Three Ways of Learning About the World


There are three fundamental ways of learning about the world, and they map well to concepts we’re all familiar with:

  • Philosophy: Determine the nature of reality by thinking about it.

  • Science: Determine the nature of reality by testing it.

  • Religion: Determine the nature of reality by accepting an external explanation on faith.

Reduced, these become:

  1. Thinking

  2. Testing

  3. Accepting

A number of these blend together in practice. For example, science often starts with thinking and then moves on to testing. And philosophy is often interested in determining if its models are correct, and may employ testing to that end.

Faith, or accepting, seems the most vulnerable to modernity under this light, since faith basically means believing absolutely without evidence.

Think about which combination of these you use to learn about the world. And ask yourself if you’re happy with the answer.

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