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Questioning what we know

  • René Descartes wrote in 1641, "I think; therefore I am." Descartes realized that we could never be sure that our perceptions are true - Your memories could be invented. Your room could be a hallucination. - But he knew with certainty that he existed. The fact that he could ask questions meant that he existed.
  • About a hundred years later, David Hume showed that we could never be sure that our understanding of cause and effect is true. No matter how often something occured in the past, it is impossible to prove that it will happen in the future.
  • Immanuel Kant built on Descartes' and Hume's ideas and said there is a difference between our perception of something and the thing in itself. I can see a tree, I can touch it and experience it, but I can never know the tree or experience life as the tree experiences life. I can only interpret the tree through my own senses.

All this is a way to show that whatever you believe you know to be true - you don't. Human understanding is too limited. We should then be careful what we choose to accept as true.

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MORE IDEAS FROM THE SAME ARTICLE

Philosophy then teaches us the fundamental techniques to find meaning and purpose. At some point in our lives, we have to ask and answer the following questions for ourselves.

Philosophy is examining our understanding of reality and knowledge. Philosophy consists of three major branches:

Once you begin to question the significance of everything that happens in your life, you may realize that much of what you believe and value was not determined by you but by the people and culture around you.

When most people think of philosophy, they believe philosophers simply argue about arguing. Philosophy is viewed as impractical and irrelevant to current issues.

Philosophy deals with concepts that are abstract and universal. Much effort goes into redefining definitions of ideas such as justice, equality, and freedom. These abstract ideas spread to ground-level activists and politicians who, over the years, materialize these ideas that reshape our lives.

The 21st-century life interfered with our ability to answer these questions:

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