Theory of knowledge

In this fast growing and modern world we need evidence for every little matter or thing. Evidence is commonly known as proof and it is use used as a support for any argument. One of the definitions of knowledge is true belief based on strong evidence. The making of knowledge is the process in which personal opinion is fortified by sensible evidence. It is to a general belief that, evidence is a foundation in the justification of truth, because it is something solid and real. Implication of evidence is also magnified by our society as we develop.

In major areas such as: scientific investigations and many other field of knowledge, the value of respectable evidence are strongly advocated. Evidence is a strong factor in eliminating doubts of knowledge, different types of evidence can also affect the reliability of the truth claim which it supports. The fine line separating valuable evidence and unreliable proof has since been drawn and debated over from the earliest schools of thoughts to today's extensive fields of knowledge. Likewise, people also call upon their own experience and understanding to draw their own line in the grey locality of this spectrum.

Before the declaration of the knowledge claim, it's good to clarify the understanding of evidence and its characteristics, which is the foundation of the discussion. On a broad view, evidence can be recognized as a fact-like statement that proves or disproves to a certain degree a notion to be true, and trustworthy. We realize it as the evidence's degree of relevance and authenticity that establishes its value and strength. Relevance is the relationship which the evidence has with the theory that it is trying to sustain. As two things with strong connections tend to support each other, evidence with close relationship to the assumption, is also able to support the truth within that assumption. Authenticity, on the other hand, is the creditability of evidence. Only when the evidence is valid, will the knowledge that it is trying to. In classical times, ancient Greek philosophers such as Aristotle conceived and created "philosophy." According to the original Hellenic meaning of the word, philosophy was the pursuit or search for wisdom or knowledge. Any intellectual pursuit to discover true knowledge may be understood by the term "philosophy" and it will also need evidence.

Confirmation unfairness happens when we selectively notice or focus upon evidence which tends to hold the things we already believe or want to be loyal while ignoring that evidence which would serve to disconfirm those beliefs. Confirmation bias plays a stronger role when it comes to those beliefs which are based upon prejudice, faith, or tradition rather than on observed evidence.

Evidence partiality occurs when the selectively notice or focus upon evidence which tends to support the things we already believe or want to be true while ignoring that evidence which would serve to disconfirm those beliefs or ideas. Authentication bias plays a stronger role when it comes to those beliefs which are based upon injustice, faith, or tradition rather than on empirical evidence. If we already believe or want to believe that someone can speak to our deceased links, then we will notice when they say things which are accurate or pleasant but forget how often that person says things which are simply mistaken.

The corroboration favoritism is simply a natural aspect of our personal biases which appearance is not a sign that a person is dumb. Michael Shermer said "Smart people believe weird things because they are skilled at defending beliefs they arrived at for nonsmart reasons." The biases are some of the non smart reasons we have for arriving at beliefs; the confirmation bias is perhaps poorer than most because it actively keeps us from arriving at the truth and allows us to wallow in comforting falsehood and nonsense. The prejudice also tends to work closely with other biases and prejudices the more emotionally involved we are with a belief the more likely it is that we will manage to ignore whatever facts or arguments might tend to undermine it.

It's certainly true that people don't like to be wrong and that anything which shows them to be wrong will be harder to accept. Also, emotional beliefs which are involved with our self-image are much more likely to be defended selectively. For example, the belief that we are superior to someone else because of racial differences can be difficult to abandon because that entails not only admitting that the others are not inferior, but also that we are not superior.

The reasons for authorization bias aren't all negative. It also seems likely that data which supports our beliefs is simply easier to deal with on a cognitive level .We can see and understand how it fits into the world as we understand it, while contradictory information that just doesn't "fit" can be set aside for later. It is precisely because of the strength, pervasiveness, and perniciousness of the evidence that science incorporates the principle of independent confirmation and testing of one's ideas and experiments. It is the hallmark of science that a claim should be supported independent of personal favoritism, but it is a hallmark of pseudoscience that only true believers will discover the "evidence" which supports their claims. That is why Konrad Lorenz wrote in his famous book "On Aggression":

Just because scientists are supposed to construct experiments designed specifically to prove their theories, that doesn't mean that they always do things correctly. Even there the confusion which operates to keep researchers focused on that which tends to support rather than that which might serve to prove false. That's why there is such a vital role in science for what often seems like opposed competition between scientists: even if we can't assume that one person will work hard to refute their own theories, we can generally assume them correct.

Understanding the part of our psychological makeup is a necessary step if people have any chance at correcting it, just as the acknowledgment that we all have prejudices is necessary in order to overcome those prejudices. When people realize that they have an unconscious preference to weigh evidence selectively, we will have a better chance at recognizing and utilizing the material we might have overlooked or that others have unnoticed in their attempts to convince us about something. The study, "There Must Be a Reason: Osama, Saddam and Inferred Justification" calls such unsubstantiated beliefs "a serious challenge to democratic theory and practice" and considers how and why it was maintained by so many voters for so long in the absence of supporting evidence.

Steven Hoffman says, "Our data shows substantial support for a cognitive theory known as 'motivated reasoning,' which suggests that rather than search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a particular belief, people actually seek out information that confirms what they already believe. The study demonstrates voters' ability to develop elaborate rationalizations based on faulty information," he explains.

"The argument here is that people get deeply attached to their beliefs," Hoffman says."We form emotional attachments that get wrapped up in our personal identity and sense of morality, irrespective of the facts of the matter. The problem is that this notion of 'motivated reasoning' has only been supported with experimental results in artificial settings. We decided it was time to see if it held up when you talk to actual voters in their homes, workplaces, restaurants, offices and other deliberative settings."


  • Ways of Knowing; second edition -Michael woolman.

Please be aware that the free essay that you were just reading was not written by us. This essay, and all of the others available to view on the website, were provided to us by students in exchange for services that we offer. This relationship helps our students to get an even better deal while also contributing to the biggest free essay resource in the UK!