Vincent MelendrezMrs. CaseyTheory of Knowledge / P. 43 December 2017PT Rough Draft: Question #2 Man by nature is optimistic. In the face of a new scenario or situation, people tend to hold their pride and assume with confidence that they are experts on the subject. However, this pride stems from knowledge that is born out of ignorance and a sheltered life. Throughout history, people across the world have lived in paranoia and doubt of one another. Due to the fact that it is impossible to understand the intent and thoughts of every being in the world, people resort to assumption, doubt, and overconfidence in an unknown subject to judge others. Even as our knowledge of a particular subject increases, the amount of doubt that people hold will never be absolutely diminished. Much like the idea of risk in economics, it is impossible to get rid of it entirely. In the case of knowledge, doubt is a concept that will forever haunt over the subject. As humans answer questions pertaining to the “what” of the topic, the question of “why” will always rise. A perfect example of such a concept can be found in the study of religion. When it comes to the question of whether or not God is real, humans typically expect a “yes” or “no” answer. However, people are not satisfied with just the “what”. They also want to know the “why”. As people expand on this simple “yes” or “no” question, the confidence in one’s answer begins to decline. The knowledge that a person holds about both the natural world and the religious world will complicate this simple dual-response question and presumably lower the confidence that one initially had. As people begin to doubt themselves over a seemingly simple and common question such as this, it becomes evident that doubt increases as knowledge is gained. This leads to the following knowledge question: Does knowledge produce doubts and new forms of the unknown in the area of religion? After analyzing the concept of doubt, the question of why knowledge is directly proportional to doubt remains. The answer to this question lies in history. In the event of a new situation or change in one’s lifestyle, people are quick to judge and react based on instinct and individual experiences. They are quick to decide whether or not the situation or change is right or wrong and will stick with their beliefs no matter what. An example of this can be seen in Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. The state as a whole was reluctant to accept the idea of a united nation. While activists of the movement had supported the cause of minorities, Alabama governor Bull Connor and his constituents were quick to oppose. After witnessing the Freedom Riders in Birmingham, Alabama in 1961, Connor declared that segregation must be in place to prevent chaos. With little knowledge of the struggle of minorities, Connor decides to generalize an entire race of people with resounding confidence based on one experience with them. Even after the Civil Rights legislation had passed, Connor held on to his beliefs until his death, much like his followers. With only minor knowledge of the issue, both Connor and his constituents had firmly planted their beliefs. His actions ultimately showed that confidence in knowledge stems from ignorance and poses, as well as answers, the following knowledge question: Does knowledge produce doubt in the area of history? Ironically, it is without a doubt that the correlation between knowledge and doubt is what advances society as a whole. The prolific knowledge that one may hold will always be met with a barrage of doubt and questioning. Despite this, it is important to remember what led to these conclusions. If it weren’t for someone’s confidence to formulate the concept of ignorance and pride, nobody would be able to draw these conclusions. Confidence in a vague or unknown field isn’t always a horrible idea to fathom. In essence, it can lead to new doors that will progress our society. Along with these areas of knowledge, the correlation between confidence and knowledge can be seen in most elections. Every single election has an “election forecast” that predicts who will win, the percentage/amount they win buy, and the areas that they will succeed in. However, these forecasters are the perfect example of having confidence in something they know little about. It is impossible for any reporter or forecaster to interview and ask every citizen participating in the election who they are voting for and assure themselves that they are also not lying. This is the reason why the data is called a projection or prediction, not results. Holding little knowledge of the issue, these forecasters state with great confidence that their results are mostly accurate. The 2016 Presidential Election exemplifies this claim. Across the United States, reporters had predicted with confidence that Clinton would win the election. In some instances, companies such as NBC had predicted that she had a whopping 92% chance of winning the election, pinpointing which states she will win. However, as the votes were tallied, the amount of doubt within these companies and the American people began to rise. The confidence of these multimedia companies had shattered and everyone began to doubt the credibility of their organization. The subject of knowledge and doubt also raises the following knowledge question: What is the role of language in dealing with the unknown? By its definition, language is an integral part of society to standardize, conceptualize, define, and express knowledge. The scientific terms, definitions, and illustrations that we use to depict language have evolved to be increasingly precise and accurate. Philosopher Rene Descartes once stated that we may not have the intelligence or capability to understand the usage of languages we do not know, especially when dealing with technical jargon and terms. He believed that it may not be possible to formulate and express thoughts or ideas that are entirely new. The use of the language we have now may be beyond our cognitive grasp even though we have no doubt on the authenticity of our experience. Early thinkers and philosophers recognized and were aware of the limitations of our knowledge. John Locke stated that we cannot say that matter does not think, we cannot reject the possibility due to our limitations of our thinking. Philosophers such as Charles Darwin reinforced the same thought by mentioning that while our cognitive capacities may be vast in scope, they are nevertheless limited. Some questions that we may explore could be well beyond our cognitive reach and we may not be able to even formulate the right questions. The field of mathematics exemplifies the nature behind this question. It raises the following knowledge question: Does new knowledge produce doubts and new forms of the unknown in the area of mathematics? Before investigating, it is important to define what the purpose of mathematics is. Mathematics involves the use of abstraction and logic to define, test, and prove concepts or statements that are universal truths. These truths are seen as unchangeable and immutable. They are viewed as a tool in unlocking the secrets of the physical world. 2,600 years ago when Pythagoras and his followers took a look at a simple square that is a 1 by 1 square, they came across the problem of trying to find out how large the diagonal length is. Today, we know that it is simply the square root of two, however the problem Pythagoras and the Greeks encountered was that in the process of measuring things as accurately and carefully as you would want, you need to know the exact answer. One could be close with approximation, but not exact and this uncertainty about the preciseness led them to abandon the ways of algebra and turn to the favor of geometry. This theory of Pythagoras simply led to more questions and doubt pertaining to the metaphysical status of numbers and other entities of mathematics. Our reason, one of our ways of knowing, made people wonder if there is a connection between mathematics and natural sciences. It seems apparent that what we know can dispel the questions that we may have. However, the fact that more questions of “why” and “how” knowledge such as this comes to be is inevitable. Nevertheless, having some sort of basic knowledge is a small beginning to an expedition of questions to seek more knowledge.