Can we actually know a tree?


“Damage or differences in each individual’s eyes guarantees that when all look at a Tree it is the individuals’ perception of a Tree each perceives. Therefore the Tree-ness of the object is perceived in as many different manners as there are people just as are the myriad of properties perceived by each one of us regarding the Tree are different.”

Norway spruce christmas tree

If Trees are projections of our joint Perception, then is anything there at all – “to know”

Epistemology vs. Ontology

Epistemology is the study of knowledge, whereas ontology is the study of existence. Ontology raises questions about what exists, what kinds of things exist, and what it means for something to exist. It’s one of the most abstract branches of philosophy. Ontology, however, does deal with some pretty important questions. For example, the question “Does God exist?” is an ontological question, and one that many people have dedicated their lives to!

Ontology is closely related to epistemology, but they’re considered to be separate branches of philosophy. Consider the following…..

Empiricism is the philosophy of knowledge by observation. It holds that the best way to gain knowledge is to see, hear, touch, or otherwise sense things directly. In stronger versions, it holds that this is the only kind of knowledge that really counts. Empiricism has been extremely important to the history of science, as various thinkers over the centuries have proposed that all knowledge should be tested empirically rather than just through thought-experiments or rational calculation.

Empiricism is an idea about how we know things, which means it belongs to the field of epistemology.

What is truth?
Do we really know what we think we know?
How can knowledge be made more reliable?

Ontology asks the question” Are there Trees” Empiricism asks ” How can we know there are Trees.

Pragmatistis( another theory of knowledge) are more interested in the Name or word itself and asks what it means to an individual or society before they deal with its reality.

It is our aim to discover if we can know a Tree

At a stretch we might make the statement that there are no actual Trees except those that are created in our minds via electro chemical reactions through the Retina to the Visual Cortext. There is a common name for this ‘perception” and that is tree and all people share  it, though because each perception is individually different though we perceive the Tree it is not the same Tree as others’ trees since they might be short sighted, have Low vision, damaged Retinas and or Visual Cortexes.

My wife who has very low vision does not perceive a Tree as I do

Empiricists believe that we can know something, i.e the Tree if we See, hear,taste,touch or smell the treeiness of the Tree. That our 5 senses enable us to know whether anything is there, and which Noun best describes it once we know it(is there) – Empirisits believe that Trees exist as external objects for the same reasons that Russell does not.

Can we have absolute kowledge of the Tree?

No. Since the varoius specific aspects of Knowing a Tree depends upon our field of expertese and no one has knowledge in every field, and our knowledge about/of Trees will be different as investigation into Treeiness proceeds to discover other aspects oo Trees not previously in that previous Paradigm.

What is truth?
Do we really know what we think we know?
How can knowledge be made more reliable?

To the extent of my studies on Trees, experiments that must be repeatable, in the various or no fields at all, I have limited knowledge of the Tree other than it does exist.

I know this by my five senses, and my belief that by these I know there are Trees.

Repeatable experiments or quantity of the same results can make knowledge more reliable.

Here we are moving towards the History and Philosophy of Science which teaches more acurate ways by which to test truth.

The history and philosophy of science (HPS) is an academic discipline that encompasses the philosophy of science and the history of science. Although many scholars in the field are trained primarily as either historians or as philosophers, there are degree-granting departments of HPS at several prominent universities (see below).


Philosophy of science is a sub-field of philosophy concerned with the foundations, methods, and implications of science. The central questions of this study concern what qualifies as science, the reliability of scientific theories, and the ultimate purpose of science. This discipline overlaps with metaphysics, ontology, and epistemology, for example, when it explores the relationship between science and truth.

The history of science and technology (HST) is a field of history which examines how humanity’s understanding of the natural world (science) and ability to manipulate it (technology) have changed over the centuries. This academic discipline also studies the cultural, economic, and political impacts of scientific innovation.

Andrew James Blair BA Philosophy and Pschology 1998 ( with History and Philosophy of Science as a spring  board to Epistemology.


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