Learning About Epistemology – Critical Thinking

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Mohammed Hijab

Channel: Mohammed Hijab

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Episode Transcript

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Welcome to a new series of critical thinking, obviously, critical thinking is, as it says on the tin, we're going to try and equip you guys with the necessary and appropriate tools to understand things. And more specifically understand things philosophically in the context of discourse in the context of discussions and debates that we have around things like purpose. And so what we're going to start with in trouble as an introductory lesson, which hopefully will aim to lay some foundations and basic foundations on knowledge itself. As you can see, if you can't see behind me, what we're doing today is simply to know how knowledge is acquired to understand the difference, resolvable

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perspectives on knowledge, and to be able to make a judgement, on epistemology. These are the three learning objectives. So by the end of this, we should know what pista mala G is, as a key word that we'll cover.

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But also, we should have a judgment that we're able to make on epistemology, we're joined with the one and only

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the man himself. The one that, you know,

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is john a lot, one of our people, one of our team, one of the people here at salon.

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He is really someone that's not seen that much. But he does a lot for the organization. And obviously, we have our body as well. Some of you might know him from this video.

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Now,

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let's get started with some inquiry questions, which are like this is going to be an interactive session.

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So we're going to ask a lot of questions. And I want you guys to think about what we're talking about, rather than me just giving you the information. Let's start with a very introductory question. What is knowledge?

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knowledge? Yes. information.

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Information. Very good. Very good. In fact, the dictionary definition. If you go on Oxford Dictionary, they'll say knowledge is information is facts. It's skills acquired, you know, is how we use the word. Yeah. In terms of common data usage. Is there anything else you'd add to that? Knowing? So there's the power of knowing best? So correct is very good. That's true. Yeah. Excellent. Thank you.

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Now, having said that, I want to ask you a question. And this is a more fundamental question. But actually, there's a question of

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concentration actually want to think about this, right? I want to really think about this. And I want the people are having to think about this question, as well. Yeah.

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How do we get to know of something? In other words, how do we acquire knowledge? Right? So this is the question, how

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do we know?

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So hopefully, you answer that question. Well, I'd like you to do is just spend one minute by yourselves, you know, writing down some of the ways in which you think you come to know things so just spend a minute

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maybe it's more than one way, one way whatever it may be just put down what you think, is a career counselor. We'll come back

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to that

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later.

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So how do we know how do we know things? So on the two types of knowledge exoteric knowledge, okay.

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knowledge from the outside, so knowledge you can gain from other people from other resources, and then enter with knowledge which is knowledge from inside.

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Okay, that's interesting Chilean exoteric

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Expo.

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TV, TV, or I see, I see.

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esoteric knowledge, enter, even.

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Let's not get caught up on the ones who come to those. What I'm trying to very good time is very good. Very good.

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Angular one tries to avoid in this series, especially in the introductory lesson, I'm trying to grade my language as much as possible so everyone can be included. But Mashallah some very good keywords that you can use.

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We will build up to using more maybe complex terminologies in the course of this lesson, but let's, let's focus on each side. So knowledge came from other places. Okay, can you can you expound on that? So, I did a degree in biology, okay, cannot learn about the physical world from the political view, to gain this knowledge, how to read books related to the topic.

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So books would be a place where you gain knowledge. Okay, and how do you very simply, how do you actually read books? How does that work?

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We use your eyes. Okay. Yeah. Can the words Okay, you interpret the word? Okay. Oh, yeah, sure. So that's what I was gonna say. I was gonna say, was a question a little bit confused what you meant by? So if you meant how do we acquire I was going to sell the five senses.

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So frequent that knowledge.

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Okay, so our five senses? Yep. Okay. Which?

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I don't know. People know, the five senses. Oh, that's good. That's a very good answer. JOHN, add to that.

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Anything else? Is there any other way you can get?

