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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Knowledge

Defend, refute, or qualify the following statement: "The first step to knowledge is to know that we are ignorant." --Cecil

13 comments:

jacobm...is supermachofantastic said...

disclaimer: i could care less about this statement but i enjoy arguing and thus i am writing this...

this statement is illogical because, by stating that the first step to knowledge (or knowing) is that one must understand (know) that one is ignorant (not knowing) creates a parodox...
if one takes "the first step to knowledge," then it is safe to say that this person has become somewhat knowledgeable. however, this contradicts the statement that he is ignorant. thus, he would not understand that he is ignorant because he would know something. according to the statement, because he doesn't know he's ignorant, he would not be knowledgeable in that he has not yet taken the first step to knowledge. but, if he has not taken the first step to knowledge than he is ignorant. by understanding that he's ignorant he will take the first step to knowledge...it goes on and on (thus its a paradox (paradox=illogical (illogical=disproven)))

kirby said...

Somehow I think this is a con of some sort to get us bloggers to answer a question that obviously lends itself to a Romanticism thought process, a literature time period unit that we all dreaded for the most part with few exceptions. I will, therfore, not attempt to answer this question. Rather, I only comment in order to perk interest in a new blog and to diverge the attention from the now infamous "Good Book" blog. English Teachers, you are very welcome, but you have not fooled me. Maybe if you asked to DRQ a more NON-ROMANTIC statement i would have fallen for it. In the words of the great philosopher that writes the notes under the Pepsi tops: Sorry, please play again.

Apple said...

Contradiciton...If you are a Romantic, as I believe you called yourself recently in the Good Books blog, then why are you abandoning this identity now? How does this serve your argument that the teachers are trying to trick us into responding as we think they would want us to?

The posted quotation reminds us that no matter how much we DO know (or think we know) that we should always be humble enough to admit there is a lot we have to learn.

Todd H. said...

I will defend this statment. If you do not admit that you are an ignorant person, and are hard to get along with, then you will never be able to learn anything, because you will always be to busy trying to prove that you are not ignorant. For example, I am a fighter, and i do not usually give up in arguments. But one time I was in an argument where i was completly wrong, and i kepts fighting. I was very ignorant and was wrong in the argument, but because i would not admit that i was ignorant, i could not even realize that i was wrong in the argument.

kirby said...

apple has made it aware that i have somehow abandoned romanticism. It is hard to abandon something that you were never in favor of. You must have misinterpreted what i meant by "(romantics if you will)". It was meant to discribe our cause or otherwise mission. I did not confess us to be romantics. I simply compared the characteristics of Romanticism and the characteristics of what we were doing and found them in this case somewhat similiar. Sorry that you got confused Apple. And notice that in my first comment I did say: "that we all dreaded for the most part with few exceptions". And in the words of the great philosopher that writes bottle tops for Pepsi: Thanks for playing, please try again.(yes i know its a different one but they do vary from time to time).

Will said...

Although since I am ignorant, I cannot defend, refute, or, qualify with certainty, I can say that I believe that Lord Cecil plagiarized the words of Socrates, who preceded David Cecil by nearly 2,500 years. What do you think?

"Wisest is he who knows he knows nothing."

(Forgive me, I'm taking a course in philosphy.)

Or perhaps we can say that we are at least wiser when we stand on the shoulders of giants...

Miss Caston said...

Good connection, Will. Now, where have I heard the idea of standing on the shoulders of giants before? Hmmm... :-)

Methusalem said...

Yes, the statement is a paradox from the logical point of view. But on the other hand, the beauty of language is that it may be used in multiple ways: if you were looking at the argument from a philosophical point of view, the statement would, at least in my humble opinion, turn into a oxymoron.
My explanation: In order to achieve knowledge, we have to understand that we are far from "knowledge" or "enlightenment". Real ignorance means thinking that we have knowledge, and therefore stop its pursuit. Only if we admit our ignorance, we may be able to strive for knowledge.

Andreas Kasprzok

P.S.: Excuse the lack of logical sequence and the abundance of confusing thought processes.

FradieKat911 said...

I will defend the statement as well. It seems to equate
"knowledge" to complete understanding. In order for us to reach that higher level of thinking, we must first admit that we are ignorant and wish to learn more. It is human nature to want to be superior; therefore, the thought of feeling inferior will act as a catalyst to drive the individual forward in his/her search to know all there is to know. The learning process is made up of many steps that gradually increase in complexity. For example, you must learn your numbers before you can calculate logarithms. Learning that we are ignorant is our first step in our journey to complete understanding.

allison k said...

I will defend this statement, also. In order to learn something or gain knowledge, I believe that we must admit our ignorance, in the sense that we do not know everything. I agree with Andy when he says that we have to understand that we are far from knowledge. We must desire and long for an understanding of all things so that we can gain knowledge and take a first step away from ignorance. As we progress in learning new things, we will obtain a "complete understanding"(fradiekat911) of these new things. Thus begins the continuous cycle of gaining knowledge after admitting and knowing that we are ignorant.

laurenm said...

I will also defend this statement. Ignorance restricts us from learning and further expanding our minds. If we will just admit that we are human, and are not experts on everything, then perhaps we could gain a better understanding of life. As allisonk said, gaining knowledge is a continuous cycle, and admitting our ignorance is the first step to becoming knowledgeable individuals. As an example, there is ALWAYS something new or a different way to solve a problem in any math class, so therefore to learn it, we must first know that we are ignorant.

Steven said...

I believe the first step to knowledge is birth. Enough said.

No, wait.

There is no first step...to anything.

Kelli H said...

I defend this statement. In order for one to gain knowledge there must be an admission of ignorance. It is only then that one is receptive to learning. It is out of this recognition of one's own ignorance that the pursuit of knowledge is generated. The revelation that one is ignorant is "the first step to knowledge" and it is the beginning of significant learning.