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Belief, Truth, &

Knowledge
The Challenge of Skepticism

What do you see?

What do you see?

Which centre circle is


bigger?

Optical Illusions
We all see things differently - especially
morality
Senses can deceive us and lead us astray
Conscience is formed and developed
based on our beliefs.
Why do we have beliefs? What are they?
How do you know that you are here and
not dreaming?

Beliefs
Beliefs are your map of reality - they are the lenses through
which you perceive the world.
your beliefs are the most important part about you
beliefs have started wars, bridged communities,
ended slavery, and so forth
Beliefs + Desires = Actions
Problem: there is such thing as False Belief
we want our beliefs to be true - connects us to reality
Philosophers have encouraged us to therefore examine our
beliefs

Knowledge
Knowledge is an attainment concept
Ex: In basketball we shoot in order to score.
Shooting is the activity; Scoring is the attainment
intended
In life, we believe in order to know. Believing is the
activity; Knowledge the intended attainment
Knowledge = Properly Justified True Belief
You cannot know something unless you truly
believe it.
Belief alone isnt sufficient for knowledge - you
cant believe something that is false either.

Truth
Relativism vs. Rationalism
Truth is our anchor in the world.
believing a truth is like hitting the target whereas
a falsehood is like missing the mark
How do we find truth? With Reason.
Reason connects us to reality and as we will see
there are two different ways of reasoning Empiricism & Rationalism
The Philosophy of Relativism claims that all so-called
truth is relative - no absolute truth
Very seductive because it can often serve as a
very persuasive excuse for very bad behaviour

Skepticism,

the foundation of
Relativism

Skepticism is based on the attitude of doubt.

True knowledge is uncertain, therefore there is no


absolute truth.

Religions determine right & wrong and all concepts


of right & wrong are invented by humans.

Better to use inquiry - all questions lead to discovery.

Doubt is the vestibule which all must pass, before they can
enter into the temple of truth.

Charles Caleb Colton

Rationalism
Belief is inevitable in human life and it is Rational.
Empiricists believe that all knowledge is attained
through sensory experience whereas Rationalists
believe that all knowledge is rooted in reason.
Rationalist statements are true without the
use of senses. (If A is greater than B, and B is
greater than C, then A is great than C)
Cause and Effect - (yes remember Aquinas) - rock
hitting window - we dont see the cause yet we
believe it happened.

Back to: Belief, Knowledge and


Truth
We believe that humans have the ability to form
their conscience according to moral principles of
right and wrong, which will then lead them to
make rational reasonable judgements.
At the foundation of this is the belief that:

We are rational beings.


We have the ability to reason.
We have the ability to make decisions freely.
There is such a thing as right and wrong.
We have the ability to know what is right and wrong.
It is better to do what is right rather than what is wrong.

Lets Practice!
1. Rationalism ____
2. Skepticism ____
3. Empiricism ____
4. Moral Relativism ____

A. all knowledge is rooted in


sensory experience.
B. all knowledge is rooted in
reason and cause and effect.
C. a philosophy of doubt.
D. a philosophy which
claims there is no absolute
truth.