Can a person know something they cannot prove?

Essay by maxhackHigh School, 11th grade May 2004

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Can a person know something they can't prove? I believe that a person can know some things without proving them while others need to be proved. It is a matter of what they claim to know and the perspective you take in analysing their proposition. I will discuss the possibility of knowing something without being able to prove it and also the possibility that if something can not be proven then the knower does not know what he/she claims to know.

After many attempts in defining what it is to 'know' something, and finding that it is difficult to do so completely and without flaw, I have decided to simply say that to 'know' something is to believe that a fact is true. This belief must come from prior experiences, acquaintances, perceptions, emotions, etc. that a person has had. It is wise to note that what a person 'knows' is not always true.

For the purposes of this essay when I refer to truth or what is true I will be speaking only of absolute truth; that which was, is and always will be true no matter the perception of mankind.

Personally, I believe a person can know things they cannot prove. There are many examples of things a person can know but cannot prove. Perhaps this is because of a limited amount of knowledge on the subject. For example, I know that the earth is round. I would not be able to prove that it is round or even provide substantial evidence that it is. However, I know that it is round because it has been scientifically proven in the past and as science continues to expand it has remained a fact. I am merely acquainted with the fact that the earth is round as I am with many...