My Epistemological Beliefs as a Social Science Major

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A photo of my nephew when he was still a baby.

First, I believe C.S. Lewis when he wrote in his book “Miracles” that it’s actually hard to take any person–even a scientist–so seriously when he or she claims to be so sure about all the details of a particular element or topic that he or she would disregard other possibilities. I believe researchers would also agree on this. Even the subject Calculus may be appreciated or perceived by a mathematician as if he or she knows all about it, but a social science major may offer historical, social, and political insights as to the development of the subject (even if the social science major may find it hard to make the necessary calculations using the formulas given by the mathematician on the subject).

 

I believe that knowledge can be both certain and relative. It seems more certain when there seems to be a legitimate authority that affirms it. As a social science major, I perceive that the legitimate authority can be the Supreme Court, Houses of Congress, the President and his or her executive departments, and the top established institutions of the time of inquiry. History also shows that religion may find its way in justifying or legitimizing a particular knowledge and authority.

 

However, I do acknowledge that even those said sources of certainty may be wrong both in the time a subject was inquired of and the in the times and generations that came before or would come after. This why I would not cancel out the possibility of error and the chances wherein the knowledge deeply held today for a particular time and context is actually relative.

 

But I do believe in a Higher Authority or Being that would help teach us all things pertaining to truth, life, and godliness (Jn. 14:26), and would continue even if we do not get His messages immediately. He has His own learning objectives and pedagogies that He can pursue and implement with all the resources available for Him to use.

 

How have these beliefs been facilitating or inhibiting to the ways I learn?

 

They facilitate my learning by knowing that I do not know everything, which is why I must continually study and even seek out knowledge, whether new or fresh, from others. I may also seek out for insights. This can be true even for topics I feel comfortable about and even if I majored in them. This is more so because my M.A. degree is in Transformational Leadership, and we were taught to be in the look-out for ideas and methods that we can use to help develop communities if they prove to actually work for the benefit of our objectives regardless of the formal expertise of the source of those ideas and methods. Then, we can always analyze it later through scientific inquiry.

 

These beliefs inhibit me from learning when I do not feel motivated to achieve or know something because, after all, there is a possibility that I could never get all aspects of it at once. This is especially if I have short-term objectives and I need quick understanding.

 

To overemphasize on religion may let me produce insights that even my religion actually discourages. To base everything from the three branches of Government may confuse me, especially when there is a political or constitutional crisis or disagreements among them. What if at least one of them capitalize on fake news or false information? That can also be a problem.

 

To have my understanding in total agreement with the top-most and sophisticated universities may let me know more about theoretical stuff without knowing how to apply them properly, and I may find myself inadequate in imparting them to others if I do not have the opportunities and other resources my training tells as necessary for me to achieve my learning or teaching objectives.

 

My own beliefs may discourage me to learn because I believe I cannot know everything. Even if I know everything that can be known today, it doesn’t mean that I can know everything that can be known before and after a hundred years have passed!

 

Because I am aware of my limitations, I may delve only to topics and discussions I deem as necessary for me to achieve my own learning and professional goals. Aside from that, I can say that I would only learn them by chance or because I have modified my goals.

 

So how do I deal with this? I was advised to take one step at a time, especially now that I have been feeling mixed emotions and some health concerns. Perhaps, right now, I am looking for peace of mind while I am told to achieve basic professional requirements such as passing the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) as soon as possible.

 

I am learning to take one day at a time as I look forward to the future even today.

 

P.S. I am not so sure if I have to put other punctuation marks in the sentence I wrote before this.

 

Reference:

 

Lewis, C.S. (2009). The Complete C.S. Lewis Signature Classics. New York, New York: HarperCollins.

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