Are Some Ways of Knowing More Likely Than Other to Lead to Truth?

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In an academic experience, the most fulfilling moment is the acquirement of truths, within the historical, scientific, literary or mathematical context which brings us closer to the Truth- the existential facts, the ultimate reality, the answer to why we are here. In the search of knowledge there is an underlying quest for certainty for which we strive through language, perception, reason and emotion. However in finding the truth, one must ask whether language hides or reveals truth, if we can trust our perception, if truth can be reasoned coherently and consistently or if a deep emotion suggests truth. Language is a conventional code of symbols that allows a sender to formulate a message that can be understood by a receiver, who then derives a meaning either through a definition or associating an image with it. However, it is much easier to define or imagine a square compared to “love” and such vagueness is an intrinsic problem in language and can be manipulated for political purposes. Such are the acts of Islamic fundamentalists who interpret the word “jihad” to mean “holy war” when it actually means “struggle.” Yet their manipulations of words recruit the vulnerable youth to terrorism which demonstrates the fallacy of words which are affected by interpretation based partially on personal experience and cultural background. However, it is this ambiguity in language that gives language its richness, providing the art of poetry, which can lead to existential Truth. Keats’ “Ode to Autumn” provides a different perspective on death. The metaphor of the “maturing sun” or the richness in autumnal decay takes us beyond everyday truths but exercises our mind in communicating a Truth of our existence: death. If Keats gives on angle on the reality of death then according to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic determinism, in a different language one has access to a different reality concluding that full reality can never be achieved by all. However, the fact that...
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