Can We Have Belief or Knowledge That Is Independent of Our Culture? Essay

1637 WordsJul 13, 20137 Pages
Can we have knowledge or beliefs that are independent of our culture? To even begin to analyse this question, we must first be able to define ‘culture’ so that we can properly investigate its effect on belief and knowledge. Culture is defined as being ‘The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively.’ This means that culture encompasses all areas of human achievement, which gives many possible angles to approach this problem. For the purpose of this essay ‘belief’ will be defined as ‘An acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists’ and knowledge as the ‘awareness or familiarity gained by experience of a fact or situation.’ There are many ways in which to analyse the question, and I will be focusing on the areas of mathematics, languages, and the human sciences (specifically history and sociology.) Mathematics is the only area of knowledge in which it can be said that there exists certain objectivity. This argument can be based on points made by the philosopher Plato. He claims that mathematics is independent of culture is independent until discovered. What he means by this is the fact that the logic behind mathematical theorems is unalterable, and undisputable, meaning that it is the same throughout all kinds of cultures, and only its application can be used in alternate methods by different cultures. This is called ‘Mathematical Realism.’ It is even possible to suggest the fact that the truth was the opposite; i.e. that culture is only as advanced as the mathematics behind it. For example in an industrial society, if the mathematics behind machines were not incredibly accurate society would be held back by this. However a relatively recent development by Brazilian mathematician Ubiratan D’Ambrosio in 1977, suggested the fact that mathematics is in fact linked to culture in quite a strong manner,
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