without those religious actions, a religious person relies on a God (possibly more than any other factors in their life), which has an impact on to which they show gratitude towards, thoughts on evolution, and personal morals. For instance, when I was younger I was much more indulged in Buddhism because I attended a Buddhist-kindergarten, located inside a Buddhist temple (I still can’t believe such thing exists, but it was honestly the coolest thing ever). My knowledge and beliefs was raw, and I had first-hand experience in obtaining them; such environment shaped the way I thought and the way in which I expressed myself. Through this, I want to prove that the Buddhist morals and values I gained directly impacted things like my diet, manners, behaviour and personality (to this day).

All forms of knowledge holds epistemic influence that affects our surroundings, no matter its intentions:   

Brought by the above premises, I believe that all forms of knowledge has an epistemic background that have an effect on our surroundings, in regardless of its intentions. The dictionary definition of epistemic responsibility is, “related to capacity to engage in adequate policies in search of truth, the ability to give reasons, or the readiness to revise one’s beliefs in the light of new evidence.”   This leads to my point of epistemic responsibility being what dictates our decisions. Epistemic responsibility is told to hold an idealistic character, that in order for knowledge to exist there must be someone who has the ability to process and appreciate the concepts. With the knowledge perceived by individuals comes an epistemic responsibility as the subjectivity of knowledge comes with a choice. After much thinking, I decided that people choose to believe certain things, and people choose to learn or educate themselves and because of this very thought, belief coexists with knowledge. Of course when the word “knowledge” is used in modern day society, its connotations are known as what is, “true”, but because I personally believe that knowledge is the nature and reality of one, it’s impossible for the person to not have authority over how their belief is shown through. To make it more precise:

  • belief requires knowledge in order to be valid
  • knowledge reflects the person’s reality and,
  • the belief that derives from one’s knowledge holds epistemic responsibility

So basically, our actions or words, or even sometimes our implicit intentions have a way of being carried out. Knowledge is only an illusion of seeming to be the “absolute truth”, but with different realities everyone holds, in no way is it achievable for there to be a universal truth; common-sense realism is viewing the world in a flat approach. From where I stand today, my understanding is that knowledge comes with much responsibility and is a direct reflection on the nature of one’s paradigm.






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