Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (or JW von Goethe) was a German poet and playwright who lived through the early 1800s. Since being a poet, his perspective was based on his experiences in the AOK of the arts. To explore this claim in other areas of knowledge, we must first understand what “doubt” is and how we can explain the relationship between doubt and confidence.

 

Doubt can be defined as the presence of human uncertainty in the truth, reality, or nature of a piece of knowledge. So from the definition, we can see that doubt can be used interchangeably as the lack of certainty and that confidence and doubt are opposites. In this essay, I will be exploring how these two terms are linked to knowledge and how this uncertainty can be caused by the various methodologies and historical perspectives in different AOKs. Moreover, doubtSV1  is critical in the production of new knowledge and the concept of truth relativism and conformational biases that can be manipulated by experts in the field.

 

This got me thinking as to how the methodology of the AOK can affect the level of doubt created due to the production/acquisition of knowledge. The methodology of an area of knowledge is the means by which knowledge is created, exchanged, and evaluated in the field. Every AOK has a different methodology, varying in levels of rigour. I will be exploring how in the two methodologies of the AOKs can relate to the level of doubt created in the production of knowledge. This led me to my first knowledge question “To what extent do the rigidity of methodologies in the AOKs affect the uncertainty in the production of knowledge”

 

The next part of my essay will address the first knowledge question using claims and real-life examples from history and the natural sciences.

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This brings me to my first claim for this – More doubt is created when the level of rigour is low.

History is an area of knowledge that studies the recorded past. There is no fixed methodology (the variable procedure of history contrasts the empiricism in the natural sciences) in history, it involves the use of old documents as fixed points of historical theory, as well as a historical theory being constructed out of the available evidence by reason. Hence, knowledge is passed on through language and reason as a way of knowing. From this, we can see how the level of rigour in history’s methodology is low, so more doubt should be created (according to my claim)

 

This can be seen in the real world, through the “true” story of how Benjamin Franklin discovered lightning. It is well known today that Franklin discovered electricity by flying a kite with a key attached to it. But there has been no concrete documentation produced by Franklin that supports this claim, this tale was spread by Franklin’s friend, Joseph Priestly. Franklin described (in his papers) that he noticed the presence of electricity when the hairs on his fingers stood up. From this example, since the main means of communication in History is through the word of mouth, it will be easy to manipulate knowledge produced from this methodology, hence causing the production, and hence the acquisition, of incorrect knowledge. This example supports our claim

 

But this is not always true in history, despite its relatively inaccurate methodology, it can create wholesome, true knowledge too. An example of this is the 1973 Chilean Coup d’état, between the Congress of Chile, and the then socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende. This event is one of the few historical events that was recorded and remembered correctly, no misinformation was created from this event. But the lack of false knowledge can also be credited to the fact that the Chilean citizens that were residing in Chile during the coup witnessed this tragic attack on the parliament, so the methodology used in collecting this history was also through observers (sense perception was used as a WOK in this case) of this attack, which is a slightly stricter methodology.

 

 

On the other hand, we can look at another area of knowledge that has a very strict methodology, The Natural Sciences. In this area of knowledge, knowledge is gained through accurate measurements, rigorous experimentation and a firm peer review. This rigid methodology shows that there can’t be any false knowledge produced in the natural sciences, and this is usually true.

To support my claim, I will be talking about Rutherford’s alpha particle scattering experiment. In this experiment, Rutherford (a scientist), shot alpha particles at a gold foil to investigate the structure of the atom. This experiment provided an explanation for the structure of the atom, which wasn’t known before. His rigorous experimentation proved a possible structure of the atom, which was a great leap for scientific knowledge. So, this proves that there will be less doubt if the knowledge is gained through a rigid methodology.

 

We all have newton’s work engraved in our brains – his laws of motion and his work on gravity. In his book “Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis.”, we know that he founded these theories through experimentation and observations, so according to our claim, there shouldn’t be any doubt in his theories. But his theories (Dubbed “Newtonian mechanics”) were proved wrong by Einstein’s Theory of “General Relativity”. Einstein stated that Newton’s laws would only be true on Earth and not in the big scale. So, we can see that rigid methodology won’t always lead to accurate knowledge

 

From the examples provided in history and the natural sciences as an area of knowledge, we can see how the harshness of methodologies don’t always mean that there is no doubt created in that knowledge.

 

In our previous knowledge question, we saw a trend where knowledge produced in the past tend to be wrong, that as time goes on, knowledge gets stronger and the level of doubt decreases. So I decided to see how the level of doubt in knowledge changes as time passes, if new technology can reduce the level of uncertainty in the production of knowledge. This is how I arrived at my second knowledge question “To what extent do technological advancements in AOKs affect the level of doubt created in the production of knowledge”

 

We all have newton’s work engraved in our brains – his laws of motion and his work on gravity. In his book “Principia Mathematica Philosophiae Naturalis.”, we know that he founded these theories through experimentation and observations, so according to our claim, there shouldn’t be any doubt in his theories. But his theories (Dubbed “Newtonian mechanics”) were proved wrong by Einstein’s Theory of “General Relativity”. Einstein stated that Newton’s laws would only be true on Earth and not in the big scale. So, we can see that rigid methodology won’t always lead to accurate knowledge

 

 

I will explore this claim in History and the natural sciences as my selected Areas of knowledge.

I previously explained the methodologies present in history (usually consists of letters and documents retrieved from the past), so as there are technological advancements, these documents and letters become more reliable (due to the emergence of the internet). So according to our claim, more doubt would be created or the historical events that occurred in the past.

 

One example that I could bring in is the long-debated life of Jesus Christ (about 2000 years ago), due to the poor methodology of history present at that time, minimal evidence was provided that proved the life of Jesus Christ (i.e. a lot of doubt around this topic), this proves our claim that there was a lot of doubt in events that occurred in the past. Another example for this claim in the natural sciences is the concept of Newtonian mechanics explored in the previous knowledge question, this is also an example where theories formulated in that past carry a lot of doubt due to the poor scientific technology available to the scientists at the time.

 

 

On the other hand, there are a few examples where even though the knowledge was formulated with poor technology, the knowledge produced was wholesome and true. For example, Galileo formulated the theory that the sun was in the center, of the universe in 1543 (even though spacecrafts weren’t around back then to prove his theory) but we all know now that his theory was true (wholesome and true knowledge) proving that even though the theory was formulated in the past, no doubts were created in the process.

The claim can be disproved in history as well, for example, it was first thought that there was a mass genocide in the medieval times against prospected witches, but now it was found out (through archaeologists) that it was true, proving that no doubt was created in the knowledge produced here.

 

To conclude, we can see how methodologies and technological advancements play a role in creating doubt in the two areas of knowledge chosen, but this may not be true in other areas of knowledge. There are other factors that were not discussed in my essay that could create doubt as well, but I felt that these 2 factors were the most prominent.

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