“We which the mind remains suspended between two

“We know with confidence only when we know little; with knowledge doubt increases” (adapted from JW von Goethe). Discuss this statement with reference to two areas of knowledge (Prescribed Title Number 2).What is knowledge? This question has been challenging philosophers for centuries, in order to construct an answer. But over the years, a definition emerged that has a wide agreement and is considered the “standard definition”. This definition involves three conditions and philosophers believe that only when a person meets these conditions, his knowledge about something is true. These conditions are :I.    The person believes the statement to be trueII.    The statement is in fact true III.    The person is justified in believing the statement to be trueKnowledge along with doubt, are the most important terms in my essay title in my essay topic, so be defining them will help in my analysis below.”Doubt characterizes the feeling a status in which the mind remains suspended between two contradictory propositions and unable to assent to either of them”. In other words, doubt is the feeling when you feel uncertain about something and you don’t know whether it is true or not. For example, when you are in school and you learn something new, some doubts may appear in your head, so you consult your professor to clear this for you. According to the essay title, there is an inverse relationship between knowledge and doubt. As the one increases, the other one should decrease. But to what extent is this statement true? Initially, in the graph above we see that with little knowledge, you have no doubts because you don’t know what you don’t know. But as you learn more and you move up, you learn about contradicting ideas that will increase your doubt and so the curve starts to increase. And then is the point when you reach the climax, meaning that you have become an expert and you have more knowledge. From then and on the doubts, start to decrease because the things that you don’t know in this area become less, so you will not have as many doubts. An example that supports this belief is that of a professor. At the beginning, when he is first introduced to the subject, he doesn’t know much about it, so he doesn’t have any doubts about what he is exposed to. But as he progresses, his knowledge advances and he is able to form some questions and doubts. Finally, after years of research and exposure, he is considered an expert and he feels comfortable that what he knows is correct because he has spent many years researching it. In this essay I will focus on two areas of knowledge, Natural Sciences, with the discipline of Physics and Human Sciences, in that of History, to see if the original claim holds or not.Natural Sciences ?Discipline of PhysicsTo what extent should doubt be a factor when searching for a new discovery or theory in the Natural Sciences?”Natural science is a branch of science concerned with the description, prediction, and understanding of natural phenomena, based on empirical evidence from observation and experimentation”. Natural sciences have a great status in our world due to their enormous contribution to knowledge with its recent discoveries and achievements. These discoveries better help us to understand how our planet works, what drives us as human beings and how the universe looks like. An example here is Newton’s law of universal gravitation that helped us understand what is gravity and how it functions on our planet. Physics is one of the most important natural sciences out of them and it focuses on the study of matter, space and time along with some concepts such as energy and force. Overall, one of physics main goals is to understand how the universe behaves. Doubt can be of a huge significance in new discoveries. The way that sciences progress is through imagined hypotheses by scientist that try to explain the unexplained. This means that they imagine the explanation for something that is still unanswered by science and they try to create a valid theory that explains this, based on their imagination, reason, and intuition. These hypotheses will then be tested with scientific methods and any conclusions drawn will result in a new theory. These theories will hold as scientific knowledge until they will be doubted by new scientists with new theories that oppose the original. For example, in an early Mesopotamian study, the Earth was believed to be a flat disk, until Ferdinand Magellan managed to prove that Earth was spherical after successfully circumnavigating the Earth in the 15th Century.  