The Problem of Possibility of Accurate Knowledge: Is True Knowledge Possible?June 28, 2021
The problem of possibility of knowledge, “Is absolute knowledge possible without doubt?” This question has been one of the basic questions sought to be answered in the philosophy of knowledge.
Regarding the problem of the possibility of true knowledge, the ancient philosophers focused on the possibility of knowledge, that is, whether it is possible to make sure that knowledge is true, before questioning the source of knowledge.
Some of the philosophers have argued that man cannot reach the knowledge of reality. This view is called skepticism. Some philosophers have also defended the view that true knowledge is possible. This view is called dogmatism.
WHAT IS DOGMATISM?
Within the framework of epistemology, the views that argue that correct knowledge is possible are called “dogmatism”. Philosophers, who defend that true knowledge is possible, have defended different views on the source of knowledge. Philosophers first sought answers to the following questions:
“What is the source of correct information?”
“How to reach the right information?”
For example, according to Socrates, correct knowledge is present in the mind at birth. According to Plato, true knowledge is the knowledge of the real being, the ideas, and this knowledge is obtained through reason. According to Aristotle, the mind is not the carrier of knowledge, but the producer. According to John Locke, all our knowledge comes from experience.
The philosophical systems that answer the problem of the possibility of true knowledge are skepticism and dogmatism.
IS CORRECT INFORMATION POSSIBLE?
In the First Age, people accepted every information they reached through their sense organs as true.
During this period, people; They firmly believed that there is a reality independent of the human mind, that the human mind can know this reality with certainty and that it can obtain this knowledge through the senses. Since the source of knowledge is based only on the sense organs, it is called “naive empiricism” (a methodless and systemless empiricism).
In this period, knowledge was not seen as a philosophical problem. Instead, it was tried to obtain the knowledge of existence.
Indifference to the subject of knowledge ended in the era of modern philosophy. In this period, epistemology became a philosophical discipline on its own.
The Value of Knowledge Problem
When people begin to think about knowledge, questions such as:
“Human; can he really know existence and objects?”
“Does the information accurately reflect the object?”
“Can the information be certain?”
“What is the criterion if the information can be certain?”
To think about these and similar questions means to search for the value of knowledge.
The Source of Information Problem
On the other hand, being able to say valid and consistent things about the value of knowledge required questioning where the knowledge originated and how it was born. This requirement also raised the following questions:
“How is our knowledge formed?”
“What are the factors that play a role in the formation of our knowledge: reason, experiment, intuition or something else?”
“What source or sources does the information arise from?”
To think about these and similar problems means to search for the source of information.
The attitude of philosophers is expressed as dogmatism because they defend with strong and absolute belief that it is possible to reach true knowledge. These views, which adopt the same attitude about the possibility of reaching the right information, but differ on the source of the information, are as follows:
Compiled by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Atatürk University Department of Sociology Lecture Notes for Grade 1 “Introduction to Philosophy” and Grade 3 “History of Contemporary Philosophy” (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook