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SEED September 2010

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Intellectualism

Frontal Lobe

refers to the claim that the believer is always controlled by belief about what is good and means to that good

Brain

Neuron Prefrontal Cortex

Philosophy

The Known Uknown

Knowledge true belief

Religion

Belief

Truth

refers to the subjective mental acceptance that a claim is true

ontology

Experience

Willed Ignorance

Epistemology

Mere Belief

refers to a conviction that something is true for which the only evidence is the conviction itself

Superstitions

an attitude of indifference to the possibility of error or enlightenment that holds on to beliefs regardless of facts

What is a place? It can be a car, home, town, a corner of the street, or even a grain of dirt. But can’t a place be more than just a physical location, like what about a dream, feeling, mood, and even an experience. A place is any particular portion of space, whether of definite or indefinite extent. Meaning anything and everything could be a place, anything you could think of. What about the source of thought, the mind itself ? Have you ever just let your mind wonder to any place, where you can just let you it all go. Let it go into distant lands, or perhaps just let your mind go blank. Let you senses overwhelm you. Hear the trees sway, the leave rustle, let the birds serenade you. In the brain it is your own world up there, anything you can make it to be. It’s a place to create, enrich, share, change, escape, hide or even destroy. But where do all of these ideas and thoughts come from, and why do we have them?

By: Jordan Dravis

Theoretical Knowledge

Practical Knowledge Skills needed to do things

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Innate Ideas

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Hierarchy of being and knowledge is reflected in Plato’s simile of the sun.

Visible World

Intelligible World

The Sun

The Good

B = Deductive thinking

Growth

Reality

C = Common Opinion

A+B

Truth

Visibility

Intelligibility

Higher Forms

A. Understanding

Lower Forms

B. Reasoning

Sensible Objects

C. Perception

Images

D. Imagination

Ex. The Good

Ex. Form Human

Knowledge

Light

Epistemology

A = pure understanding

Being

C+D

Metaphysics

Ex. John Doe

Ex. John Doe’s Photo

Where to start? Let’s begin at a physical location, for example the brain. The brain is comprised of four major regions, called lobes. Each one made up of different sectors, each of the sectors performing a different task for the brain. Such as the Wernicke’s Area, where the brain processes written and spoken language. It’s like every sector of the brain is its own processer of a computer. I know, we like to think of the brain as a computer but it’s not. Don’t get me wrong the brain has all the same parts, but all the parts are connected and work together however they are not separate from each other. The computer uses a processer to transfer information between each part of these systems. Whereas in the brain everything is connected, there is no central processor. Everything works together like a community. It’s like each part of the brain is a processer all working together. So to be correct our brain is more like a server, a community of processers working together to complete a goal. Now the goal for us is hopefully different from a server, but what is our goal I cannot say. Just as every computer has its own Identity so do each of us, each with its own goal. So why do we have the ability to learn, think, and imagine? Is it for survival, so our species can live on? Or are we a species too smart for our own good? Back to the point, as I said before, the brain is comprised of four main regions. In the first region imagination, personality, thought processing and behavior take place, and it is called the frontal lobe. This part of the brain takes information from the senses and translates language, movement, and so much more. Within the frontal lobe is a sector called the Prefrontal cortex, right around where your forehead is. This part of the brain is where the magic happens, the part that separates us from the rest of the species. Here the brain thinks, learns, imagines, and where personality is formed to make each individual different and where individual behavior is born. This is where knowledge

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is created, but what is it and how do we know it’s really there? Or for that matter even created? What if we don’t really imagine or learn but simply remember? But this is kind of a narrow view in terms of the location of knowledge, or should I say a literal view of knowledge. Haven’t you ever wondered why we all know different things and why do each of us focus our knowledge in a single location or direction such as architecture, or speech? What compels us to focus ourselves on only one subject? When there is so much information out there, so much to understand and expand on, to change us and to make us question.