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five senses? And that's obviously limited. Yeah. Okay, excellent. Well, you made a point. And you said there were two ways which is

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what to find out Bertrand Russell themselves in their problems and philosophies in a book that we're kind of with, we're using that kind of book by the way, I haven't mentioned this. But we're using a Bertrand Russell's problems and philosophies. book. It's a book, which very small, but very, very important, actually, in the in the field of epistemology. There's a call, it's a book called The problems of philosophy, where our lessons are being kind of scheduled in accordance with the chapters of that book. But it's not rigid in the sense that we're not going to go outside. And the reason why I've chosen that particular book, is because you'll find that most universities that do

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things like philosophy degrees, they have as required reading. And, and for good reason. I, for example, Oxford University for SPP degree, they, they don't allow you to do that degree unless you have what they do allow you. I mean, they recommend before you actually get started with the way that you read that book. And it's because it gives you that foundation that you need banker. So the two things you mentioned is very important, because actually, it's mentioned in his introductory chapter, right?

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So five senses is good. Yeah. So it's kind of like the outside. Yeah, making it very simple. But he also said, knowledge from within. So could you expound on that? I guess.

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So this could be

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things that you learn about yourself, and things that you can learn about other people through interacting with them.

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To learn within yourself, or you say something that you discover something that's innate that you already know. It can be both.

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So give us an example of that. It could be both give me an example of something which you already know. So your personality, like what things annoy you.

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So I get really annoyed when I see someone who is homeless. That's something that I've learned about myself. And the first time I've shared it, I shared it. I think that's very good. I think you're right, you're on the right tracks, but there is some, there's still some refinements we can do. Yes, sir. We can hold it a little bit more, I think a little bit deeper. So what is that? Exactly?

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When you feel annoyed, you use the word feel. So if we use the word feel what we're talking about necessarily

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emotion, excellent. emotion, right. So that's a thing from with it. Yeah.

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And some cool this intuitive knowledge. Yeah. intuitive. Yeah.

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And some time we can also fit within that experiential knowledge. Okay.

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So wisdom.

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Let's stick with experiential knowledge. So emotions would fit in that context of experiential knowledge because you experience emotions.

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You experience emotions. Now if you experience emotions, it's first person.

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Now, if we go back to English grammar Now, just to kind of get everyone on board, now three kinds of person right, which are

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this first person,

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second person.

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Can you give an example just for those who are not knowing what we're talking about, of something which is first person

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Now the first question like, Okay,

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give me an example of a second person pronoun to you. Okay?

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Give me example a third person.

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Now, if we come back to here emotions, is it I knew or is it Pete? Definitely. So yeah, it's your emotions. We're talking about something which is first person.

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Now, this is incredibly important.

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And the reason why it's very, very important, especially in, in acquiring knowledge. Yeah. Is because the whole field of science, you said, You're a biologist? Yeah. The whole field of science, I always put this down there, but it's not the whole field of science is third person.

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In order for something to be scientific,

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it has to be experimented upon.

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So then the whole field of science

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is third person.

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Okay, what do I mean by that? So scientific experiments

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are experimented upon. They do not relate to your own subjective experience. Okay. So science cannot attack tap. Yeah. Cannot tap how you feel?

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It can't detect that.

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Does that make sense? How you feel is first person. Does that make sense? Yeah.

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You're the scientist who's discovery? Even if you're the scientist of discovery, right? In any case, your experience is always first person you say I feel or science is always that person. has to you have to have an experiment. Yeah. So that's important. We'll come to it later on.

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That's important. So here, we've already got two things, right? I will stick to those two things, because they're quite important. So you've got the external and you've got the internal if you like, yeah. The external. The five senses. Thank you. They're the window to the outside world. Yeah. And then you have

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intuitive knowledge and experiential knowledge. It's more internal. Can you think of something else? Which is knowledge, which you don't get from the five senses? That's my question.

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Give me examples of other kinds of knowledge, which a lot of clients with the five senses. So we said experience or emotions, this is really impacted on the Quran and the story of

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him, he knew how to do certain things. For instance, he made a hole in the boat, you fix the hole, and he

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he to care about

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these things.

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These things, you had to hear him that wisdom, and you just have to follow

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these things.

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Well, knowledge the world from the outside world, from, from within, but

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you could argue it's from the outside world. Some say he was a prophet. Okay. And he's a prophet who is getting from why Yeah, which is from Allah. Okay. So it's not from within, but you're onto something, we definitely want to something so you're not wrong completely. What our knowledge is not acquired from the outside world.

