Three a week: Certainty

You can’t write about philosophy without writing about the concept of certainty. Three questions:

Question 1: What is certainty?

Before we ask if we can have it, what is it? What is a proper way to define such a thing? Does “certainty” about something mean that there is no chance of a given belief being wrong? Does it mean we have no reason to believe a given belief is false? Can we be truly certain about something that turns out to be false? How is the notion of “certainty” tied to the concept of “truth” if at all?

Question 2: Can true certainty even exist?

Does such a notion even make sense? Given our limited capacity as human beings, can we be so bold as to say we know something with absolute certainty? From what arrogant mind does the concept of perfect certainty arise? What kind of tool would you need to employ to arrive at a certain conclusion? The human mind, perhaps? This leads into the last question:

Question 3: How do we arrive at certainty?

The question of “how”, in my mind, is the most important. The methodology of thinking is more important to get right than any conclusion you come to; it is more fundamental.

How to arrive at certainty? Learn the proper method¬†first. Then, build upon that. Ask yourself, “Am I absolutely certain that I am concerned with the concept of certainty?” If you answer yes, you can be certain. If you answer no, you can be certain that you aren’t concerned. Win-win. Or, more accurately, truth-truth.

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