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GraceHartley

ProfessorButtenhopf
WaysofKnowing
4/12/16
Worldview

Worldview
Itisdifficulttobecomeawareofyourpersonalworldviewwithoutbecomingawarethat
everyoneelsehasaveryseparateworldviewaswell,justasmuchapartofthemselvesand
necessaryforperceivingaseyes,ears,orfingertips.AsKenFunkputsitinhisarticle
Whatisa
Worldview
,AworldviewisthesetofbeliefsaboutfundamentalaspectsofRealitythatground
andinfluenceallonesperceiving,thinking,knowinganddoing(Funk).Thisinevitable
developmentofonesconceptofrealitycomestobethroughtheconstantprocessingof
experiencesandinformationhowwebecomeawareof,understand,reactto,reflectonthem,etc.
..buildorperpetuateourviewsoftheworld.Understandingyourworldview,inpart,leadsyou
tounderstandyourselfitsimportanttoanalyzesuchanintegralpartofyourself,asitnotonly
dictatesyourreactionstotheworld,butyourinteractionwithit.
Itisdifficulttoaddressoneviewaloneconsideringtheyallbuildoffoneandotherand
relateonecantanalyzetheirviewofrealitywithoutalsoanalyzingtheirviewofknowledge,or
elsehowdoyouverifywhatyouknowaboutrealityandwhy?Howdoyoutalkaboutthe
purposeoftheuniversewithoutdiscussingitsorigins?Thesequential,separatefocusoneach
foundationoftheworldviewisonlyfororganization'ssake,startingwithmetaphysics
(perceptionofreality),epistemology(perceptionofbelief),axiology(perceptionofmorals),
theological(perceptionofdivineinfluence),cosmological(perceptionoforigins),
anthropological(perceptionofhumanoriginsandmeaning),andteleological(perceptionof
purpose).ErikEriksonasserts,Therelevanceofagivenitem...isderivedfromtherelevance
ofotheritemstowhichitcontributesrelevanceandfromwhich,bytheveryfactofits
contribution,itderivesadditionalmeaning(Erickson,45).Thisistrueofeachfoundational
belieftherelevanceofeachbeliefisnotonlyunavoidable,butgenerateadditionalmeaningand

implications.Thiswebofrelevanceandmeaningmaymakeonesbeliefsmorecomprehensive
andcohesive,orcreateconflictsandinconsistenciesinonesbeliefs.Inthispaper,Iwilldomy
bestacknowledgeancohesivenessorinconsistencies.
Ifindmetaphysicalbeliefstobefoundationalwithepistemologicalbeliefsitisfrom
onesrelationshipandperceivedknowledgeofrealityonecanformotherbeliefs.Realityitself
hasmanymovingpartsthatculminateasawhole.Somethings,quicklyverifiedbyphysical
evidence,areeasierformosttodependupon.Imaynotbeentirelycertainofwhetherornotwe
liveinsomesortofillusion,hallucination,ordream,butforthesakeofsanityandsimplicity,I
assumethephysicalworldandtheemotionsandideastiedtoitare
real
.Thismeansthatmy
worldviewinvolvesarealitythatispartiallymadeofmaterial/physicalthingsthatareoften
observable,andthenthethoughtsandfeelingssurroundingthem.Forexample,tome,aslapin
thefaceisreality,butthepain,surprise,andnegativeemotionsthatoftengowithitarealsoa
partofrealityourreactionstothephysicalworldcreateanundeniable,omnipresententity.
Thingssuchasart,culturaldiversity,intimaterelationships,thevalueplacedonpleasing
aestheticsthesethingssuggesttomethatweareinfluencedbysomethingimmaterialand
functionnotjusttosurvivebutlive.Thisdesirefor
more
,Ibelieveittobeapartofrealityby
virtueofitsomnipresence.
Thisbeingsaid,therelationshipbetweenthemindandthematerialworldis,inmy
opinion,dependentononeandother.Themindisnotonlyacomplexreactiontothephysical
world,butlinkedsomehow,throughsomeforceIdontunderstand,toit.Imnotcertainthereis
acosmicconsciousness.Iliketothinkthereis,thatourreactions/emotionsarenotonlyrecorded
onsomecosmiclevel,butthattheywillstillbehereoncewearegonesomehowbutIdont
knowIreallybelieveit.Itakemostafterthecorrespondencetheoryoftruth,andIjustdont
knowthereisawaytoprovethereisacosmicconsciousnessoftruth.Iliketotryandbasemost
ofmytruthsofffactsfoundinthematerialworld,butImsureIamveryinfluencedbywhatI
wanttobetrue,goingbypleasureorsatisfactionorhopeasopposedtoevidence.
Thisleadstoviewsonepistemology.IagreewithCliffordinhispiece
EthicsofBeliefs
,
thatitismorallywrongtonotjustifyonesbeliefwithsufficientevidence,especiallyduetoits
effectonothers.Whileitcanbeverydifficult,ifnotimpossible,toformbeliefsbasedsolelyoff

