Early Thoughts On Knowledge

An old paper I dug out of my college career

| November 25th, 2020

Below you will find, in full and unedited, the paper I wrote over nine years ago to complete my epistemology course in college. I just reread it. *shakes head* I'm not sure what to think of it honestly. I think I conveyed some of my thoughts well, but in other parts I'm left thinking a five year old wrote the sentences; no offense to any five year olds out there reading this. While I still hold many of the beliefs I lay out in the paper I definitely have changed, and hopefully progressed, my personal philosophy on knowledge. I'm sure I'll later write a full article dissecting the paper if only to amuse myself and be, well, prior-self deprecating. Without further adieu, enjoy.

As it stands, my theory of knowledge over the course of this semester has not really changed per-say. I will however have to say that my theory has more resolution to it now. I have more of a reference to go off of in terms of other ideas and solutions to the problem. This actually works perfectly into my theory, a theory still, unfortunately or not, that is based on relativity and skepticism. Now before we start jumping to conclusions I want to state that these words, “relativism” and “skepticism”, I give my own meaning to. I don't care what these words define in the philosophical field or in any other for that matter. I simple use them to describe my position because of their place in the English language as being words that are commonly known and have a general definition similar to my own. So to begin my theory of knowledge let me first define these words. Once you understand their underlying meaning, we can proceed to what I think knowledge is, or could be.

When I speak of relativism I begin with Einsteins theory of general and special relativity, but I don't stop there. I take his ideas in the scientific realm of physics to the extreme. I truly believe that everything is probably relative in this world. When I say this, I really mean everything, I would even include the world itself in this. But you say, “Cory, the Earth is, for all intents and purposes, a spherical object. That's not relative to anything!” I say, “Of course it is!”, it is relative to our perception of shapes. It is a sphere, because it is not a cube, nor a cylinder, a cone, or a cubicuboctahedron. Now, I know having such a strong position like this is going to bring some criticism from people that think differently. You might have a good idea of what I would say to them. Besides, a theory that seems less radical is only really perceived that way because we relate it to more radical theories. Using that frame of mind you could say those theories are just as radical in their own right. So, like it or not, everything is relative in my world. Yes, that last statement was relative, and yes I meant to say my world. You see, for the world itself to also be relative it must relate to something, one possibility being my perception. Another possibility is that this world of relativeness I have construed is relative to a world which is the real one. Well, I won't even start to get into my idea that the idea of relativity may be relative to this world. Let us just leave it at that.

So I move on to skepticism. You may have realized that during my explanation of relativism I said the word 'probably'. Yes, that was purposeful. I'll explain. I am a skeptic. When it gets right down to it, I am a skeptic of anything and everything. Again, when I say this, I'm using my own definition. For example, I am right now, if I think real hard mind you, skeptical that I'm actually typing in the characters that make these words. Perhaps the characters are streaming directly from my mind, and this whole tapping on buttons is just a rouse. Before I go on, I just want you to know that I don't actually think that, it would be way too improbable, which is a very important point. I use the word skepticism to culminate my theory that anything and everything is possible. I really think that anything, you name it, is possible. The key here is possible. I do not state probable. In fact, to be more specific, I believe anything is possible however very few things are probable. It is this base of probable occurrences that make up our world. My skepticism stems from this belief. Since I believe anything is possible, I have to acknowledge that any of my perceptions may be wrong. I have to, of course, include within this the possibility of my theories stated here being wrong. If you think about it this fact doesn't weaken my position, it actually strengthens it. It puts my theory in a kind of flux, where it really can't be repudiated. So, now that you have an idea of what I'm talking about when I use the words relativity and skepticism, I can explain to you what I think my theory of knowledge is.

I gather my knowledge in a very systematic way. I do this on the fly, without much thought of the process, and always using my best ability to combat emotions that add even more relativity that I, obviously at this point, do not need. I first acknowledge the ideas of relativism and skepticism that I defined above. I say acknowledge because I don't really spend any time thinking about them unless necessary. It would be ridiculous to ponder all possibilities and reference points, not to mention that it would take a really long time. No, to obtain knowledge, I must only acknowledge these ideas. I realize to obtain knowledge, be productive in any sense of the word, and continue forward in my life I have to rather focus on what is most probable and most obvious. I re-reference my mind in a sense. I assume that in terms of relativity and skepticism, reality is only 0.1 percent of the possible relative world. That is knowledge. Everything we perceive and what we seem to give the most probable outcomes to is knowledge. Reality itself, not the 99.9 percent of the possible relative world is knowledge. Everything we think, do, perceive, and ultimately acknowledge is what culminates knowledge in the grand scheme of things.