To What Extent Do We Need Evidence to Support Our Beliefs in at Least Two Areas of Knowledge?

Topics: Scientific method, Science, Hypothesis Pages: 4 (1387 words) Published: August 27, 2010
Question 4: To what extent do we need evidence to support our beliefs in at least two areas of knowledge?

“A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence.” (David Hume). Evidence can be defined as proof to back up one’s hypothesis or beliefs. Beliefs are preconceived notions that people have on a subject one is passionate about. The focal areas of knowledge are the natural sciences and history and the focal ways of knowing are perception and reasoning. In the natural sciences, the scientific method is implemented to test hypotheses and a conclusion is drawn from the results collected. History deals with events and eras that have occurred in the past therefore perfect knowledge can be obscured. Therefore the only way to seek knowledge about past events is through evidence. Beliefs can also be considered knowledge claims but different ways of knowing used to gain knowledge in different areas of knowledge. In history, the predominant way of knowing is perception and language to some extent whereas in the natural sciences, it is reasoning. Evidence is important for every area of knowledge but it is more significant in some than others. While evidence is a valuable commodity to support knowledge claims in the natural sciences, it is virtually relied on in history.

Reasoning is one of the primary ways of knowing when it comes to formulating beliefs or hypotheses. It’s actually the sole way of knowing that is used when it comes to making a hypothesis. For example, when I recently investigated the effect of the duration of electrolysis[1] on the mass of the electrode[2], I believed that more time would increase the rate of electrolysis. Reasoning is essential when it comes to forming a belief because there needs to be a reason behind why I think time effects electrolysis. Prior to conducting a science experiment, people use their knowledge of the sciences to form a hypothesis. When I made the hypothesis, I had at least some knowledge about chemistry....
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