offactsofthematerialworldandwithnoinfluencefromaninternalbiastowardcomfort,orto
verifyeverypieceofinformationthatcomesyourway,thisdoesntmeanoneshouldntmakean
effort.Ifeelthebestefforts,inregardtothatwhichappliestothephysicalworld,arescientific
andlogical.Idontanyothermethodsthatworkaswell,butthatdoesntmeantheydontexist.
Sciencesimplytakeintoaccountallfactorsandevidence,tocreatethebestsupportedbeliefs.
However,despitemybeliefinthis,Idofindmyselfbasingcertainbeliefsonhopeandthedesire
tocomfortmyself,whichimpliesIfeelthereismuchtobecomfortedfrom.
Idofeelcertainthingslikethepresenceofahigherbeingorrealityasanillusionare
notpossibletoprove,evenscientifically.Whilereligiousbeliefsmaybedisproved,thismeans
ideasformulatedbymenwerewrong,notthatthereisntsomesortofgodordivinepowerinthe
universe.ThereisnoevidencesupportingthepresenceofGod(dependingwhoyouask),but
technicallythereisnocontraryevidence.Thismakesfaiththebeliefinsomethingformedwith
novalidevidenceseemlessimmoralorstrange.Knowledgeissimplyaverywellfounded
belief.Idontfeelthatknowledgeisdependentoncertainty,becauseIfindcertaintyimpossible.
Ofcourse,thereisrelativecertaintythatmakessenseincontext,butjustbecausewedontknow
ofwaystotestanddisprovethesecertaintiesdoesntmeantheyarentthere.AndbecauseIfind
certaintyimpossible,Ithinklivingwithuncertaintyisinevitable.
Thisbringsmetoaxiologicalbeliefsisitreallyimmoraltobelievesomethingon
insufficientevidence?Whatisimmorality?AfterthefirsttwotermsofWaysofKnowing,I
finditverydifficulttosaythereareabsolutelaws.Ibelieve,attheleast,therearewidelyagreed
uponlawswithdifferentminutia,butbecausetheconceptofmoralitywascreated
(subconsciouslyorinstinctively)bymantomaintainsomekindoforder,theyare,likeallhuman
madeconcepts,subjective.Forexample,moralityisnotlikewaterwecantbreakitdowninto
itsmolecularstructureandcallitdihydrogenmonoxide.Wecancertainlyanalyzeand
understanditbetter,butnotonanobjectiveorquantifiablelevellikeformulaeormaterial
substances.Whetherornotwewillbeabletofurtherrefineourmoralsisdependenttoomany
factorstosaywehavetiedmoralitytoasociocultural,politicocultural,even
economicculturalconceptsthatchangeconstantly.