Opinion

Becoming

The Simile of the Sun

lief ”, and many other meanings and definitions that are similar in there vague description. It all boils down to the understanding that the believer believes in something that is ultimately true, usually proven true through the senses. But how do we acquire this knowledge? This is a HEAVILY debated topic of philosophy; it is one of the most fundamental reasons why Epistemology exists. It was around Socrates and Plato’s time that skepIntelligible World ticism developed. A skeptic is any person who demands clear observable, undoable evidence before accepting any knowledge claim as the truth. The existence and beginning of skepticism started a wave of doubt, people started to doubt everything so much that any knowledge could not be claimed true. They even doubted the fact that our senses could gather information correctly, therefore all of the knowledge we acquired based off our surroundings was deemed false. It was a vicious circle, one challenge that Plato could not pass down. In order for Plato to tackle this problem, he needed to develop a system from the ground up, one in which had a solid foundation. Also he needed one that appealed a wide range of people, so that he could please and gather as much interest as possible. Visible World He began with taking ideas from Heraclitus and Parmenides, in an effort to characterize reality and reduce this newborn skepticism. Heraclitus believed that the world was always changing; it was some kind of orderly cycle or process of change. Parmenides believed in the opposite, that the world was one complete or a whole, a whole that cannot be moved or changed. Plato purposed that both of Heraclitus and Parmenides ideas of reality were true. That our reality was not just made up of one (monism)

The Divided Line

So why do we have the ability to learn, think, and imagine? Is it for survival, so our species can live on? Or are we a species too smart for our own good?

The Allegory of the Cave

Which lead me to Philosophy, the love of wisdom, specifically Epistemology which is the study of the mind, knowledge, belief and truth. But it is much more than that; it addresses the questions, of what is knowledge? How is knowledge acquired? What do people know and how do we know what we know? I assume that I’m not alone on my quest and will not be the first to take a walk on this journey either. Epistemology breaks down knowledge into two main branches; truths and beliefs. Both of these combine to produce knowledge, “true belief ”. Many argue over the meaning of knowledge, whether it is “a justified true be-

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The Allegory of the Cave Plato presents the allegory as part of Socrates’ continuing conversation with Glaucon: I want you to go on to picture the enlightenment or ignorance of our human conditions somewhat as follows. Imagine an underground chamber, like a cave with an entrance open to the daylight and running a long way underground. In this chamber are men who have been prisoners there since they were children, their legs and necks being so fastened that they can only look straight ahead of them and cannot turn their heads. Behind them and above them a fire is a curtain-wall has been built, like the screen at puppet shows between the operators and their audience, above which they show their puppets. I see. Imagine further that there are men carrying all sorts of gear along behind the curtain-wall, including figures of men and animals made of wood and stone and other materials, and that some of these men, as is natural, are talking and some not. An odd picture and an odd sort of prisoner. They are drawn from life, I replied. For, tell me do you think our prisoners could see anything of themselves or their fellows except the shadows thrown by the fire on the wall of the cave opposite them? How could they see anything else if they were prevented from moving their heads all their lives? Then if they were able to talk to each other, would they not assume that the shadows they saw were real things? Inevitably. And if the wall of their prison opposite them reflected sound, don’t you think that they would suppose, whenever one of the passers-by on the road spoke, that the voice belonged to the shadow passing before them?

Then think what would naturally happen to them if they were released from their bonds and cured of their delusions. Suppose one of them were let loose, and suddenly compelled to stand up and turn his head and look and walk towards the fire; all these actions would be painful and he would be too dazzled to see properly the objects of which he used to see the shadows. So if he was told that what he used to see was merely illusion and that he was now nearer reality and seeing more correctly, because he was turned towards objects that were that were more real, and if on top of that he were compelled to say what each of the passing objects was when it was pointed out to him, don’t you think he would be at a loss, and think what he used to see was more real than the objects now being pointed out to him? Much more real. …And if,…he were forcibly dragged up the steep and rocky ascent and not let go till he had been dragged out into the sunlight, the process would be a painful one, to which he would much object, and when he emerged into the light his eyes would be so overwhelmed by the brightness of it that he wouldn’t be able to see a single one of the things he now told were real.. he would need to grow accustomed to the light before he could see things in the world outside the cave… The thing he would be able to do last would be to look directly at the sun, and observe its nature without using reflections in water or any other medium, but just as it is. That must come last. Later on he would come to the conclusion that it is the sun that produces the changing seasons and years and controls everything in the visible world, and is in a sense responsible for everything that he and his fellow-prisoners used to se. That is the conclusion which he would obviously each

