Knowledge, the Self and PDP’s
Today’s session explored the relationship between the nature of knowledge and the nature of the self. We were introduced to two conflicting bodies of knowledge. One being the Catholic Church, which taught and believed that the Earth was at the centre of everything and so everything revolved around the Earth. But at the beginning of the 17th century technology was staring to emerge; this included the telescope. Through this Galileo then realised that it is in fact the Earth that revolves around the sun.
Descartes aims to find a new foundation for knowledge, but also does not wish to upset the Catholic Church as was seen with Galileo and through this is stuck in a cartesian circle. On the other hand we have the German philosopher Leibniz who believed the universe to be of interconnected, simple substances, including souls. He believed that things are not isolated and that everything is connected: To be a self, you are made up of shared experiences with others.
To summarise the mind and soul are the same for both Leibniz and Decartes but for Decartes the soul is isolated, whereas for Leibniz they are interconnected.
Moving forward into the 20th century, we were then introduced to Wittgenstein who posed doubt on to the theory of isolation. He believed that we do not really have our own experiences, they are shared by others also. For example, we know that it’s Thursday and that the chairs are red because we share the experiences with others who are also able to confirm it. Whereas when isolated there is no one to confirm it – we doubt ourselves.
We then looked into PDP’s and before the lecture I was still unsure of what was expected of us, but now I am much clearer:
- Reflection of the option as a whole experience.
- My up’s and down’s.
- How we are as selves.
- How I have been studying – problems faced and how I have overcome them.
- Examples to cement ideas.
- Overall personal development.
I found today’s session to be rather reflective of one’s self and to see the journey I have encountered so far. I have been a little confused with the information given to us today regarding knowledge and the self, and therefore I will go back and re-read the texts provided to ensure I understand. I found the introduction to the PDP’s very useful as I now fully understand what is expected and think it will be useful to review my approaches to this option to identify any problems and therefore implement any improvements needed.