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Idealism and its variants upholds that knowledge is an experience of inner illumination. This means that knowledge is inner light or insight by the person that knows. Plato, the major proponent of this theory, gave it practical demonstration in the MENO by leading a slave boy who never went to school to prove Pythagoras theorem through systematic questioning on the subject.

Plato submitted that since the boy was never taught before, the reason he could correctly answer the questions that led to the proof of pythagoras theorem was that the slave boy had the knowledge in him in the world of the Forms before he came into his world. So, if you feel familiar with your neighbour that you have never met before, it could be that you have both met earlier in the world of the Forms before coming into this world! Subjects which would be compatible with the insight theory of knowledge include the pure sciences, creative writing, religious studies and philosophy among others. These subjects essentially make use of reasoning and creativity. Idealism would not accept vocational disciplines as knowledge. Therefore, Nigerian parents who resist sending their children to vocational education institutions are supporting idealist epistemology even if they are not conscious of it. Unlike idealism which claims that reality is not physical and can only be encountered by contemplation and reasoning, Realism, spearheaded by Aristotle, Plato’s outstanding student, upholds that the world exists separate from the mind and that we can have objective knowledge of the world via the senses. Empiricism aligns with realism with the submission that knowledge is a product of perception via the senses. The focus of interest in this theory of knowledge is the culture of society, how to pass on this culture from generation to generation and how to find out more about the 32

Professor Oluremi Aina Bamisaiye University Lecture  

University LEcture

Professor Oluremi Aina Bamisaiye University Lecture  

University LEcture

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