A Theory of Knowledge: Mental Constructs
“This is a pen.” While there are many variations between the possibilities of things being pens, this is one of them. Even if I were dreaming, or a brain in a vat, I would know that this is a pen. I know that this is a pen because I have a mental construct of what a pen is. What I do not know is if I am really holding this pen. On that instance I am incorrect because I cannot form an accurate construct of me holding a pen. The construct of the pen, while it may or may not exist in my hand, does exist as a pen. Therefore, because of this, I may know that this is a pen. Yet what I cannot know is if I’m holding a pen, or if what I’m feeling is my hand is actually existing in the physical sense, which is what a skeptic would claim to be necessary for knowledge.
But of course, what is a mental construct? A mental construct is basically an idea that will consume space and has a specific meaning. When I am looking at this pen, or when I reference the word pen in language, my conception of ‘pen’ is the reference to my mental construct of what something means to be a pen. When ‘pen’ is spoken, the assumption is made that when that person says ‘pen’ they are referring to the same mental construct that I am when I would say ‘pen’. This invites a dilemma for in this case, you have to assume the accuracy of the claims or the soundness of what another person is saying. In this sense, the skeptical problem may ascertain a foothold. However this involves a greater discussion of meaning and titles which will be addressed later on.
Sensory input allows for mental constructs to be created. I may know ‘chair’ as in the one I am sitting in, only I may not know if I’m actually sitting in that chair. In terms of mental constructs I could combine “me” and “chair” to say that I am sitting in this chair, but then this would be a claim that the skeptics could refute due to the real-ness they desire. Even if I am a brain in a...