7. The sources of certainty

1. Definition and types of evidence

Evidence is an obvious certainty, expressed in such perceptible way that nobody can reasonably doubt about it. Evidence is the rule of truth and the right cause of certainty. For example, the whole is bigger than a part, the man lives, the water wets, the gold is solid.

Very clear truths without discussion are evident. We can differentiate four types of evidences: immediate, mediated, intrinsic and extrinsic.

a) Immediate evidence. When truth shows itself directly. Logical principles of identity, contradiction and excluded middle are examples of immediate evidence. The mathematics axioms are evident in a straight and immediate way.

b) Mediated evidence. It is the evidence that cannot be seen directly but after reasoning from other truths. You achieve it after a series of deductions.

c) Intrinsic evidence. You can achieve intrinsic evidence when you start from truths offered to our reason as true ones. The immediate and the mediated evidences in Mathematics are intrinsic.

d) Extrinsic evidence. It is the evidence justified in someone’s authority. For instance, we cannot see immediately historical events, but we believe in them due to the fact that historian have deeply studied the facts and have human authority so that we believe it. Church has the full divine authority and we believe in what she tells us as true.

A. Choose the right letter: a, b, c. (If the letter turns into red the answer is correct)

 1. Evidence is a clear a. doubt     b. opinion     c. certainty 2. The truth criterion is a. evidence     b. sincerity     c. opinion 3. Evidence appearing from reasoning is a. immediate     b. mediated     c. intrinsic 4. If truth shows itself directly, it is evidence a. immediate     b. mediated     c. sincerity 5. The evidence starting from true reasons is a. immediate     b. intrinsic     c. extrinsic 6. When evidence is founded in someone’s authority is a. immediate     b. intrinsic     c. extrinsic

2. The sources of knowledge

Man uses these sources of knowledge to be able to know: internal experience, external experience, reason and faith.

- Internal experience. It means to be aware of what is happening in our privacy. We experiment what we feel, wish, think, etc. Conscience is a safe source of knowledge.

- External experience is the knowledge of things around acquired from external senses, such as sight, hearing, smell, etc. Sometimes we doubt about things TV spreads, but when we see them with our own eyes, we do not doubt any longer. And sometimes we touch things besides see them. And that gives us evidence about their existence.

B. Choose the right letter: a, b, c.

 1. Man uses sources of a. knowledge     b. forgetfulness     c. opinion 2. How do you refer to the knowing of things around? a. internal experience     b. experiencia externa     c. reason 3. What happens in your own privacy is a. reason     b. external experience     c. internal experience 4. External senses give us a. reason     b. internal experience     c. external experience 5. We feel, wish and think. This is a. reason     b. internal experience     c. external experience 6. We see and touch things. This is a. external experience     b. internal experience     c. reason

3. Reason and faith

Reason is the faculty and ability to think typical of men. Man is a rational animal. With our reason we can make science and philosophy. Man notices reality with the senses (sensations and perceptions) and verify reasoning and thoughts about reality with the senses too.

The authority of well-prepared persons is another source of knowledge. We believe that the Earth is how geographers tell us and what historians relate to us about past events. We acquire natural knowledge by means of senses, reason and from what authorities communicate to us.

However, there is also supernatural knowledge, such as mysteries and dogmas we find in Religion. Our senses cannot perceive them and reason do not develop a clear understanding of them in spite of being reasonable. Church takes care of and transmits these truths, and has enough authority, so it is reasonable to accept and believe in religious truths.

C. Choose the right letter: a, b, c.

 1. The ability of thinking is a. reason     b. memory     c. attention 2. It is rational a. vegetal     b. animal     c. man 3. Sciences are made from a. memory     b. reason     c. attention 4. Well-prepared persons are related to us a. luck     b. earnings     c. authority 5. Religion is knowledge a. natural     b. supernatural     c. sensitive 6. We believe due to the authority of a. the Church     b. scientists     c. geographers

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®Arturo Ramo García.-Record of intellectual property of Teruel (Spain) No 141, of 29-IX-1999
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