“The Knower’s Perspective Is Essential In The Pursuit Of Knowledge.” To What Extent Do You Agree? Essay Sample
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth” (Marcus Aurelius). The knower’s perspective is essential in the pursuit of knowledge. This aspect of knowledge is something worth considering because the nature of the human mindset is made in such a way that perspective always creates a filter on the way one interprets life and “truth”. One could even say that without perspective, there would be no need for the pursuit of knowledge. It is nearly unavoidable to remove one’s perspective when pursuing knowledge because it is often one’s experience that is the catalyst and motivation for why one feels the need to understand a subject(s) or concept(s) pursued. For example, a female living in the United States has an entirely different perspective on the life experiences and motivations that drive her to make particular decisions than a female living in Saudi Arabia. The design and structure of one’s life situation and circumstances such as gender, geological location, religion, cultural traditions, and so many other distinctions of life influence the perspectives that will drive the individual towards a certain set of principles and priorities in the way he or she pursues knowledge. To discuss the claim further I will propose this knowledge question- How does perspective influence the studies of the human sciences and the religious knowledge systems?
Next, I would like to state the imagination as a way of knowledge by exploring the following area in the human sciences of philosophy by sharing a quite by C.S. Lewis- “Reason is the natural order of truth; but imagination is the organ of meaning.” One must consider the limitation or freedoms of understanding that are often present or missing as a result of perspective. In most cases, the perspective of the individual is heavily connected to the justifications one can make about what they believe to be true. Especially when considering the philosophical studies (an area of human sciences), such as Plato’s theory on how one can claim to “know” something. The three requirements involving knowing something to be true begin with knowing a given claim is true; however, truth is a subjective matter, hence perspective is what makes it subjective. The very first rule of Plato’s theory on knowledge confirms how perspective is essential to the pursuit of knowledge. Even the second rule on “believing what you know” is something that involves perspective because belief is a direct result ingrained in the perspective of one’s life experiences. One believes truth according to perspective, and perspective exists as a result of exposure to various factors in life. The final requirement of Plato’s three points on the theory of knowledge is the requirement to have a justification for knowing something. This third and last requirement is what leads the individual to pursue knowledge in a manner that provides justification for one’s beliefs. Therefore, when using the imagination on the human science as the way of knowledge to understand this area of knowledge, the driving forces in philosophical discussions are often traced back to the perspective of the individual questioning or claiming a set of concepts or theories.
A perfect realistic example of how perspective will affect one’s philosophical views is the situation that is occurring in the Muslim world with the fanatical terrorist group ISIS. It is through faith the WOK, which empowers the fanatical group to justify their AOK. Their perspective on life, based on their Islamic background has set up a foundation for what they belief to be truth and their strong opinion on how people should live is based on this set of philosophical ideals that arise from perspective. In addition to the attitudes held by terrorist Islamic groups like ISIS, there are also the skewed perspectives of the opposing groups in the Western world who begin to perceive Islam through their negative experience of these terrorist groups. Is it not possible that if one were interested in understand the truth on the subject of Islam that one would need to be willing to change their perspective? Perhaps that is a key point to make in the claim that perspective is essential to the pursuit of knowledge. Whether one wants to learn something will be based on his or her perspective in the importance of the truth or “new knowledge” that they are willing to put time into pursuing this knowledge. In religious matters, the role of perception is incredible strong in dictating one’s motives for exploring truth.
In a Q& A with Reza Aslan, he so eloquently explains the problem of discussing the issues of religion through the two worldviews that are expressed. According to Aslan (2014), “one worldview [that] sees religion as insidious, as irrational, as responsible for all the evil in the world, and one worldview that sees religion as an ideology like any other ideology, no different whatsoever, from secularism or nationalism or socialism” (Singal, 2014). Is this statement not a perfect example of the “reason WOK,” showing how role perception plays on the pursuit of knowledge? Based on Aslan’s declaration, the perception of the terrorist groups and the perception of the western world fall into two separate worldviews that clash. Without the willingness to examine a new perspective the possibilities of religious wars and strife may continue as each separate group remains staunch in their belief systems.
