Thursday, January 15, 2009
Epistemology: Is It Worth It?
How much does the fact that nothing empirical can be proven beyond a doubt (Hume) affect belief, faith, and how we view epistemology? At times, it doesn’t seem to matter to me that I cannot prove the existence of anything outside of my own consciousness (if even this). However, at other moments, this matters significantly. When I realize that every fact in my pool of knowledge – every argument I believe in, every belief, value, and idea that I hold – these rest not on the shoulders of giants, but instead on a precipice of nothingness (Heidegger), I falter. Perhaps it is the existentialists who have taught me to feel very alive at these sorts of moments – to experience intensely the existence that may not have been. Despite this shocking aliveness, these ideas have the uncanny ability to unsettle me.