AsIsaidearlier,Ibelievemancreatedmoralitytomaintainorder,andtoprevent
mankindfromdestroyingitself.IdontknowthatthereisaGodtoimposemorallaws,and,as
farasmytheologicalbeliefsgo,theyarebothexistasaresultofandarelimitedbymy
skepticism.Ifindithardtobelievethatonecouldsaywithsufficientevidence,thattherewasor
wasnotahigherforceintheworldIthinkthat,onthissubject,peoplewillbelievewhatismost
comfortabletothemiftheyneedadivine,patriarchalfiguretobringmeaningandsalvationto
theirlives,theywilllikelybelieveinaGodifscientificthinkingandthelogicalanalysisofwhat
theycanmostobjectivelyunderstandiscomforting,theywilllivebythat.Atthemoment,Ifind
scientificthinkingmoredependable,butIhaventcompletelydiscountedthepossibilityofa
higherpower.
Mytheologicalbeliefsheavilyinfluenceallmybeliefs,butespeciallymyideason
cosmology.Asfortheoriginoflife,Ifindconceptssupportedbyscientificevidencethemost
compelling,suchasEvolutionorTheBigBang.Mostreligiousideasarelimitedbyphysical
impossibilities,suchasthecompletedevelopmentofsentientandplantlifefromnothingina
matterofdaysorweeks.Imnotcertaintheuniversebegananddevelopedalongasingular,
destinedpaththemanycomplexfactorsandtheircodependenceononeandotherareeither
evidenceofauniversefollowingaveryspecificplandictatedbysomeunknownforce,orthatit
isamessyamalgamofcoincidesandrandomevents.Thisindecisiononwhetherornotthe
universecouldhavebeendifferentprovidesnorealbasisforpredictingfate,andIhavenotreally
addressedideassuchasdestiny,parallelorseparateuniverses,orthepassageoftime.Idolike
theshortstory,TheLastQuestion,byIsaacAsimovforexplainingacircularasopposedto
terminableexistenceoftheuniverse,andalsoexplainingadivinebeingandpeoplesrelationto
itbutthecomfortIfindinitandthelackofsufficientevidencepreventsmefromactually
formingsolidbeliefsoffofit.Ifeelmaynothaveformedmanysolidcosmologicalbeliefs
becauseImafraidtheanswersIformwilldepressmedeeply.Ioftentieasenseofhopetowhat
Idontunderstand,thatonceIunderstandititmightbeafulfillingunderstanding.However,Im
awarethepassiveformationofthesebeliefsleavemeopentoacceptinginsufficientevidence,
which,chancesare,wouldbefarmoreharmfulinmydevelopmentandexploitmydesirefora
fulfillinganswer.Astowhatafulfillingansweris,Imnotsure.

Asstatedinthelastparagraph,IbelievemostinEvolutionforhumanorigins,whichis
foundationalformyanthropologicalbeliefs.Iamcomfortedbytheideathatourbeginningand
existenceareverifiableonsomelevel,anditisthecombinationofthisinherentfulfillmentand
thesufficientevidenceprovidedbyscientificresearchthatpromptsmetoformthesebeliefs.Im
awarethatcomfortprovidedbybeliefinanotionisnotonlyaninadequatereasonforbelieving
something,butadangerousone,thoughImustacknowledgeonsomelevelitmotivatesmeto
believecertainthings.Iwishtobelievewewerecreatedbysomebenevolentforce,butIcantlet
wishfulthinkingextendsofar.Ithinkweareaphenomenaloccurrence,broughtintoexistence
bytherightcombinationofconditionsandcellgrowth.Atleastonaneurallevel,weareset
apartfromotheranimalsbyourabilitytomakeplanforthefuturebasedonpastevidence,and
becauseIconsiderconsciousness/themindtobetiedtomatter/thebrain,Idoconsiderhumans
differentfromotherformsoflifeonEarthatleast,butnotnecessarilybetterormoreworthyof
life.Ashumans,weendedupsomehowwithcomplexabilitiestothinkandfeelandinfluence
ourenvironmentquitebyaccidentwhichsomemaycharacterizeasfreewill.Maybewewerent
meanttodeveloptheseabilities,maybeweonlyhavetheillusionofthem,butIfeelthereisvery
littleguidanceastowhatwedowiththem.Thesequestionsofbeliefsareveryimportant,andwe
haveveryfewwaystoobjectivelyanswerthem,andnoobjectivelyreliableguidetohelpaside
fromscientificthought,whichdoesntaddresseverything.
Allofthisleadstothebigquestionofpurpose,theteleologicalquestion.Idonthonestly
believethereisahigherpurposeofanykindfortheuniverse.Onceagain,Ilooktostoriesfor
comfortTheEggbyAndyWeirisanothershortstory,offeringsomekindofcomfortthatall
thesufferingandpainofhumanexistenceisforsomekindofdivinematuration.Butthisconcept
onlycomfortsmeandIdontfullybelieveinit.Onthissubject,Ithinkhumansaretooignorant
ofallthegoingsonintheuniversetospeakofuniversalpurpose,andIthinkwearesoafraidof
thearbitrarinessofexistencethatwecreatepurposesorthepossibilitiesofpurposesfor
ourselves.Ithinkmanynotionsofpurposestemfromtheinstincttopreserveoneselfwe
convinceourselvesthereisareasontoliveandthatiswhywecontinuetolive,whichservesasa
selfsustainingdelusion.Imabsolutelysusceptibletothisdelusionmyself,thoughIcant
articulatewhatspecificpurposeIbelievetheretobe.
Ourbeliefsarenotonlytiedtoeachother,butaretiedtothebeliefsofothers.Imsure
mybeliefsdontcomefromsomepredetermined,ultimatelygenuineplacethatismineand

