If you do not believe, you WILL NOT understand
If you do not believe, you WILL NOT understand. - Augustine
What do you all think about this notion from the Christian philosopher Augustine?
This thread is NOT about Christianity, this is about epistemology.
Augustine claimed that all humans have "a priori" knowledge that is essential to know anything. For instance, if you do not believe you can trust your senses, you will not gain any knowledge. You did not initially run any test to trust your senses, you simply naturally believe they can be trusted. You have faith in them. Augustine argued that if you did not believe you COULD KNOW something, you would never believe anything. The basic proposition is that in order to understand anything, you have to believe something, that you can actually know anything.
We don’t really have any proof that we can trust our senses. We don’t really have proof that we weren’t created 2 minutes ago with our memories implanted. Yet, we trust that our experiences are real and the senses can be trusted. So we place our faith in what we think is true, even though there is no real way to prove it.
What do you all think? His point was that it takes an act of faith to gain knowledge that comes through senses and stored in memory.