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Why do I really need knowledge?

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 1791 words Published: 1st May 2017

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The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning & purpose in our personal lives.

Imagine a world where the only reason to learn was to gain meaning and purpose in your life? Imagine a world where you only lived because you needed to learn? Well, you don’t need to imagine, that is the world you live in. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself this; why do I really need knowledge?

Knowledge is defined as “justified true belief”[1]. This means that knowledge is any justified belief that can be proven to be true. The question ‘The whole point of knowledge is to produce both meaning & purpose in our personal lives.’ will be the basis for my essay. This statement claims that as we gain knowledge, we gain meaning and purpose that affect our personal lives, which is to say, we find the answers we were looking for and also a thirst to know more. However, I do not believe that, when we gain knowledge, it affects everyone around us. My mother is a banker, the knowledge she has gained, not only helps her, but mainly impacts on others around her, because with that knowledge she has started her own bank. Whenever we gain knowledge, we also gain answers and more questions. In the Oscar Pistorius case, police investigators wanted to establish why he killed his girlfriend (meaning) and whether it was even him that killed his girlfriend (purpose).[2] In this case, meaning is linked to intent, because there needs to be a reason for it and purpose is linked to opportunity, because there needs to be a way. When we gain new knowledge we feel better aware and more curious about our surroundings. That is to say, we learn to give ourselves meaning and purpose and in turn affect others, there are many cases where this is proven. Isaac Newton can be an example, when he first wondered about gravity he was sitting under a tree when an apple fell on his head. It was then that he wondered what force made things fall. He sought to find meaning to why the objects always fell back to earth, so he began experimenting on different objects, using reason, he used the resulting knowledge he got from his observation to determine that anything that goes up must fall down to the ground[3]. These discover he made were later called the laws of gravity and since they have many uses. It has become common sense since people now know to be cautious when dealing with high places. When I was little, I picked up my baby sister from her crib while she was sleeping, when my mother found me with my sister dangling by a foot, she screamed. This is because she knows the fundamentals about gravity and that if my sister fell, she would’ve been hurt.

Isaac Newton also developed the laws of motion, which states that an object in motion will continue to stay in motion until and external force is acted on it[4]. The laws of motion are used in different fields like car manufacturing, car testing, aeronautics, These laws also have provided a basis for many creations, for example, parachutes, trampolines, diving boards, etc. When a person is driving and suddenly sees someone or something on the road in front of them, they immediately hit the brakes, as they know that if they kept going, they would collide with the person/thing in front of them, causing damage to the person/thing, or to themselves/their car. Also, when they hit the brakes, an opposing force is acted on the cars forward motion, which in turn stops the car from moving. Two summers ago, I was riding a bike in my cousin’s house really fast. I wanted to slow down so I could get off the bike, but I mistakenly pressed the brakes, the bike stop abruptly and I was thrown out of the seat, I flipped over the handlebars and landed on my head. This is how the laws of motion would apply, because I hit the brakes, the bike stopped, but I didn’t stop, so that was why I flew off.

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When Isaac Newton discovered these laws, it was not for any higher reason than just to learn the answers for the why’s and the what’s of knowledge, in this, he had gained the meaning, but he still had no intention of gaining a purpose for his life from this, it was later, that other people found the meaning and purpose in the knowledge that he had discovered.

Medical professionals (doctors, dentists, veterinaries, etc.) who have learnt medicine, anatomy, biology, etc. they used the knowledge they learnt to achieve a meaning of understanding how animal and plant bodied work, and the purpose of using that knowledge to help examine, treat or cure any injuries or illnesses within the body. My sister told me that she wants to become a pediatrician; she can only gain this knowledge for the purpose of helping children.

Whenever there is a terrorist attack, whether Boko Haram, ISIS, Al Qaeda, investigators always researches everything, not only the terrorists attacking, but the victims being attacked, this is so that they can stop more attacks from happening. This is because if they can understand why a place was attacked (meaning), then it would be easier to stop other attacks in other locations (purpose).

In economics, perfect competition is described as a situation where firms in an industry are relatively small in stature, have perfect knowledge of each other and are price takers[5]. This is mainly theoretically though as it cannot be practically implemented due to a wide range of unknown and inconstant variables. Although it is proven that this situation cannot exist, economists use the theory of perfect competition to determine the effect on the economy if it were to be practiced. This example is different because there is no real life scenario to go with it, but it still boosters the main point as the economists that theorized this scenario used whatever experimentation they had to come to the conclusion that it cannot exist, that is to say that the economists gained meaning from this experiment and the purpose of proving or disproving other economic scenarios.

A monopoly is a situation where by a single firm has control over an entire industry, so they enjoy economies of scale and have price setting abilities[6]. In Nigeria, there are four main telecommunications companies; MTN, Airtel, Glo & Etisalat, these four are individually owned by private firm. In Ethiopia, there is only one telecommunications company that is government owned. The Nigerian companies not only offer variety, but they also have an unrestricted service plan, meaning there are no limitations or restrictions to the use of the service, this is because their main aim of these firms is to make profit. The consumer can simply switch from one service provider to another if that customer is unsatisfied with their current service plan provider. The Ethiopian company is the only provider, so there is no need for any variety of services, they do not need to offer special plans or promotions or discounts because there is no competition for the company, there will also be heavily monitored and restricted use of the services because the main aim of the company is not to make profit, but to promote citizen optimization as they see fit, meaning that they will not allow any misuse of the service plan. There is also the fact that even if the customers are not satisfied with the service, there is nothing that they can do because they cannot change their service plan there is only one telecommunication company in the country. Here I have given two economic scenarios, the one in Nigeria is monopolistic competition, and the other in Ethiopia is a monopoly. In the first scenario, we can tell that there will be excess consumer satisfaction by the choice of four different service plans and the unrestricted access. However, in the second scenario, there would be excess dissatisfaction by the inability of choice, and the heavily restricted access. From my perception of these two scenarios, I can reason that the Nigerian telecommunication system is better because if offers the right of choice and other benefits as opposed to the Ethiopian telecommunication system which would only offer on choice with no special benefits and at whatever price the government sets. Here is an example of how we can gain meaning but not purpose, because if someone can gain the knowledge of the monopoly of the Ethiopian telecommunications company, they can now understand why people would want to move from Ethiopia to Nigeria, but they will have nothing to do with this knowledge.

The only reason for acquiring any form of knowledge would be to gain both meaning and purpose in our lives because once we have the knowledge, we understand how it involves up, meaning, and what we set out to accomplish with it.


google. theory+of+knowledge. n.d. website. 22 November 2014.

ib-theory-of-knowledge-website. n.d. Webpage. 22 January 2015.

theoryofknowledgestudents.com. n.d. webpage. 2 December 2014.

Blink, Jocelyn and Ian Dorton. Economics Course Companion. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.


[1] The philosopher Plato’s definition of knowledge

[2] Oscar Pistorius murder investigation

[3] Newton’s first law of gravity

[4] Isaac Newton’s first law of motion

[5] Theory of perfect competition

[6] Theory of monopoly


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