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Seeker101's avatar

How do you know you...well, know?

Asked by Seeker101 (11points) September 7th, 2008

What does it actually mean to ‘know’?

You could say that you ‘know’ that 1 + 1 = 2
Some people could say that they ‘know’ that God exists.

But what does it really mean to ‘know’ something?

Is there really a difference between opinion and fact and can we really know anything with certainty. What do you think?

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6 Answers

panspermia's avatar

You believe the certain things and don’t judge why it is like this. If you try to understand why things happening maybe you go nuts :)
You can change your opinion and make them the certain things. Nonetheless God makes us believe some certain things without judging.Life makes us this way.

Cardinal's avatar

Opinions may change and facts may be re-interpreted but when you know someting in your heart to be ‘right’, it is just ‘right’ for/to you. However this thing may be illegal or wrong in the eyes of others. Such as an action you may take against some person or thing you determine to be evil.

A fact is something that can be proven by the scientific method. An opinion is just an opinion, they are like noses, everyone has one.

If you are a believer, you simply accept God on blind faith. If something occures that may encouage you to say, ‘Oh, thank you God or praise God (or Allah for that matter) that still will prove He exsists, you are just more sure your opinion is correct

The laws of nature, are for the most part factual, however I had a physicis teacher in college who, every year, would drop something and look up. He said that the laws of gravity are just laws and rules, but not exact. If this item flies up in the air and doesn’t fall to the ground, I don’t want to miss it.

gailcalled's avatar

I know that I need Earth’s particular atmosphere to breath, and I know that I will drown if held underwater for too long.

All our mathematical language is based on a premise; other ones would have become the convention if we had a thumb and three fingers on each hand.

Quantum physics has convincing hypotheses but they are hard to prove.

Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle

Schrödinger’s Catödinger’s_cat

I was a TA for an Astronomy Prof. who, at the beginning of each school year, used to jump on the desk and ask us what would happen when he jumped off.

Harp's avatar

You don’t.

“To know” is a trap, of sorts; in a way, it’s the ultimate trap. “To know” relies on an underlying assumption that whatever reality is, our intellects are capable of accurately modeling it and extracting from those inner models some hard facts about reality. “Knowing” assumes that what is true of our semantic understanding of reality must be true of reality itself.

In this, we are mislead by our limited successes in using our intellectual models of reality as a practical guide to getting things done and predicting outcomes. Because our ideas about how things are seem to corroborate pretty well with what we observe in our experience of the world, we figure that we must be capable of refining those ideas until they are distilled down to some essential truth. When we believe that we have reached that essence, we feel that we know.

Scientists rarely make the mistake of saying that we know this or that in any absolute sense. Philosophers are just as reticent. But we laymen are far more casual. We “know” with an abondon that would horrify any disciplined scientist or philosopher. We feel especially free to indulge our predilection for knowing in the religious domain, especially when we’re given some written record that purports to be the very standard of Truth.

The reason I say that “knowing” is the ultimate trap is that It represents a kind of death of the spirit, a tossing aside of inquiry. When we know, we cease to wonder. It’s an abandonment, really; a refusal to keep asking. There is an implicit assumption in all this that there is an endpoint to inquiry, some kind of definitive answer. But is there?

In the end, all we really have is our current best guess, and we need to come to grips with that fact. When we think we know, we’re just not asking hard enough.

arnbev959's avatar

The only thing that one can know is that something exists. This is the basis for practically every philosophical system, be it metaphysics, solipsism, existentialism, or even empiricism.

It is especially true if you imagine a solipsist worldview. Solipsism cannot be disproved, and it is based on the fact that there is something that exists. As long as you can affirm that “you” can “observe” something, “you” can be sure that something does exist.

Apart from that, “knowledge” can only be secondary.

flameboi's avatar

know = the physical prove that something exists

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