Generally, doubt allows us to question the world around us and create debates about controversial issues. But even though the doubt of some people has helped in new discoveries, knowledge will always produce doubt because scientist will never be sure if what they know now will also hold in the future. So, we see that in some cases doubt can create insecurities in a scientist’s mind and thus prevent them from further researching on a subject and thus discovering something new. Generally, in a science like physics the more you know on an area, the more questions you will have because there are many questions that science still can’t answer, like the question if we are alone in the universe or life in space exists. Hence someone who is deeply involved in these investigations will have many doubts, even if he is an expert on the subject. He will have doubts because he realizes that if something new will be discovered that could be opposite to what they believe now, all his prior knowledge will not hold.An example of this statement is Einstein’s theory of relativity. When it was first introduced it made many fundamental predictions about our universe, but which have not been observed and confirmed until this day. Over the last decade, scientists have been observing the black holes with the hope to find gravitational waves that Einstein claimed, but an eleven-year study reported that there is no such evidence thus far and so the gravitational waves remains an unconfirmed prediction in Einstein’s theory. So, this creates a doubt to scientists because they are based on things that have not yet been proven and there is a possibility that they never will be.In conclusion, while many times doubt is what lead to new scientific discoveries, it also something that discourages scientists due to its unknown nature and unanswered questions that it causes.HistoryTo what extent has doubt helped historians search for the truth behind historical events? History is defined as “a branch of knowledge dealing with past events relating to a particular people, country, period, person and especially in connection with the human race”. Like natural sciences, history is also provisional to a certain extent. Historians can interpret events relating to the past differently as they take different stances. These interpretations are coming from all the evidence that they have collected related to the event and so can be easily changed with new discoveries. Therefore, this confirms the presence of doubt in the study of history. As historical knowledge is thought of as the truth through gathered evidence and analysis by history experts, this can be proven false if challenged by new evidence which is found to be valid, moving aside the previously held truth. Doubt can lead historians to uncertainty and thus prevent them from further research with the fear of incorrect description of events. As a result, historians who have researched a specific event and have acquired some knowledge, will not always feel confident that they know everything because they are aware of the fact that their sources might have been fraud. Being aware of that, they may believe that finding the truth is impossible and so they will abandon the research. This will result in more fraud descriptions of historical events. An example would be the cover-up of Japanese war crimes during the Second World War. The Rape of Nanking is a historical event known for the engaging of the Japanese army in brutal activities of mass rape, theft, and murder on the Nanking populace. Although the Japanese have acknowledged the authenticity of the event, they have tried to tone down the magnitude of the brutalities by criticizing the death toll estimates by China, accusing them of fabricating statistics attributed to the Nanking massacre. Publications in Japan including school textbooks had purposely omitted their atrocities, distorting the accuracy of presented historical knowledge. Due to the controversy surrounding the war crimes committed by Japan, it is difficult to ascertain either side’s stance on the event and thus come to a commonly accepted historical account. Both the distortion of history and denial of historical truths have led to the regression of knowledge. So doubt acts the opposite from a key to knowledge.Nonetheless, many times the opposite happens. Doubt can act as an extra motivation for historians to discover the truth behind historical events. Because historians know that many of the facts that they are aware may be wrong, they proceed to investigate deeper into the subject by uncovering new evidence, which can challenge and thus prove that the former event is historically incorrect. So, in history, something is regarded as legitimate until proven otherwise. An example that demonstrates how doubting historical evidence presented can lead to new evidence discovered and lead to more accurate conclusions drawn. During the First Gulf War, the US army dispatched troops in Saudi Arabia and justified this action by showing a satellite photo of Iraqi forces gathering in the desert. They claimed that they send the troops only for protection in case of upcoming invasion. However, there were doubts regarding the authenticity of the satellite photo. This resulted in a newspaper obtaining two satellite photos from a commercial Soviet satellite showing no signs of Iraqi forces anywhere near the area they were supposedly gathering at. The formerly held evidence was proved false, causing historians to doubt US motives. ConclusionIn conclusion, due to the broadness and ambiguity of the knowledge areas of Science and History, it is impossible to accurately evaluate doubt and its ability to present itself as the key to attaining knowledge. Nonetheless, through careful study and research on these various areas of knowledge, doubt can be a very important factor leading to knowledge. It leads someone to investigation and pushes for a reassessment of a given truth, allowing for improved revisions, thereby furthering gains in knowledge. This process is continued until one finds grounds by which they can be satisfied with and so reduce the doubt for this fact.