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Thinking consciously. What can you think of consciousness is not really knowledge? It's a state of being. Yeah. But you're definitely right. You're definitely right. And so much as consciousness cannot be experimented upon. Yeah. Yeah. So consciousness is first person. And if not third person, that's, that's great. But we're sticking on the field of knowledge, right? So you see something that we gain knowledge without using our five senses? Exactly. That's why we just think about, what do we know without using our five senses? with animals? Some animals are born, they haven't got any teachers around them, have another first teacher to teach them and they know how to survive. Okay,

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so you said something? Maybe you need knowledge. Yeah. A mother, a baby suffering. Mother. That's something that it's programmed to do. Okay, so this wasn't taught. You could argue this point. You could argue this point. This is cool instinct. Yeah, we can put it here. What I love.

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instincts. While I'm going to say is I'm going to tell you why. Because there is a debate among philosophers and psychologists even called the nature versus nurture bubble.

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Which I don't want to go into too much. But this idea of is this baby really been taught? Or hat? Or is it something that they've gotten naturally? Yeah, that's a debate we want to get into. But it's something you could argue. Yeah. So I'm not gonna say it's wrong. It's not completely undisputed. Okay? emotions are pretty much undisputed, you can't say that there were instincts, you could dispute what else was on the line?

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All right. Think of this way.

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In order for something to be detected by the five senses,

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what properties must have has to be tangible. Okay. Excellent.

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tangible is another way of saying one, physical. Excellent. So what do we know? Which is not physical, medical, metaphysical things. Now, give me an example of something we know which is metaphysical. Dark Matter. Okay.

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Tell me something we know. Okay. Which is metaphysical?

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I don't know. Religious neologism. No. Angels. No, that's religious. Yeah, that's what I'm saying something know what not to be all disagreeable.

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Consciousness. Okay, we know consciousness exists. Yes. And we'll talk about that. But consciousness is a state of being rather than No.

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So what do we know? gravity? gravity, we look at the effects of okay.

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Yeah, all of those things are scientific. They're still in the tangible world. You can detect them to some extent. Yeah. Well, the effects of them as we were saying this thing is not in the, in the physical world at all. And it's undetectable. Memory. memories, you can say you could argue is or brain neurons. You could argue from a physicalist perspective. Yeah, love. That goes back to emotions.

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But they probably argue that's also chemicals in.

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Now, you could argue that that's what materialists do. They do.

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But it's a difficult argument to make. And it's definitely so first person. So either way, they can't be fine.

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Okay.

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Okay.

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Well, I will say subatomic.

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Definitely, in the right direction now.

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in the right direction, hold on what some base? space is part of the physical world. Yeah.

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Depends on how because there's two there's just wonderful life next, and using, but we're not going to go into that.

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Well, so far, the physical world is what you can observe what you've done what you make up.

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Yeah, what is metaphysical? We talked about it.

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Yes, we have. Energy. Energy is definitely physical, is definitely the tangible physical body can detect energy for sure. What

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was it?

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Well, that's what kind of

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secret

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knowledge is, you know, you have to Yeah, you got to give it. Okay. It's something which most of mankind the vast majority accept as valid. Such with no

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matter.

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For the second what is

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a marriage?

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Marriage documentary?

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Doesn't exist to

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me.

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ma,

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ma, ma, ma, ma say, Oh, yeah.

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Here's the question. Cannot be detected. No. through scientific inquiry. No. No metaphysical and every philosopher to this time, none of them ever said that. Excellent. Can you? Can you feel numbers? Nope. Can you taste? Nope. Can you see numbers?

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on the board? You can see them? Isaac, Isaac, that's a symbol that are totally abstract concepts. Yes. Therefore, they're metaphysical. They're definitely metaphysical.

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This is certainly important. What was going on, right? So please put this down. Okay.

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Mathematics is knowledge from within,

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which is undetectable in the material world.

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Okay.

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All right. That's excellent. All right. So I think we've gone to a very, very good start.

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I'm really enjoying it. No problem.

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I'm happy to hear now let's go to the next question, if we know what knowledge is.

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And this is what Bertrand Russell says in his first chapter as well, okay.

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If we know what knowledge is, the question is,

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what is that?

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The absence of knowledge?

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Let's think about it for a second before we

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answer the question, all right, so that you can see down to the lack of certainty. Okay.

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Yes. When certainty is? Well, here's a question

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as

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to

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what's a lack of certainty?

