Many knowledge questions arise from this claim. The

Many knowledge
questions arise from this claim. The benefit one gains from assuming that uniformities
exist in the process of obtaining knowledge is questionable. Uniformities can be
defined as regular, equally distributed arrangements of data. Knowledge is a
map that takes into account such regularities in order to understand the
subject matter it aims to signify. In many cases, assuming the existence of
uniformities gives reason and clarity to the knowledge we imbibe. However,
since this concept of the existence of uniformities is an assumption, the
knowledge based on it may be uncertain and can cause misinterpretations in its
understanding. I wish to discuss the extent to which this claim is applicable
to real life situations and what effect this assumption has on the way we gain
knowledge. Throughout the course of my essay, I will be discussing this claim
with references to two areas of knowledge – Natural Sciences and Indigenous
knowledge systems. I will also be incorporating three ways of knowing – Sense
perception, Intuition and Memory. Although most of us are oblivious to it, our
lives depend on uniformities. It helps us understand the world around us; it is
a major contributor towards the progress of our world. Yet, the idea of
uniformities is still blurry and could possibly be defined as a coincidence. Uniformities
can alternatively be recognized as consecutive recurring occurrences that
happen coincidentally. A knowledge question that arises from this claim is

“To
what extent can uniformities be classified as a real or abstract occurrence?”

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A very important
concept that our daily lives depend on is time1. One
of the explanations of the invention of time asserts that it began in 1500 BC
with the visual perception of changes in shadow according to the position of
the sun and the recognition of repeated courses of day and night. However, as centuries
progressed, specialists in physics gave scientific explanations of time. These
theories were based on the uniformities of it. For example, 24 hours in a day,
60 minutes in an hour, 60 seconds in a minute etc. The progress of our lives moves
in a uniform pattern of days to months to years. It has always been argued upon
whether it occurred naturally or whether it was created by humans. Despite the
way in which time was created, it plays a vital role to every individual as it
maintains every element of our schedules and our health. However, a question
arises – though our practical routines are based on time, is time itself a routine
on its own? A conclusion cannot be made regarding how real time is. But the
uniform element of time, provides a sense of organization and decorum in
everything we do thus making it essential for our efficient functioning.

As much as
uniformities aid us in our lives, the questionable nature of its existence
often cause misjudgement of situations. This brings us to the next knowledge
question –

“How
valid is the knowledge obtained from assuming that uniformities exist?”

Validity would
imply that the recognition of a uniformity and the knowledge gained from it can
be considered true with a logical reasoning behind it. An important discovery
in the field of Natural Science was based on a uniformity – the discovery of the
different phases of the moon. The eight different shapes of the moon were
observed through sense-perception as a way of knowing and seemed to have a uniform
cyclic repetition every 29 days. This was supported by a scientific explanation
that the moon’s movement on its orbit causes its light and shadow proportion to
constantly vary. This example shows a valid case of the assumption of
uniformities leading to a factual explanation of a certain phenomenon.

  On the
other hand, the validity may not always be similar to the situation above. Under
the field of Natural Science again, is an example of how assuming uniformities
can produce false understandings. This example is related to Weather. In
Calgary, Canada,2 on August 23rd 2014,
was an unexpected snowfall in the middle of summer. The weather seemed to be
quite warm like a typical summer; the predicted forecast, based on intuition as
a way of knowing, was also sunny and humid with a high temperature as that was
the how the weather had been the weeks prior to that particular day. However, it
suddenly began to snow unlike the prediction of the weather forecast. As the weather
seemed to be in a regular uniform pattern, it was naturally assumed that it
would continue the same way till summer came to an end. But this was not the
case; the temperature dropped and people gave scientific explanations for this
occurrence. This drop was caused by direction of cold winds and a high altitude3. This
is an example of validity getting faltered due to assumption of the existence
of uniformities. The forecasters’ prediction based on the assumption of a
uniformity in weather was completely false and a scientific explanation was
also provided for this. Hence, assuming that uniformities exist can provide valid
knowledge only to some extent. The intuitive prediction in this situation also
answers this knowledge question –

“How
does Intuition lead to a biased perception of uniformity?”

