# 2. What Are The Differences Between "I Am Certain" And "It Is Certain", And Is Passionate Conviction Ever Sufficient For Justifying Knowledge?

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Theory Of Knowledge Essay

Mr. Douglas Parker

Word Count: 1, 316

2. What are the differences between "I am certain" and "it is certain", and is passionate conviction ever sufficient for justifying knowledge?

Certainty is a very difficult subject to tackle. Consider the many levels of certainty. Some might say that only science and mathematics can dictate what is indeed certain. Other critics may say that most science is based on models and experiments, so how do we know that there isn't a scenario where the rules of science can be disproven. It's happened before and thus, the birth of the "Bohr-Rutherford Model". Mathematics however is something much harder to disprove. Mathematicians alike would tell you that 1 + 1 does in fact equal 2, but some children may disagree. When I was a child I learned that 1 + 1 = window. As harmless as this may seem, it does a wonder job of proving that there are many levels of certainty, because if you think that you would tell me that 1 + 1 = 2 back when I was seven years old, then you may want to question you're certainty.

It seems to be quite obvious that as humans we like to be right all the time. It would then also make sense that we would expand the truth or for those who don't understand what is meant by this, lie. How you ever been in a heated discussion with you're parents where you are on the spot for an answer which you do not know? I certainly have. I can remember several times in fact where I had actually given an answer even though I doubted myself. My parents would often read through me and come up with a counter argument. Often times before even hearing what they had to say, I would decide to stand by my answer and argue it. One might say, how might you argue for something which you do not know? I would then respond with an answer like growing up as the second youngest of five children helps to teach you many different ways of arguing. A tried and true method would be to base your argument upon what is deemed certain. For example arguing that certain drugs should be legal based on the consumption of cigarettes and alcohol in our society. If I were to state that I am certain that marijuana should be legal in today according to our government because though I agree with the excuse of deeming marijuana as unhealthy and even addicting both alcohol and cigarettes are certainly worse for you're health and they are both legal. Even though I didn't begin to argue with any reasons for why exactly in my head, I was able to give examples which helped to prove my case.

When some says, "It is certain" they mean that it is a general consensus that something is factual. For example, it is certain that I have 5 siblings. By saying it is certain my point of having 5 siblings becomes very hard to argue against. If someone were to ask why this is I would tell them that it's hard to argue against because by saying it is certain you are implying that others would agree. Therefore by arguing against it is certain you are not only disagreeing with the person who said it, but also against those who would agree. So by saying it is certain that I have 5 siblings I am making a strong point that is hard to argue against.

Since we now know that the phrase it is certain helps to make an argument stronger, it too can be used in the same example as where I've used I am certain. If I were to have said to my parents, "it is certain that marijuana should be legal based on the legal status of cigarettes and alcohol" this would have been acceptable. The only real difference that saying this would have done, was inferred that my opinion was common knowledge and that others agreed. Even though my parents would still be able to argue against this, they would be smart in watching their words so that they could not be disproven with other modern-day examples which help to explain why their point of view may be wrong.

An online dictionary titled dictionary.com describes knowledge as "the range of one's information, understanding, or expertise". It then goes on to give an example of how it may be used in a sentence, the boy "answered to the best of his knowledge". This dictionary source tells us that it is one person's range of information, understanding, or expertise. I for one would argue that this is little of a definition, because it is so vast in its meaning. It is quite obvious to me that most fully grown adults have much more information, understanding and expertise compared to

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