Our self-assurance of knowledge within the context of

Our general societies feeling of self-assurance, and certainty from doubt; surfaces with limited knowledge, but the feeling of ambiguity arises with awareness. In my opinion, it is automatically assumed that Von Goethe’s referred to our general humanity as “we”. Our general societies feeling of confidence often derives from the provision of robust justification. What we perceive as “knowing” often emerges from the certainty of our personal knowledge often based upon shared knowledge; suggested by experts of the area. Therefore, we as the general society do not feel the need to seek assurance as the information suggested by the professionals seem valid with strong justification, which may be misguided for authority worship. This approach in knowledge limits our possibility of obtaining more information as “we” society lack the motivation to seek for further justification of the topic or an elaboration of the information itself. This statement interests our general societies profound belief in their confidence upon their personal knowledge; but will the acceptance of new knowledge allow for more queries and doubts?


Within the statement, there are two distinct dictions; “confidence” and “doubt” that require analysis. Although, it is important to note that the definition will vary from each individual reading the statement as each being will have interpreted the meaning of the dictions in varied ways. As well as the context, each word is placed within may alter the definition of the words. In reference to the statement, confidence identifies to the feeling of certainty and self-assurance of knowledge within the context of this statement. “Doubt” refers to uncertainty, or to have an undecided opinion or belief. Although the feeling of doubt often connotes to distrust, can the influence of uncertainty be the cause of developed understandings and knowledge as it challenges the existing information?

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The collective terms of the arts, incorporate the creative productions of humans and encompasses the visual arts, the performance art, and the literary arts. The arts explore the experience and reality of being human and are an essential element of culture. In reference to this statement by JW von Goethe, the interaction between personal and shared knowledge of the arts had influenced the choice of this area of knowledge. The concept of certainty vs. uncertainty is not valid regarding the area of the arts; the aspect of knowledge on the body of work and its influence on the viewer’s interpretation of the art piece is mainly explored. Though aesthetic is a human nature, a pure response, how do you know its art? What is good art? How can it be classified as beautiful? Similarly to the natural sciences, when a body of work is initially observed without the background knowledge; the knowledge of the body of work is limited. Although art preference may vary depending on the viewer’s style and general predilection, the understanding of the body of work may be based upon the viewer’s personal interpretation and their relationship to the body of work itself, even if it may be unlike the artist’s intentions. Additionally, the knowledge of the body of work will influence the way the body of art will be interpreted as the artist’s context, and method of production will be questioned.


Additionally, the statement by JW von Goethe is reconnoitered in the area of the arts. Within the context of this area of knowledge, our knowledge of an artwork such as (context, artist, the method of production) will influence the way we have interpreted the art piece. This claim can be justified through a minimalistic artwork by Tony Smith, “Die” in 1962.The artwork specification was described by the artist as “a six-foot cube of quarter-inch hot-rolled steel with diagonal internal bracing.” The simplistic surface and lack of visual appeal comes across as antagonistic and disestablishing the traditional knowledge and comprehension of art; as it is often aesthetically or emotionally appealing to the viewers. However, with knowledge on the artwork and the artist’s intentions, the sculptures deceivingly title invites multiple connotations; it embarks to the concept of death and die casting, to one of a pair of dice, and ultimately, to death. In reference to this body of work and the statement, meaning of art piece becomes more qualified rather than absolute often produced through the interaction between the words and object. Tony Smith’s fundamentally converted the way sculptures could be perceived, how it could be made and essentially how minimalistic art could be understood. Referring back to the claim and statement, a viewer’s initial reaction to a box of steel will differ whilst being confident about their interpretation of the piece as their knowledge is limited. However, to a viewer who knows the context of the minimalist piece, it’s artist and method of production, their interpretation of the piece will be drastically different and queries and doubts will increase as they urge of gaining knowledge will develop.


In contrast, the possibility of the knowledge on an artwork will not influence the way we appreciate the art piece is probable and can be justified in an article by Christopher Hooton who had written an article on a pair of glasses that were left on the floor in a museum and was mistaken for an art piece at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. The artist, context, or method of production was not explored or questioned but the pair of glasses was automatically interpreted as a body of work. Ultimately, this suggests that knowledge is not necessarily continuously required to appreciate what can be interpreted as art. Additionally, depending on the viewer’s interpretation and possible relation with the piece, the body of work can be appreciated without any means of justification. Referencing the statement, with confidence in our personal knowledge and our ability to appreciate an object or body of work for what it is without having to seek for assurance and justification of its purpose.


