The most formal and probably also most correct (in TOK sense) way to define knowledge is something like “something to regard as true beyond doubt”, or in other words something which is true. Personally, I believe that since the definition of knowledge says that what you know has to be true, it is incorrect to say that you know something. Who are we to claim what’s true and what’s not, when even the greatest of scientist and thinkers have claimed to know something which some hundred years later has been proved false? To simplify it, as Manuel in Fawlty Towers would have said; “I know nothing”.Order now
This discussion, I believe, is not specifically about art or science, but it is a discussion about knowledge in itself. In order to gain complete knowledge of the world, “knowing” must be possible. Thus I believe that the first question to be raised is, can we know anything? My answer to that would be probably not. There are two main requirements for knowledge, the first is that something which is universally true must exist, and the second requirement is that you find this universal truth. Those ‘requirements of knowledge’ leads us on to a very important sub-question, does truth exist, and if so, is it possible to identify it?
It might very well be that there is something ‘out there’ that is absolutely universally true beyond doubt, I have no reason to proclaim otherwise, but the real problem would be knowing if what you claim to know is universally true or not, and it is that, I believe, is impossible. In other words, although I don’t deny the existence of absolute truth(s) , I do claim that it is not possible for us to with 100% certainty identify these possible truths, and hence my answer to the question is: no, we cannot know anything.
It follows that if it is not possible to know anything, then knowing is impossible, and thus nothing, including art and science, can give us a complete knowledge of the world. This conclusion, in a nutshell, answers the question1, but I need about 400 words extra to fulfill the requirements of this essay-work. These words will be used to discuss the reliability of my conclusion, and the boundaries limiting me when writing. It is important to remember that I am in chains when writing this essay, there are boundaries which I cannot see nor break, and thus I consider my own conclusion not to be trustworthy.
First of all, everything I believe I know is based on my inputs from this world, and the amount of information reaching me through my senses compared to the amount of information available is fairly small. It is quite natural to say that a conclusion meant to include everything, based on nearly nothing, is bound to have a large percentage error. Ergo, the reliability of my conclusion is torn to pieces by the fact that I’m basing it on so little, when it is supposed to apply for so much.
The second boundary is the capacity of my mind. The limits of my cognitivity makes it fairly “wrong” to make conclusions about something as “big” as knowledge and absolute truth. I believe that what I perceive is information, and the conclusions I make based on what I perceive is nothing but new information, and, as said by Albert Einstein, “Information is not knowledge”. With this said, I can change my conclusion from “nothing can give a complete knowledge of the world”, to a very simple: I don’t know.