Unger's Absolute Certainty

912 Words 4 Pages
Unger exemplifies the first two claims with an overview of the word “knowing.” He first provides an example of two people reflecting on the existence of Napoleon. He argues that while the two seem to provide facts about the figure Napoleon, the two cannot be absolutely certain of the data they associate with him, as absolute certainty is a humanly impossible task. This implies the two did not truly know the statement. To better clarify, Unger distinguishes between knowing and accidental truth. Unger incorporates an example of a man searching for his cufflinks and finds them by happenstance, rather than memory. Unger appears to produce this as an analogy for what subjects typically understand as their “knowing.” While the truth of the end …show more content…
While in the skeletal demonstration of the argument Unger describes “absolute certainty” as being perfectly compatible with the act of knowing, his later arguments concerning the cufflinks incorporate the level of absolute certainty as a baseline for knowledge. That is, while in the presentation the level of certainty is merely a subcategory of knowledge, Unger shifts to assert that the level of certainty is actually a prerequisite for the attaining of true knowledge. Unger appears to be shifting his goalposts for the requirements of true knowledge and it is not obvious that it is perfectly all right for his subsequent arguments to follow directly from his skeletal …show more content…
In the earlier stages of Unger’s first arguments for the necessity of absolute certainty, he displays its possession as being a reasonable confidence in the truth of the matter, perhaps subject to change in light of more compelling evidence. He does, however, restructure his view of dogmatic absolute certainty in his later arguments, claiming that those possessing absolute certainty are intentionally and robustly disconnected from new evidence—logistically preventing these subjects from accurately acquiring truth. Though certainty interacts with knowledge, his demonstrations on the subject of dogmatism imply there is not necessarily a mathematical correlation between the subjective sense of certainty and knowledge. Given his seemingly contradictory feelings that certainty is utterly fundamental to knowledge while simultaneously being a subjective, perhaps dogmatic feeling, it is not obvious how Unger would reply to the claim that his argument presents piecewise demonstration of certainty, rather than a truly logical argument. Though his premises may lend weight to his conclusions, the inability to construe a continuous logical format relegate his demonstration to a merely probable assertion in the best

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