Whenever any discussion comes to the issue of knowledge, the subject will definitely be addressed from the matter of the truth and the facts. The person cannot live and develop, not comprehending the truth, without comparing the subjective images that occur around. Therefore the question about the truth has arisen during the most ancient times. Indeed with the question, there were also various answers in which both the truth, conditions of its discovery, and its position in life were understood in absolutely different manners. In the history of ideas, it is possible to allocate two opposite representations of truth.
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One vision is reduced to that the truth is objective, does not depend on any private opinions, and consequently is absolute. The absoluteness of the truth is a knowledge in which content completely corresponds to the validity and cannot be changed during the further development of science. It is meant that this truth cannot be denied by anybody, anywhere. It is all the same for all times and all the people from the moment of its discovery. This context is not only for people but also for any reasonable beings absolute truth remains the same.
Another point of view on the truth, professed by skeptics, says that nothing absolute in our knowledge is present: everything is relative, i.e., flowing and changeable. It is understood by such knowledge that all objective content does not possess completeness as relative truth is incomplete and sooner or later is exposed to elaboration. Each epoch and each day bear new sights, which quite often are directly sweeping aside the previous ones. On the basis of such representation of the truth, this paper analyzes the means by which the information that fills the human knowledge can be considered trustworthy, along with providing an example from practical life that represents such a situation.
In order to establish some criteria for evaluating the information, two steps could be performed. The first one is to provide a theoretical background on knowledge, and the second is to provide the practical context by the usage of which as an example the issue will be easier to evaluate.
K. Lehrer defines the word “Know” in the English language as follows: possession of a certain special picture of the ability to do something, or: knowledge of the meeting or access or direct contact. Distinguished philosopher “Russell” finds a difference between the two kinds of knowledge: knowledge of the meeting or direct contact, or directly aware of the senses, and knowledge described, involving any of the conclusions of mentality. “The theory of knowledge is as old as philosophy itself,” replied Plato on the dialectical relationship between knowledge and sincere belief. “Knowledge is the sincere belief and is warranted or justified by the evidence and proof.” Accordingly, there are three basic conditions that must be satisfied for a person to “know”:
- That the case be the subject of genuine knowledge (a truth),
- That a person who claims knowledge, in my mind about the issue, the subject of knowledge; any thought to this issue and has accepted it (a belief),
- That the person has evidence and proof to prove the case ratified: the subject of knowledge (a justification).
Plato also addressed this concept in several interviews the most important “sophist.” and Aristotle discussed it in the book “self” and “the perceived sense” and knowledge on the subject accurately in the book John Locke (1632 – 1704 m) “Study of human understanding,” and then came Kant (1724 – 1804 m), laying the nature and limits of knowledge and their relationship to existence. The philosophers in search of knowledge in terms of tools and sources, and persuasions in this matter thought as follows:
Mental doctrine: Rationalism
Mental agreed that the force of reason is innate in all people, and we can infer by the purely mental process, and without recourse to any experimental introductions, to reach real knowledge of the nature of the world.
Experimental doctrine: Empiricism
Doctrine adopted in the experimental path contrary to the theory of knowledge through the doctrine of Mental; as the Empiricists, experience or sensory experience is the source of knowledge, denied the existence of knowledge or advanced the principles of mentality, and it came at the head of the modern philosopher, “John Locke.”
Intuitive doctrine: Intuitionism
Bergen gold (1859 – 1941 m) said that, in addition to the mind, which just gives us the knowledge, that there is a whole other type of knowledge; such as the emotional experience, intuition of several types, such as, Sensory intuition, Experimental intuition, Mental intuition, Predictive intuition.
In order to provide the steps of defining the “trustworthy,” the chosen procedure requires going from the opposite, i.e., take an example of a Not trustworthy source of knowledge (doubtful would be more correct), compare it to a trustworthy material, and establish the criterion. As a trustworthy source of knowledge, the chosen resource is printed encyclopedias, and as the opposite, online resources were chosen in general, but in light of the popularity of a specific resource, “Wikipedia” was selected. It should be noted that the online origin of ‘Wikipedia” and the arguments on whether it is an encyclopedia or not is not discussed, and it was taken merely as a source of “knowledge.”
The first outline could be considered as accountability where “Old-school reference books hire expert scholars to write their articles, and employ skilled editors to check and double-check their work” How can the accountability of an encyclopedia be checked? It is not anonymous, and the editors are mentioned. Thus it is easier to trace the information to the person that is responsible for a specific article. On the other hand “Wikipedia” does not provide the criterion for the editors of its article. In this way, the first step to recognize trustworthy information is the credibility of the person that “brought the knowledge.”
Referring to the previous definition of the truth, in that sense, if paralleling the information to truth, it is seen that the encyclopedia does not provide arguable articles, biased opinions, or one-sided arguments. Thus, it could be said that the information in order to be trustworthy should be absolute truth, therefore if the subject is relative, it can not be established as trustworthy even if all views are mentioned because it bears merely opinions, and opinions can change with time.
Considering the latter, if the subject of investigation is a divided issue in itself, e.g., two doctrines, two movements, two approaches, two directions, then in such case, the most important aspect for such situation is neutrality. An example of neutrality could lie in the situation when analyzing the participation in some World by more than one country give space and credit to one side ignoring the other.
According to the previously mentioned conditions that must be satisfied for the persons to know, the evidence or the proof is a major aspect when considering whether the information is trustworthy. In the case of the information, the proof and the evidence can be called “justification” of the argument, or basically- the reference. In the informational technology, the authority of the information is a hierarchical process, where information based on an article, based on a book that refers this information to web blog, is independently on the content can not be considered as a trustworthy material that is based on scientific research that refers to a scholarly article. This issue is related to the authority of the resources in the same way as to the sources being free of errors or being outdated.
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Another criterion for trustworthy information could be demonstrated in the frequency that some knowledge is updated, which although can be beneficial imply the lack of full consideration of the subject rather than the fast pace of the changes that might occur. Thus, the information that is thoroughly checked can be considered trustworthy.
The division of knowledge based on trustworthy or not does not necessarily imply that this information should or should not be used. In deed in the case of “Wikipedia” the subject of arguments is its classification as an encyclopedia, however a starting point for a research this information can be used and moreover can lead to researching other resources that could classified as trustworthy to support some knowledge. In such a way, some sources of information can not be credited as authoritative, but at the same time it can be used to get the overall idea for further knowledge attainment.
The different doctrines that address the search of knowledge did not consider to the same degree the credibility of the sources to obtain the information. However, the era of the free information access, force the seeker for knowledge to filter the information he asks for and take some precautions to distinguish the information based on its credibility and the authority of its editors, its author, its reference and its neutrality.
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Bray, Hiawatha. 2004. “One great source — if you can trust it.” Boston. Web.
YOUNGWOOD, SUSAN. 2007. “WIKIPEDIA: What do they know; when do they know it, and when can we trust it?” Vermont Today. Web.
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