Actual Published: 2018-05-25 Original Article
In my daily life, I started writing these words by chance. Writing for me is not only a soothing of the mind, but also a deepening of thinking. Through writing, I am able to organize my thoughts and quiet my mind to think deeply. These words seem to be a philosophical outfit, both a sharp weapon for theory and a sturdy defense shield. They help me to face the challenges and confusions in my life, which include thoughts on the theory of knowing and doing. These thoughts stem from my daily life, the books I read and my personal reflections.
Limitations of Sensory Knowledge
When we try to understand an object, we usually rely on our senses, such as looking with our eyes, listening with our ears, and touching with our hands to feel its texture. We tend to think that through the action of our senses we are able to capture the presence and character of that object.
However, our senses can only capture a limited amount of information, and this information may be affected by the limitations of the senses themselves and by the external environment. As a result, we cannot be completely sure whether what we perceive represents the true nature of the object. Exploring this in more depth, if there exists a sensory system that is very different from ours, then the objects it perceives may be completely different from what we perceive.
- Kant’s Theory of Sensory Knowledge: In his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant states that our sensory knowledge is limited by the a priori conditions of time and space, and that we can perceive only the phenomena of things, not themselves.
- Heraclitus on change: the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “Everything flows and nothing remains.” This means that what our senses capture is only the ever-changing state of things, not their constant nature.
Subjectivity of Thinking and Cultural Relativity
In addition, our thinking is influenced by factors such as our experiences, background and values. As a result, our thinking about issues may be based on our own perspectives and may not always penetrate to the essence of the object. Even if we think our thinking has gone deep, it may in fact be based only on our sensory experience of the object and our personal preferred understanding.
- Hegel’s Dialectic: Hegel’s dialectic holds that truth is constantly unfolding through a process of unity of opposites. Our thinking is limited by our current knowledge structure and cultural context and is therefore always in a state of development and change.
- Sartre’s Existentialism: Sartre believed that human beings are free and isolated beings and that our thinking and values are subjectively constructed. Our understanding of things is based on personal experiences and choices rather than objective truths.
Transmission and Deconstruction of Knowledge
Ultimately, the knowledge we are exposed to also tends to originate from the thinking and teaching of others. As a result, the objects we understand may simply be interpreted from certain specific perspectives and not necessarily the true nature of the objects themselves.
- Darwin’s Theory of Ev olution: In biology, Darwin’s theory of evolution states that the transmission of knowledge and abilities is a process of adaptation to the environment. The same applies to the transmission of culture and knowledge, where knowledge is constantly adapting and changing.
- Derrida’s deconstructionism: Derrida’s deconstructionism emphasizes the polysemous nature of text and language, and advocates the deconstruction of inherent structures of meaning to reveal the implicit biases and limitations in the transmission of knowledge.
To summarize, our perceptions and thinking are complex and multi-layered. They are not only limited by the limitations of our senses, but also influenced by our personal experiences, cultural backgrounds and ways of thinking. As a result, our perceptions of things are always partial, subjective, and constantly changing. These philosophical theories remind us that the pursuit of knowledge should be a process of continuous exploration, questioning and reconstruction, rather than a search for a definitive and ultimate truth. In this way, we can gain a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of the world around us and, in the process, discover our own value and place.