Uncertainty is universal in all aspects of our daily lives, we are uncertain about where we will end up in college, who we will be in 5 years, or who we may marry etc. To us, uncertainty means the idea of not knowing. However, In the aspect of the natural sciences, uncertainty is how well something is known. In the natural sciences, knowledge comes about through testing hypotheses by experiment; this assumes that laboratory conditions accurately mimic what happens in the rest of the universe and that the world can be understood as a system of causes determining effects. There is often never absolute certainty as theorems and research are constantly developing with the development of technology and social standards, morals, and beliefs. Although there is often never a certainty, research reduces uncertainty through thorough analysis and examinations. In relation to the statement, the aspect of the natural sciences; are the doubts and uncertainties within the scientific research surfaces and induces mistrust in developed scientific theories? Those who do not specialize in the aspect of the science often are ignorant to the research process/ methodology and often adopt immediate reaction to a piece of information and do not seek for assurance or justification as research obtained by scientists as their input is often justified and their justification seems valid. They know with confidence as they feel certain about the knowledge provided by the experts; even if the evidence is misleading. However, those who are informed often doubt the information and research seek for more information to justify valuable claims and research provided by the expert. But what are the necessities for valuable scientific research? What is classified as valuable to the general society and researchers?


The approach of knowing with confidence with limited knowledge; but with knowledge doubt increases is well observed in natural sciences. Within this area of knowledge, scientific uncertainties induce mistrust in developed scientific theories. Raising the question, to what extended can scientific knowledge be trusted? This claim can be justified through the real-life situation on the elaborate fraud of the MMR vaccine and autism. Andrew Wakefield and 12 of his colleagues published a case series in Lancet in 1998. They had suggested that the measles, mumbles and rubella vaccine influences the behavioral regression and universal development disorder in children. After the epidemiological studies, the researchers refuted the posited link between the MRR vaccination and autism. Automatically, parents across the world did not vaccinate their children purely out of fear of the risk of autism and exposed their children of diseases (The MMR Vaccine and Autism: Sensation, Refutation, Retraction, and Fraud)1. Wakefield was targeted and vilifies by the medical community and had his medical license revoked by the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK (Dr. Andrew Wakefield Deals with Allegations)2. Furthermore, the scientific uncertainties within the medical community upon Wakefield’s research lead to allegations against him as a researcher and mistrust in his further scientific theories or research. In relation to the statement by JW von Goethe, “with knowledge doubt increases”, stating that the feeling of ambiguity arises with attentiveness. Those who are informed enables them to make informed decision on the issue of MMR vaccination. Evidently, parents who had refused to vaccinate their children in fear of autism with only knowledge from one study had to overcome the Measles outburst in the UK in 2008 and 2009, which significantly affected the vaccination of the children.


Dissimilarity, the uncertainties, and mistrust through knowing and doubting developed scientific theories develop understanding and challenge the scientific theories. Utilizing the same real-life situation of the elaborate fraud of the MMR vaccine and autism, the Wakefield fraud is listed as the most serious fraud in medical history. Relative to the statement by JW von Goethe, uncertainties and mistrust in the scientific community and general society has resulted into scientists and organization from across the world were more cautious with ethical considerations and the bias of any processing methods as the consequences will largely impact their profession and the mistrust in the sciences.





The area of the natural science is essentially the appeal to authority, but it’s not the authority of the individual, no matter how smart that individual is. It’s the authority of the collective community. It’s based on collective wisdom, the collective knowledge, the collective work of all of the scientists who have worked on a particular problem. Individuals who claimed to be against the MMR vaccinations are largely uninformed of the research and the process – adopting immediate reaction to one piece of information. Fundamentally, limited knowledge gave them a certainty, but they didn’t go on. Whereas those who were informed, their greater knowledge enabled them to make a more informed decision on that issue. However, dissimilarly to the area of the arts, knowledge on the history of the artwork, will shift the meaning and purpose of the piece. However, the arts can still be appreciated without the constant need for knowledge and the contextual aspect of the piece itself. This leads to the unexpected conclusion that although the feeling of self-assurance surfaces with limited knowledge, but with doubts exteriors with knowledge.



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