What Is Knowledge?

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Tasha Sapien
PHI- 103
February 6, 2013
Dr. Graviss
What Is Knowledge?
What comes to mind when one is asked about the definition of knowledge? This question was especially difficult for me to answer because I am not sure exactly what it means, but I know what it entails and how to acquire it. it is understandable that there are many different levels of knowledge which are usually measured in the amount of degrees that one earns or even personal experience. When I thought of knowledge, education was one of the first words that I thought about. I am attending Grand Canyon University so that I may gain more knowledge in my field of study and have gained knowledge in many other aspects of my life as well. It is important to understand how one can acquire knowledge which can be proven through Gettier’s counter- example of knowledge. It is important to understand the definition of knowledge, the possibility of having knowledge and the personal viewpoints of some of the greatest philosophers.

The meaning of knowledge can be very difficult to define because each person will have his or her own implication. Knowledge is a justified and true belief. Knowledge may be true based on what is indeed true and what is believed to be true. There are indeed counter examples to prove this definition wrong in which Edmund Gettier’s problem occurs. In one of Gettier’s counterexample of knowledge, Smith and jones are running for president in the elections. Smith believes that Jones will be elected president because he might have been told so by the campaign and the fact that the man that will win the election is the one who has ten coins in his pocket. He knew that Jones had ten coins in his pocket and knew that Jones would be elected. Unexpectedly, Smith won the election and actually had ten coins in his pocket without knowing it. The whole point of this counterexample is to determine if Smith knowing that the man with ten coins in his pockets winning the election is indeed knowledge (Gettier, 2012).

Moreover, the problem with skepticism of knowledge can be explained by the allegory of Plato’s Cave. His theory questioned the reliability of knowledge, specifically through the senses. In the cave, the men had never actually known of the outside world but only the knowledge they were realizing through their senses, which were symbolized as the chains on the men. The men only knew of the shapes of the people’s shadows on the walls. When one of them became free and saw with his own eyes what those shadows were, Plato’s aim was for us to understand that we know what we think we know. The allegory of the cave explains that absolute knowledge is not knowledge of the real world, because the knowledge of the world is always relative (Skepticism, n.d.).

Additionally, the possibilities of having knowledge are endless. The main reason that schools and colleges were created was so that students could gain a higher understanding and, in turn, more knowledge. Knowledge can be acquired through role models in life, schools, and life experiences. At a very young age, I did not know how to read or write. My parents, also my role models, helped me to learn the basics of knowledge in the best way that they could. My parents were able to guide me and support me as I learned the basic fundamentals in life. The different role models in my life have inspired me to learn more knowledge whether it may be in fashion, my religion, my education or anything else. My personal role model is Jesus Christ, which is why I follow and obey Him in the best way that I can. When I have that desire to follow Him, I must first gain knowledge of Him through biblical references in order to know how I would want to live my life. Teachers and professors in college have helped guide me to attain my knowledge by different education strategies.

Most importantly, it is only possible to obtain knowledge by having faith. We do not always have to believe in God to have faith. It is...
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