Beans and Cornbread

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Andrew Reynolds
October 19, 2012
Intro to philosophy
How do you know what you know?

For many years, philosophers asked, “how do we know what we know”? Socrates said that he was the wisest man alive because he knew that he did not know. He knew that it was impossible to know everything. To begin to think about how we know what we know, we have to first know the meaning of knowledge, the meaning of belief, and how they are different. We also have to know if it is rational to have a belief or not.

Knowledge can be defined as, information in the mind: general awareness or possession of information, facts, ideas, truths or principles. That being said, how do we gain that knowledge? There are a few different ways that one can gain knowledge. One way is through personal experiences. By actually doing something, you know that through the experience you have in your mind. For example, you are walking through the living room and you stub your toe on the coffee table experiencing pain. This type of knowledge we pick up early in life. Another way we pertain knowledge is through someone else’s experiences. For example, like a teacher explaining something to a student like 2+2 equals 4 or c-a-t spells cat. These are things that other people know that they are sharing with you. Another way of gaining knowledge is through science. The reason that we know that everything revolves around the sun and that the earth is not the center of our galaxy is because of science. That is also why we know that the earth is round not square.

Another term we have to define in trying to determine how we know what we know is belief. We have to know the difference between knowledge and belief and when a belief is rational and irrational. Belief can be defined as a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in something or person. Just looking at the definitions, it appears that there is a difference in knowledge and belief. For one, knowledge...
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