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Absolute Certainty

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Is it possible to know anything with absolute certainty?
I have been looking at Descartes meditations but my instructor pointed me to epistemology.
Can I just get some directions on how to prove that there is no such things as knowing something with absolute certainty.

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One of the most important scientist/philosophers/mathematicians in the 20th century was a man named Alfred Korzybski. He wrote an important book called "Science and Sanity" (1933) in which he spelled out important philosophical principles regarding epistemology. You would do well to read at least the first few chapters of this work.

Fundamentally, how do we obtain data from the universe? We do so by abstraction. What does this mean? Abstraction is the process by which we "abstract" data points from the observable universe. To abstract means to select a subset of the available information. Consider, if you would, a universe filled with an infinite amount of information. Now, consider yourself examining that universe. There is no way you can process an infinite array of data points, so what do you do? You select a subset that is manageable. You process that subset and then draw conclusions based on that.

We do this all the time.

After all, we only have a certain, limited number of senses by which we can abstract data from the ...

Solution Summary

Absolute Certainty is questioned thoroughly.

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Joe stopped for a beer at the Turn-a-Round Lounge in Smalltown on his way home from work. He ran into his ex-girlfriend, Michelle, and her new boyfriend, Sam. Joe and Sam got involved in a heated confrontation, and bottles and fists started to fly. Sam pulled out a knife and stabbed Joe in the chest, nicking his aorta. Despite the bartender's attempts at CPR and putting pressure on the wound, Joe bled to death before the EMTs arrived.

When the fight began, there were 20 or so patrons in the lounge. When EMTs and police arrived on the scene, only two of the patrons and the bartender remained. Michelle and Sam were gone. The EMTs attempted CPR, but Joe was already dead. Two patrol officers secured the scene and detained the three remaining witnesses.

Upon examining the scene, police find three bloody footprints by the door where Michelle and Sam exited and tire tracks in the dirt parking lot where they made a hasty exit. Police obtain latent prints on a number of different surfaces using alternative light sources.

Police execute a search warrant at Michelle's residence and Joe's apartment. They find several threatening letters at Michelle's home that she claims were written by Joe.


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