Skepticism Theory of Knowledge

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The source of human knowledge remains a debatable issue due to the existence of diverse philosophical arguments. The skepticism theory involves questioning the likelihood or certainty of acquaintance. According to Vaughn, people lack knowledge in fundamental ways and their beliefs are unfounded or false (276). Skeptics question the sufficiency or dependability of knowledge assertions and its foundational sources. Ancient and contemporary skeptics have established arguments to challenge the claims of dogmatic theologians, philosophers, and scientists. For instance, David Hume is a prominent skeptic driven into cynicism such notions as the external world, causation, and inductive reasoning (Vaughn 279). Skepticism contributes to concerns regarding primary sources of knowledge, including perceptions, memory, introspection, and reasoning. In this regard, epistemological skepticism depicts the primary sources, such as perceptions and reasoning, as unreliable.

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Perception generates knowledge by concentrating on the senses to acquire information about the world. However, it can give a representative view of the world, which might not be true. Hence, it becomes a challenge to justify beliefs or knowledge of things outside a person. For instance, an individual might perceive a submerged rod as bent, but this could be wrong. Perception represents the rod as appearing in a particular way, but it turns out that the view is erroneous. Consequently, an individual cannot justify the validity of perceptive knowledge.

In addition, memory is an unreliable source of knowledge due to the problem of forgotten evidence. People forget things and cannot justify remembering experiences since they erase original evidence that validate their beliefs. For example, an individual can save a password but forget how or when it was created in the first place. As a result, they cannot justify their dependence on memory as a source of acquaintance.

Moreover, introspection is a source of insight, which encourages people to be confident in the accuracy of their perceptions instead of others’ view of them. The problem with introspection is that a person cannot access their unconscious mental processes. For instance, people use visual perceptions to identify and react to external objects, but they cannot access the unconscious processes. Consequently, it is hard to justify introspection as a source of knowledge.

Moreover, reasoning is undependable because the output arises from faulty mental encoding. Thus, explanations about people’s beliefs of the world are contradictory. For example, individuals might have diverse portrayals of a red, spherical ball placed on a table. Some people might view the ball as spherical, while others might recognize it as round; color-blind persons will have a contradictory view. Thus, it is difficult to trust human reasoning due to uncertainty.

The unreliability of sources of knowledge implies that it can trick people into believing falsehoods. However, this unpredictability does not mean an individual is always mistaken when relying on perceptions, memory, introspection, and reasoning. Furthermore, it does not infer that a person is always incorrect. Importantly, there are mechanisms to fix some of the weaknesses identified in each source of knowledge. For instance, education about cognitive bias and rational mistakes can help people to introspect proficiently. Conversely, pragmatism is a sensible answer since it persuades people to consider something true if it is useful. People also believe in the external world through the “making and taking as true” variant. A person cannot be wrong to assume that objects are real when using them and attaining positive results. This way, an individual can know that the words in their head relate to something in the external world.

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Work Cited

Vaughn, Lewis. Philosophy Here and Now: Powerful Ideas in Everyday Life. 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, 2018.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, February 9). Skepticism Theory of Knowledge. Retrieved from https://psychologywriting.com/skepticism-theory-of-knowledge/

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, February 9). Skepticism Theory of Knowledge. https://psychologywriting.com/skepticism-theory-of-knowledge/

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"Skepticism Theory of Knowledge." PsychologyWriting, 9 Feb. 2022, psychologywriting.com/skepticism-theory-of-knowledge/.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Skepticism Theory of Knowledge'. 9 February.

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PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Skepticism Theory of Knowledge." February 9, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/skepticism-theory-of-knowledge/.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Skepticism Theory of Knowledge." February 9, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/skepticism-theory-of-knowledge/.


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PsychologyWriting. "Skepticism Theory of Knowledge." February 9, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/skepticism-theory-of-knowledge/.