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What is reasonable that?

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Goodbye, thank you.

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Think about

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that, think about?

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Because what do you say to his people? We hear people say, I have doubts. And it's not just a religious context, we also have doubts. Yeah. And it could be I have doubts about life. I have doubts about me. I have doubts about my performance. I have doubts about x, y. But the question is, what is reasonable doubt. Now, what I want you to think about,

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more specifically,

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what we need to really think about

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is when is it rational to doubt?

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When does it make sense to doubt something?

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And I'm going to give you another hint, actually.

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Think about this word.

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coherence. coherence. is consistency. Yeah. When does it make coherent sense to download something? So think about

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this. Can you say for example, there was a study that was done by a guy who put some straws in there was a little bit of topic here. But there was a group of people who will keep choosing something

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called divided coherently, they were

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continuously selecting that consistently. And they put doubt into the other person's mouth in their minds, because I was thinking, Okay, you know, they all figured out. So when you know, something to be that I know, for example, when a drop in breaks. So when I see a drop in a break, and I want to think to myself, and there's a downer, it should have broke. does that fit into that one? No, definitely. But yeah, you're making for quite some examples to give examples of when doubt is applied to those examples, but I want you to think more fundamentally, now think about what we've just done. Yeah. Because doubt relates to

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what's your certainty but something more fundamental than sanity which we just covered? Think about the learning objective.

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So what's the key word?

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Right. So doubt and knowledge

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are related. Yes. So doubt exists when there is a lack of knowledge. Usually, right. Okay. So let's, let's ask the question,

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what is reasonable doubt when you have evidence to, to suggest that the pattern of coherence when there is a reasonable

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string of departments? Okay, so here, what you're saying is a reasonable reasonable doubt, is when something broke up, for example, goes against logical principles. Okay? What else? When there's reason, reasonable lack of knowledge, when there is a lack of full knowledge. Okay, that's important. Now, it's important at this stage, just to think about something very close to

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an audience. I'm not gonna give you too many names, but um, one person that you should know, is this person.

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This guy's

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Rene Descartes, okay, we're going to discuss this product, because

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our

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DDS ca RT s. Release, Renee, Renee de cough.

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Okay, so because of the light on the female companion article, he was a philosopher who existed

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in the Renaissance period, okay, in the Renaissance.

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The Renaissance period is anything between 1460 or 1490 onwards, but he was around 15 1600s.

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He made it he wrote a book called The meditations.

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He was called a rationalist. Okay.

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A rationalist.

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And why he did he I think that's six chapters in his book, six chapters. And each chapter, what he did was he describes

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how he doubts, certain knowledge that we take for granted. I'll give you one example of that to give you to drive the point home.

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He said, for example, the five senses, we said five senses was a way of making sense of the world for us to know the world knowledge. He said, How do I know

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for sure

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that my five senses are not deluding?

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Only to put it down. So how do I know for sure is the question that I'm not delusional

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in my understanding of the world as a result, my five senses

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Now, is there a possible is there a way of knowing that our five senses are perfectly functional?

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Is there another is a better question? Is there a way of proving?

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Is there a way of proving that our five senses are perfectly functional? No, there is no way of proving that.

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There's no way of proving you cannot prove that the five senses are perfectly functional.

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At the end of a, what is called systematic doubt, yeah, systematic now. In other words, anything he could doubt you would reject. Okay. So they call anything you would doubt? Yeah, he would reject it. Does that make sense? So fortunately, some I'm saying Yeah. All right. So do you know where he ends up with?

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Nothing? Now, let me tell you what you ended up with. Please do this out. Very important, systematic.

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School systematic Delta.

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ended up with something called the Cogito. Now, I'll tell you what this could do today. Very important in philosophy. co G, it Oh, yeah. co G. It is very, very important in philosophy. It's one of the most popular concepts in all of philosophy, one of the most popular concepts in all right. He ended up with something called the Cogito.

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What's it called? Cogito? Okay, so it doesn't say kognito some for the computer, but you know, Cogito Yeah. What is? What could you

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remember he, you know, he's doubting everything. He's been doubting his senses. He's doubting his faculties. He's doubting everything. After six chapters. He says, there's one thing I can't doubt.

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What do you think he said?