The discussion on perspective being essential to the pursuit of knowledge is something that the skeptic would claim to be untrue. According to the skeptic, in the study of the human sciences, such as politics and sociology, it is not one’s own perspective that leads to the pursuit of knowledge, rather the coercion of a set group that wishes to manipulate, convince, and/or influence an individual or group of individuals to adopt a set of beliefs that would further the agenda of the group in power. Politics is an area of life where the WOK of reason, memory, and sense perception work collectively to formulate this reality to become confirmed. No individual falls into the attitudes of adopting conservative or liberal beliefs, but is rather influenced through a biased set of exposures to ideals that convinces the individual to embrace these conservative or liberal views. One could argue that it one’s parents or family whose upbringing instills these types of political positions in the individual, which would only confirm that it is still a set of belief systems designed to further a given agenda that is behind the parents own acceptance of their position that would have them raise their child as a conservative or liberal individual. These applications can also be said of religious groups throughout the world. Proof of the lack of validity in the claim on perspective being essential to the pursuit of this AOK of the human sciences, is apparent when examining the claim in this manner.
Evidence to support the skeptics claims on the adoption of belief systems, such as political and religious beliefs can be supported by social psychologist Richard Nisbett’s research article from 1977 “that showed that many of our choices and preferences are influenced by factors outside our conscious awareness” (Shackle, 2015). In a Q& A article written by Samira Shackle, she asks Nisbett if perhaps “we are perceiving the world inaccurately” (Shackle, 2015). It is important to mention this question in the counter claim on perception because if we truly perceive the world inaccurately, then how can perception be essential to the pursuit of knowledge? Considering Nisbett’s answer on the question being that we are constantly perceiving the world inaccurately, it confirms the lack of importance that perception plays in the pursuit of knowledge (Shackle, 2015). Perception does not appear to be as important or reliable a factor in the pursuit of knowledge as the original claim proves to confirm. Here the AOK of sense perception is used to debunk the theory on the importance of perception for the functionality of the world around us.
In concluding the discussion on whether or not the knowledge question on if perception is essential to the pursuit of knowledge, it is true. I must concur that it is easy to agree with the claim even when examining the skeptics argument. Needless to say, the argument supporting the claim on perception is obvious in the case of the various viewpoints on the religion of Islam and the recent scenarios and complexities that have arisen once again based on religious indifference. Fanatical groups of any kind are living proof of how perception lead one to pursue nearly any venture in life. Although the skeptic may claim that it is false perception, which may be true, it still involves perception as a primary factor in the way the people of the world relate to how they will proceed with knowledge.
Perception does not fall into an explainable category and remains somewhat of mysterious phenomenon making it all the more difficult for most people to understand. It is fair to assume that it is not perception that leads to the pursuit of knowledge, but from my own perception the concepts associated with the theories of knowledge all arise from some form of perception, which is why I must support the claim made by the title. My final thoughts on the topic leave me pondering how far humanity could go if a deeper understanding of perception were to be had. What type of knowledge would be possible with a solid understanding of the source of perception? Is there a way to control perception for a greater good? What would happen if one were born without the intellectual ability to perceive life? I am left even more astounded by the claim and its powerful implications as I finish the research and bring closure to the discussion for the paper and hope to gain a better sense of knowledge myself from the intrigue that this research and paper have brought forth for me. (Word Count = 1,513)
"Real Life Situations for Faith." Theoryofknowledge.net. 2014. Web. 7 Jan. 2016.
"Real Life Situation for the Human Sciences." Theory of Knowledge, 2014. Web. 7 Jan. 2016.
Shackle, Samira. "What Is Wrong with the Way We Think?" What Is Wrong with the Way We
Think? New Humanist, 26 Aug. 2015. Web. 7 Jan. 2016.
Singal, Jesse. "Reza Aslan on What the New Atheists Get Wrong About Islam." NYMag.com 14
Oct. 2014. Print.