In this essay, I shall be evaluating the arguments that support and weaken the case of the prescribed title question two, “We know with confidence only when we know little; with knowledge, doubt increases.” I shall be using the different ways of knowing to compare the level of personal or shared knowledge we possess has on either or confidence or doubt respectively.
I shall be comparing and contrasting these ways of knowing in x areas of knowledge,,,,,,, to observe whether the statements is correct in the areas of knowledge, it may be true for all of them likewise it could be true for none.I personally agree with JW Von Goethe’s paradoxical statement, as we develop more shared knowledge in each specific area of knowledge, the general population know with confidence about that area of knowledge, as we as a society, generally believe what we are told, this shared knowledge is then changed into personal knowledge. However, the experts of the particular field start to doubt it more, as they have much more knowledge than the average person and so can be critical. With each new piece of knowledge attained it may contradict existing facts ideas and theories ,or this injection of new knowledge could also exponentially increase the volume of new knowledge which needs to be found about that area. To use an analogy, one door shuts and two more open.
As we understand this new knowledge, it may open more knowledge which needs to be understood. To give a primitive simple example, as we go back in history 10,000 years ago when our species were not as intelligent or evolved as it is today, there we no experts in any given area of knowledge, the volume of knowledge that they knew as a society was very limited however they were confident in it. They knew that fire kept them warm , they needed to eat, and they needed to reproduce, they were not engulfed in a variety array of knowledge like we are today. We are now constantly suffocating in knowledge from vast sources and people now know that we need to remain sceptical and question the knowledge.Using ethical knowledge as my first area of knowledge, I shall be evaluating it against the ways of knowing of perception and reason. Ethics is an unorthodox area, as it is extremely subjective and does not yield quantified results. There are two stances in ethics relativism and absolutism.
Ethical relativism in ethics is the belief that nothing is objectively right or wrong and that the definition of right or wrong depends on the prevailing view of a particular individual, culture, or historical period. (Anon., 2005)Whereas moral absolutism is an ethical view that particular actions are intrinsically right or wrong.
Absolutism is making normative ethical decisions based on objective rules. They are fixed for all time, places and people. (Anon., 2007) Regardless of which perspective adopted, ethical knowledge comprises solely intuition and theory. However, it is important to remember that these theories are often extremely contradictory, that some thinkers in this field question whether we even have knowledge in the form of theories and that instead there are only ideas that are commonly agreed on which in turn become shared knowledge.
If absolutism is ethics nature, then we have not gained any knowledge because it is so subjective there is not a given issue or decision to be made which the entirety of humanity agrees upon. The difficulties presented in terms of communication and perception in ethics arise when those comfortable with their own social rituals and norms, refuse to accept a particular moral code to a different society. This thus reduces the volume of shared knowledge we can have as a society. Therefore in terms of knowledge in ethics, we know with confidence only when we know little; and we adopt the absolutist idea;with an increase in knowledge and factors, relativism, doubt increases.