Knowledge Issue – To what extent are we justified in trusting what others have created?

To analyze this question, assumptions must be made.  It needs to be assumed that the good or service was not created with the intention of sabotaging another person.  Another assumption is that we all have the same standards for a good or service working properly.

For ways of knowing, both reason and perception can be used to make a decision about this question.  First, we know from experience (perception), that sometimes technologies designed by prestigious companies fail to meet standards.  Many items designed by companies need to go through a process to be accessible by us.  However, even the best items are seen to not work one hundred percent of the time.  Some items may be proven to work, but it could be reasoned that they do not always work (we cannot necessarily use inductive reasoning to predict events that are independent of each other, like taking medecine).  Therefore, as long as we avoid thinking inductively, it can be said that we are justified in trusting what others have created, simply not all the time.  Even the most foolproof tools can be misused if the user is not taught how to use it.  Different technologies are also subject to unexpected events.  It is important that we are not led to believe that there are implications and consequences that are definitively set, and are not subject to change, as this would be a fallacy (an appeal to tradition).

While considering the different elements of reasoning, we see that there is a ton of information available to research the issue at hand.  There is probability data on the effectiveness of birth control, sports teams, and many other creations.  All of this data is based on observations, and probabilities were able to be reasoned from this data.  However, when we trust this data, we assume that it is correct, which may not be an appropriate assumption to make.

Concepts that we know can also be analyzed.  Whenever we make a calculation in a natural science, we do it using a law that we have learned.  However, if we were to question its foundations, and question the foundations of its foundations, etc., we would be led to the atomic theory, something that is not even known (but is considered) to be definite.  This theory has been created for us, and so much has been based off of it in science…yet we are not even certain of it.  However, it has been deemed that there is enough evidence of the atomic theory for it to be considered reasonable, and as a result, we are at least partially justified in believing and trusting the laws of science.

We know that it is extremely difficult for something to be considered a truth.  It needs to be justified, believed, and tested.  And even if it meets all of those criteria, what is to stop it from failing the next time it is tested?  Every time we trust that something will work a certain way because it has not yet been defective, are we committing a fallacy, or can we reason that it is appropriate to think the way we are?


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