The Evolution Of Knowledge Philosophy
The Natural Sciences are also known to be unemotional or rationalized area of knowledge. Therefore it is important to doubt our emotions as using them as the sole way of knowing in the natural sciences. For example if we "feel" something is the correct solution to a problem in natural sciences, it is likely to be untrue. It is important to rationalize all the problems through research and experimentations and not merely follow intuition. Also having an emotional attachment to a belief can hinder progress in natural sciences and prompt us to look at things in a biased manner. For example a person might be against stem cell research because of emotional issues and beliefs but in order to gain knowledge, one has to disregard such beliefs. One not only has to erase any emotional attachments but rather doubt their emotional beliefs in such cases.
Personally, I believe, religion is one area of knowledge that should not be doubted. It is because of my emotional attachment towards my religion that I refuse to rationalize all my beliefs. This may be a hindrance in knowing as it causes a biased perspective towards certain beliefs. I, for example, will not be able to doubt my perspective on certain beliefs that differ from those of natural scientists. Therefore my failure to separate my emotional attachments from the way of knowing will be a problem in my pursuit of knowledge in the field of natural sciences.
Another area of knowledge where doubt is an essential part in gaining knowledge is in the Human Sciences. Like Natural sciences, human sciences also require research and experimentation. As human sciences aim to explain human behavior through various means, they firstly have to question human behavior. There has to be a question or doubt in mind about human behavior in order to further explain it. For example, a psychologist has to doubt the state of a patient of depression as abnormal in order to further research it. If the psychologist does not question a depressive mind and does not regard it as being wrong, he/she will not have the driving force to further clarify the situation. Therefore, in human sciences too, doubt is the first ever step in the pursuit of knowledge and serves it as the pushing force.
Not only this, but doubt is also involved in the process of finding knowledge in human sciences. Just like natural sciences, one often has to doubt sense perception as the sole way of knowing in human sciences. When doing case studies, for example, economists and social scientists cannot base their studies solely on what they see in areas that they are researching. It is important to carry out experiments and use reasoning to rationalize what they see to eliminate bias and regard the knowledge found through emotion with suspicion. It is this doubt that makes economics and social sciences a science as it does not fully rely on sense perception and requires rationalization and reason.
Furthermore, Human Scientists have to doubt any knowledge they gain through emotions and have to use reason as the most superior way of knowing. If a human scientist used emotions as the most important way of knowing, the findings can again be untrue and therefore not termed 'knowledge'. For example, an economist might become emotionally attached with a poverty driven community and therefore propose solutions that might be tainted with bias. As a result the knowledge that will be gained through using emotions will be wrong and by doubting any claims found through this way of knowing is the correct way of finding knowledge.
I, for an example, have a personal attachment towards the Keynesian theory of economics because it "feels" to be more correct and believe it to be superior to the Marxist theory. I therefore have to doubt this "intuitional" knowledge bias that I have and learn both theories rationally in order for economics to be called a "human science" as science is based on rationalized explanations.
Doubt, therefore, serves as the question in the pursuit of knowledge and through knowing that question is answered. However, it is important to understand the difference between doubting and skepticism. Excess of doubting can result in skepticism which is a huge hindrance in the pursuit of knowledge. If one keeps on doubting any knowledge that one learns, there can be no concrete answer to anything. Truth can never be found through this theory and there can be no knowledge. A scientific skeptic, for example, will denounce all existent scientific claims and search for more answers, only to denounce those ideas later. Therefore it is important to only use doubt as a primary question in prompting one to knowledge and once that question can be "truly justified" accept it as the answer to prevent cynicism.
In conclusion, both of the sciences; natural and human, are two areas of knowledge that fully justify the proverb "doubt is the key to knowledge". Firstly, it is through questioning and doubt that one has in one's mind that prompts them to gain knowledge in anything. Secondly, it is important in both the sciences to use doubt as an element to further justify a claim. Emotion and Sense perception are two ways of knowing that can easily cause bias in these areas of knowledge and it is important to doubt them as being true in order to gain knowledge. Also, it is important to be able to rationalize a claim in both the sciences and use reason as the primary source of knowing.
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