In different areas of knowledge, the methods of achieving knowledge also depend on the kind of knowledge that one aims to obtain. Areas of knowledge are classified into 7 sections, and by comparing each section with another, we are able to examine and evaluate the knowledge question “To what extent is “complete certainty” achievable”
In some cases, complete certainty is virtually unachievable. In arts, the construction of art is largely associated with the artist’s emotion and aims to provoke a personal response from the audience. It can be delivered through a large variety of media, and the message that it conveys might be quite different from what the audience’s interpretation. The very nature of arts makes the knowledge obtained from art more personal than the others, therefore complete certainty of the meaning of art is essentially impossible. How can one ever know that Da Vinci is trying to convey through the eyes of Mona Lisa?
In history, ideally one aims to be as objective as possible when describing a historical event. However, this is usually not the case as the writers tend to include bias in their writing, excluding key evidence and information in order to favour their own side, thus history can be very different if viewed from two perspectives. The most accurate history would be if the writing only includes dates and data, but a drawback is that no one could ever understand the coming of the event. If one includes the factors of influence, then the question becomes that how one gets to decide what is important and what should be excluded. The reliability of information obtained from historical writing is limited based on these reasons.
In some cases, the establishment of certain subjects relies on the certainty and justification of the knowledge. Mathematicians have the concept of rigorous proof, which leads to knowing something with complete certainty. This is because that mathematics relies on deductive reasoning, the process which draws broader conclusions from a narrow statement, which is usually an axiom. Without the axioms, the mathematical system would collapse as axioms are the foundation of how everything works.In mathematics, an equation usually only have 1 or few answers, and the calculations must abide the axioms. If the inner angles of a triangle do not equal to 180 degrees, many other theories based on this axiom would collapse and be proven invalid.
Similarly, natural sciences rely on the absolute certainty of its scientific knowledge to exists. The scientific method is more inductive as scientists first derive a hypothesis from an observation, consolidate it or abandon it after repeated trials of experiments. A hypothesis only becomes scientific knowledge after it has been peer-reviewed and repeated by different scientists, all conducted in a very formal manner. However, the world of science has experienced large paradigm shifts that sometimes completely invalidates previous theories such as the flat earth models after technological advancements. Thus, we regard any current models and theories of science as relative certainty, but not complete.