Justification, what distinguishes a good justification from a bad one?



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So acquiring knowledge through language is not always reliable or a good justification. Even if the knowledge comes from the authority, it is still may not be a reliable source. It is really hard to claim I know something regarding a celebrity by using knowledge I acquired from a tabloid magazine, because those types of magazines are considered unreliable sources by many including me. But, I can claim I know something regarding a celebrity by acquiring knowledge from his/her mother or their autobiography. Although they are not the most reliable sources, they are at least believable and trusted more than tabloid magazines.

The point is that there is always the possibility of the information being false no matter how reliable the source is, especially when it comes to language, as it is second-hand knowledge. Another way to justify your claim is through perception. Knowledge acquired from perception is based on your senses and personal experience. Perception can be a very reliable source, however our senses may deceive us sometimes. For example, when a person witnesses a crime, and they are asked about it later, they may give false information even though they believe what they said was the truth.

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Another example is when I see an illusion and I assume with all certainty that what I saw was supernatural or magic. Still perception is a more reliable source of knowledge than language. Although sometimes you can doubt yourself and wonder if what you believe you saw actually happened or not, you can use support your beliefs with evidence and be able to consider and respond to any criticisms against your views. Richard Lagemaat and I agree that life is too short to be skeptical about everything, so you should only doubt things when it is appropriate.

Many philosophers agree that reason gives us a greater certainty than perception. And although reason is the best way to justify a claim, it still could have many errors. You can use reason to justify your claim by supporting it with a good amount of evidence. When it comes to forming a justified true belief you should not only look for evidence that favors and supports your claim, but also evidence that go against it. Another thing that is required when it comes to using reason or the other ways of knowing is coherence.

You should make sure that your belief and the evidence that justifies it “fit in” with the current understanding of things. I can use reasoning to justify my claims in Mathematics and in Natural and Human Sciences. You can also justify your claim through emotions. Your emotions can affect your perception of things, the language you use, and your reasoning. For example, when I am angry I will probably use offensive language, and will feel that everything is annoying and out to get me. And because they affect the other ways of knowing, some see emotions as an obstacle to knowledge while others believe that they are sources of knowledge.

In some cases those who hold their religion with too much passion, their emotions can prevent them from being open-minded people. At the same time emotions can also provide us with energy to pursue to knowledge. Physiologist Antonio Damasio speculates that emotions are sources of knowledge and they help us make rational decisions about things. Some Areas of Knowledge like Ethics require emotions to give us a better understanding of the truth. Emotions are unreliable because like opinions, each person has his or her own.

It is really difficult to justify your claims using your emotions because what would seem obvious to you may not be obvious to others, but balancing emotions and reasoning at the same time might help in the justification. In some cases emotions could help us understand the truth better. For example, my emotions could help me understand what the artist was trying to express through his painting. Although the ability to come up with new ideas requires a certain amount of genius it also needs persistence. Edmund Gettier and other philosophers disagree with the claim that knowledge is a justified true belief.

They argue, by using counterexamples, that in some cases beliefs are both true and justified but do not appear to be genuine cases of knowledge. In response other philosophers, like Richard Kirkham, argued that knowledge is justified true belief if, and only if, the justification is infallible and infeasible. You can claim to know something if your true belief is justified. Beliefs, emotions, claims, laws, theories, and actions can all be justified, but whether it is a good justification or a bad one depends on reliability. You can also use words, diagrams, and mathematics to improve on your justification.

No matter which of the four ways of knowledge you are using to justify you knowledge claims, you should remember that they are not infallible and they are not always reliable sources of knowledge. Even if your sources are reliable, that does not mean they are the truth. Knowledge tools can both contribute to our knowledge and be an obstacle to it. We need to test them against one another when trying to establish the truth. Only time could tell what is the truth. Because as technology develops, new discoveries have proved what was believed to be the truth for thousands of years is wrong.

Word count: 1586 Sources: 1.Theory of Knowledge by Richard van de Lagemaat 2. http://www. slideshare. net/t0nywilliams/tok3-2120735 3. http://dictionary. reference. com/browse/justification 4. http://studyingeconomics. ac. uk/what-makes-good-justification/ 5. http://www. sphsgator. net/sphsteachers/walshm1/TOK%20Essay%20Information/Steps%20for%20Writing%20a%20Good%20TOK%20Essay%20(TOK%20Essay%20Information%206). html 6. http://discover-your-mind. co. uk/faqs/r1-writing%20style. htm 7. http://chronicle. com/blognetwork/castingoutnines/2006/11/25/what-makes-a-good-mathematical-justification/ 8. http://tinybuddha. com/quotes/tiny-wisdom-stop-explaining-your-feelings/.

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