minealoneitisinfluencedifnotcreatedbytheviewsofothers.ThesedifferentWorldview
sourcescanpolluteorperpetuateideasofmyown,sothatsomeareinsincere,badlyfounded,or
conflictingwithWorldviewsthatweremoreindependentlygenerated(thoughnobeliefcanbe
trulyindependent).However,Imfairlycertain,alongwiththiscrossdevelopmentofbeliefs,we
haveabuiltinsystemtobelievewearerightweacceptourownviewsforthesakeofour
ownabilitytoact,forifwecouldnotdependonourfundamentalbeliefs,wecouldnotperceive,
think,oract.Thiscausesproblemsbecausenotonlyarethesebeliefshighlysubjectivewithouta
clearright,butthehardwiredbeliefinsomethingbasedontheneedforabeliefignoresthe
needforsufficientevidence.
Thesearesomeofthethingswhichmaycreateinconsistenciesinmybeliefnamely,the
outsideforceorhigherpowerImentioninthepaper.Basedonevidence,Iconsiderthisforce
tobetherulesoftendiscoveredbysciencesuchasthelawsofgravityormotion,theblueprint
forcellreproductionorlawsoflogicnonsentientforcesandrulesthatexplainhowthingswork
asopposedtoadeity.However,itmaybeapersonaltendency,situationalbias,ormore,butI
oftenfindmyselfattributingpersonalitytraitstowhateverthatforcemaybe.Perhapsthisstems
frommypersonaldesire(andIfeelauniversalhumandesire)tocreatebeliefsbasedoffwhatis
mostcomforting.Thoughitmotivatesaconstantandexhaustingreexaminationofmybeliefs,I
knowthisdesireinfluencesthemheavily,anditsinfluencebringsmebadlyfoundedbeliefs
whichwillhurtmemorethancomfortmeoverall.
ThesefactorsandbeliefscombinetoformayoungworldviewIhavenotfullydeveloped
allbeliefs,andthoseIdohaveareoftensubjecttoscrutiny.Thisyouthfulstatemayalsoexplain
theambiguityandsubjectivityIperceiveeverywhere,andtheconsciousdesiretothinklogically
combatingthesubconsciousdesiretobelievecomfortably.Ifeelthatwithconstantreading,
theorizing,experiencing,anddiscussing,amoreconsistentWorldviewwilldevelop,and,by
natureofbeingwellresearched,amorefulfillingone.

WorksCited
Erikson,E.H.(1964).
Childhoodandsociety
.NewYork:Norton.
Funk,K.(n.d.).WhatisaWorldview?RetrievedApril12,2016,from
http://web.engr.oregonstate.edu/~funkk/Personal/worldview.html