In the situation
above, using intuition as a way of knowing caused a bias in their knowledge of
the weather. The forecasters used intuition to predict the weather on August 23rd
based on the steady, uniform weather conditions the previous weeks.

Uniformities
remains an ambiguous idea to us and its definition is often clouded by coincidences.
Uniformities can lead to true knowledge as well as false, misinterpreted understandings.
I believe that without a logical, concrete evidence and explanation of a situation
involving uniformities, like that of the example of the phases of the moon, the
knowledge cannot be considered true.

Along with
Natural Science, uniformities can also be linked to Indigenous knowledge
systems as an area of knowledge. The concept of uniformities have played a
major role in the development of communities in our society. Every community is
uniform in terms of its beliefs and behaviours. When we are brought up amongst
a certain group of people, we try to merge with the group as we, being social
animals, always have the need to fit in. This implies that uniformity is
observed in each community of people. This idea bring up a question –

“To
what extent does cultural uniformity aid as a source of reliable knowledge?”

Our moral values
are grounded by the culture we are brought up in. Our perception of the world
around us is shaped by this background. Most Asian countries follow a
collectivist4 approach to cultural
knowledge, which means that the culture emphasizes on family and the goals of
the group altogether. This is a uniform patterns of thinking amongst all the
members. They share their indigenous knowledge causing them to have similar perceptions
of the world. In this case, memory plays a role in grasping the knowledge from
the community. The ideals followed by the group is instilled in an individual’s
head from a very young age to introduce the next generation of the community to
the same, uniform thought-process. This uniformity of indigenous knowledge is
reliable within the community only.

This brings us
to the counterclaim, the indigenous knowledge we gain from being a part of a
particular community is specific to that culture’s school of thought hence the
knowledge cannot be applicable in other cultures or communities. Reliability
would imply that the knowledge is agreed and understood by anybody who
perceives it. An example to support this counterclaim would be the Indian
lifestyle. India has been facing a problem of improper disposal of trash for a
very long time; an individual mindlessly throws garbage on the street because
he may have witnessed someone else do it; this behaviour is already embedded in
their memory and does not strike as something odd or wrong. But if an
individual who grew up India were to visit the United States, he does not use
the same thought process and do the same in a foreign country. He tends to be
careful about the disposal of waste. This difference lies because of the lack
of reliability in culture-specific knowledge systems which are uniform in
nature.

Hence, cultural
uniformity produces reliable knowledge to a very small extent as it particularly
adheres to that community’s lifestyle and practices. Uniformity can never be a
universal concept due to the numerous human behaviours that is incapable of
following one generalized way of thinking. Uniformity of Indigenous knowledge
systems differ from community to community.

 Uniformities will always trace a path to
knowledge with or without the assumption of its existence but the knowledge is
not necessarily valid and reliable. We observe uniformities in almost
everything we see but these may also be mere coincidences. This perception of
uniformities is highly subjective to every individual causing the knowledge
they gain from it to differ. The line between coincidence of repetition and
uniformity is quite distorted and concrete conclusions cannot be made about
their comparison.

I perceive the
concept of uniformities as an ambiguous idea, its assumption can lead us both
to correct conclusions and false conclusions. Regardless of the accuracy of the
understanding we gain from it, uniformities are a part of seeking knowledge. To
conclude, uniformities are abstract, however they may be used as tools or devices
for creating and imbibing knowledge despite the intricacies and accuracies it may
bring.

1On The Way to Understanding the
Time Phenomenon: The Constructions Of Time In Natural Science: Part 1 by Levich AP

 

2
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3207582/Only-Alberta-eh-Snow-falls-Calgary-despite-middle-summer-bats-eyelid.html

3
https://www.theweathernetwork.com/news/articles/the-science-behind-summer-snow-whats-going-on-in-alberta-this-week/35584