The term epistemology is derived from two Greek words that are episteme which means knowledge and logos which means reason. When the term theory is added to epistemology, it can be defined as theory that explains nature and limit of human knowledge. Epistemological theory existed from pre- Socratic up to the present therefore it is one of the theories of philosophy that has a long history. Along with metaphysics, logic and ethic, it is one of the main field of philosophy. This research paper is aimed at exploring the contribution of the greater philosophers to the origin of knowledge, access their contribution and rationalize which contribution is most helpful in discovering the truth giving the supporting information why the paper justifies so. Among the major philosopher that paper will give a heavy weight in it discussion include Kant, Plato and William James (Oort).
The paper will also examine the characteristic of ideal person as suggested and discussed by various philosophers such as Nietzsche, Camus and Socrates. In its effort the paper will examine their contribution on the characteristic of ideal person then finally come with a rationale which ideal person it find most agreeable giving relevant supporting information. The paper will finally judge whether the person suggested if rely and truly ideal giving additional characteristic it feel should be added to an ideal person.
Plato epistemological theory
Plato epistemological theory can be classified into three major periods that is the early, middle and the late period. The first aspect of Plato's epistemological shares some important preoccupations with epistemology since Descartes. First contribution is seen when Socrates aimed at finding reasons to reject most claim to knowledge. Next the early Plato's investigation are launched from a first person standpoint. Here he claim s that before finding justification that seem be unique to one, first one should seek whether the existing claims are justified. It is during this time when he adopted a standpoint similar to that is now called internalist epistemological view. Thirdly he found wise not to copy other people beliefs, he claims that one should seek facts and use the se fact to come up with one own believes (Sosa 594).
The second Plato's epistemological view is seen in middle period when he is usually taken to have moved beyond Socrates influence and had developed his own doctrines. During this middle period Plato thinking is given over in effort to development of metaphysical theory that explain and show the way world would be if we are to have knowledge .In his view we should seek the evidences to falsify some theories that are not true and those which survive been tentatively accepted and regarded as corroborated or closer to the truth than those that are falsified. According to Plato knowledge starts with perception of common sense, which implies that knowledge come from external world through senses. He support his idea, he works upwards from beneath towards the world of intelligible objects, so as to see weather we can find knowledge at these lower levels without having to cross the boundary between sensible and the intelligible. He further argued that if we are to decide weather sensation or perception or belief is to be called knowledge or not, we must ignore certain marks as it is a question of inherent qualities of our state of mind, partly on nature of objects and from differences in the state of mind differences in objects can be inferred (Mc Donald
William James epistemological theory
According to William James, in his discussion he categorized acquisition of knowledge into two cases. In the first case, he argues that if there be any such thing at all as knowing, the knower and object known must both be portions of experience.
The second case he considers the sense and perception. This implies that there is a stage of thought that goes beyond common sense. The common sense stage of thought object and subject fuse in fact of presentation or sense of perception. In this case there are no self transcendences implied in knowing. In contrary in the first case, the representative experience does transcend itself in knowing the other experience that is its object. This implies that no one can talk of knowledge of one by the other without seeing them numerically distinct entities which the one lies beyond the other and away from it, along some direction and with some interval that can be definitely named.
Kant epistemological theory
Kant claims that knowledge of any kind can be justified. Kant beliefs in the existence of priori knowledge that is an inborn knowledge as distinct from possibility of empirical or knowledge obtained through experience. Kant argues that our daily experiences or the objects we encounter in our daily lives affect the individual through his or her senses in the effort to recognize its appearance. He claims that first the individual uses his prior knowledge to recognize the appearance of such thing through combination of the constitution of our senses and properties of the objects as they exist apart from us as they are themselves. Kant model distinguishes the affecting objects that produces the appearance which shows how the mind can have a prior knowledge of objects can pronounced not only unintelligible but incoherent as well (Greenberg 8).
According to the discussion of this research paper on the theory which is most helpful in discovering the truth, it gives credit to Plato's epistemological theory .The reason behind this notion is that Plato In his view state we should seek the evidences to falsify some theories that are not true and those which survive been tentatively accepted and regarded as corroborated or closer to the truth than those that are falsified. Although he justifies that knowledge starts with perception of common sense, which implies that knowledge come from external world through senses, we should move a step further looking for the evidences to justify this notion to be truthful and if there isn't such evidences to support the idea the notion should be ruled out. According to him we should no just accept any information we get without thorough investigation to know where truth lies unlike the other two theories which has no empirical evidence in their suggestion.
Socrates suggestions of an ideal person
According to Socrates man has both selfishness and the urge for welfare. Selfishness is not healthy in the society because it leads to a society that is characterized by hobbesian state nature. On the other hand the urge for welfare is innate in an individual and is useful for the society (Sharma 28). Besides these two characteristics Socrates argues that an ideal person is also just. However, the idea of a just person is not attainable. Socrates then explains that an ideal person should always inspire to achieve justice for all in society. An ideal individual should thus care for the truth and lead a life of wisdom
Suggestion of Nietzsche of an ideal person
Nietzsche ideal person can be grounded on supreme morality of authentic and sovereign human being. In his suggestion man creature and creator are united. Nietzsche presents his idea on ideal person into two principles. The first principles entails individual who wish to lead a full and meaningful life live in such a way that in every moment of their lives are able to say to themselves that they would to continue and live their lives innumerable time and for eternity. The second principle categorize ideal person as the person who live as an authentic person, being truthful to himself or herself ,self perfection and self overcoming that are guided by living one s own life, style and identity (Aloni 132).
Suggestion of ideal person according to Camus
Camus considers lucidity and courage as the characteristic of an ideal person. The man of revolt is given the characteristic of lucid awareness of existence. Consciousness that existence lacks any discernable order and purpose is the requirement for the man of revolt. Camus states that "a constantly conscious soul is ideal." (Sanders, 123).
The paper find Socrates ideal person as most agreeable that man has selfishness in him and the urge of welfare. Triumph of capitalism over socialism in the current global economy is a good demonstration of selfishness of individuals. This is because capitalism is based on principles of self interest of nations which are conglomerate of individuals. In times of problems people advance aid to the affected individuals, this also happens between states. This art of collectivism in times of need manifest that human being have innate goodness and they care about the welfare of others. Unlike the Nietzsche ideal person that person who live as an authentic person, being truthful to himself or herself ,self perfection and self overcoming that are guided by living one s own life, style and identity, however this is not attainable according to Socrates. Socrates notion is that we should always strive to be just and truthful. Camus on the other hand, considers lucidity and courage as the characteristic of an ideal person. Lucidity and courage are not much applicable to the society. The paper would consider the person to be truly ideal since all people are selfish and they always aspire to accumulate as much wealth as possible regardless of sufferings of others. Even the rich of the rich only gives a small percentage of their wealth to help the poor just to signify their goodness.
Epistemological theory existed from pre- Socratic up to the present therefore it is one of the theories of philosophy that has a long history. Through the theory various philosopher has expressed their understanding on various way of acquiring knowledge. Such knowledge acquisition has significant importance in understanding how we can develop our knowledge as well as attain more knowledge. The paper has also examined the characteristic of an ideal person and has concluded Socrates suggestion of an ideal person as the most agreeable