They would be bound to think so.

but rather dualistic, where each part was working together only existing separately. It’s an interesting view on the world one part is unchanged, while the other is changing, just as the function of the brain. The brain and its regions are never changing; however the information is constantly changing and creating new ideas, memories, etc. Plato called one of his realms being and the other becoming. The realm of being, according to Plato, is the real realm in this realm only truth and knowledge are to be found. This realm was eternal and superior to the realm of becoming. In the realm of becoming it was one of change a realm where everything went in cycles. As in the brain’s cycle of memory, a person obtains a new memory for a sweet smell. This memory is stored and used in conjunction with the sense of smell. It is tucked away if not used, but this can always change and become new again once the smell or memory is reiterated by the remembrance or smelling of the sweetness again and the cycle starts a new memory, a new association. It is a world full of appearance and of opinion, because it is a world of change and where nothing is concrete. But this really doesn’t complete the picture, how do beliefs and opinions become truth?

Plato purposed that both of Heraclitus and Parmenides ideas of reality were true.

Abd so they would believe that the shadows of the objects we mentioned were in all respects real. Yes, inevitably.

In order for Plato to complete the process he needed to link the realms together. He did this through the Theory of Forms. Forms better known as Platonic Forms are independently existing, nonspatail, nontemporal “somethings” that cannot be known through the senses. What Plato meant by Form is really something’s essence, the basic nature of it. Forms actually exist, according to Plato, as pure and unchanged ideas/essences. In other words a Form is an idea of something as in roundness, redness, or beauty. Note these forms are not physical, but physical objects do sometimes resemble or reflect and share similarities, they themselves are not redness or roundness. An example being a pink bouncy ball, the ball contains shades of red but not redness itself. But if Forms are abstract objects, how does this help Plato? Plato used The Theory of Forms to try and prove that there is a rational explanation for how knowledge is possible. He knew if he could not prove absolute as knowledge, instead of

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them being just beliefs, he would fail. Plato needed to prove that everything was not a matter of opinion. He needed to justify and to preserve the distinctions between right and wrong, true and false, better and worse. In Plato’s mind there was a distinct difference between knowledge and opinion. Knowledge was fixed, absolute and eternally true. Where opinion was the opposite, always changing (Starting to sound familiar). Plato illustrated his realms and ideas of knowledge and opinion in three different ways: the divided Line, The Simile of the Sun, and the Allegory of the Cave, each one describing a piece to the puzzle. The first illustration Plato uses to explain his concept is The Divided line. Its purpose is to explain the relationships between knowledge to opinion, reality to appearance, metaphysics to epistemology, and the world of being to the world of the becoming. It also describes the relationship of Forms with knowledge and opinion. The Divided Line is a table divided in to two columns (metaphysics and Epistemology) and two rows (being on top and becoming below). Each row is unevenly divided into two more rows. At first glance it is confusing but after studying it starts to make sense of all of Plato’s thoughts. The Second illustration Plato uses is the Simile of the Sun. This illustration is the simplest one of them all. Its purpose is to help understand that truth is in the form of good. It is a to column table with Visible world and the intelligible world. The idea behind this illustration is to create the idea of Good and the reason for it. This one is possibility the most confusing one of them all. The last and most interesting illustration Plato uses is the Allegory of the Cave. This is not so much as an illustration but a story. The story helps you clarify the difference between levels of becoming to being. It begins with trapped prisoners who think they have seen light for their whole lives but find out that they have been looking at an illusion, and later really discover light for the first time (belief to knowledge). I hope that as you read this you have gained some understanding into the aspect of knowledge. It is something that is not linear. But very complex, just as complex as the way the brain transmits information or as complex as the flow of a web diagram as you use it to expand your thoughts (knowledge or beliefs). The brain is a complex organ, one which will take many generations to fully understand it and to develop it, mysteries hidden from us. Maybe it’s a good thing, who knows what will happen once we fully understand it, thought crime, invisible ads? Who knows the world is endless, or should I say the minds is…

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