To answer this question I think it is necessary to firstly define the word knowledge. According to the English dictionary knowledge is the familiarity, awareness, or understanding gained through experience or study or the sum or range of what has been perceived, discovered, or learned. Plato said that for us to know something there are some conditions: it must be true, we must actually believe it and there must be sufficient evidence of it.
He also stated that “There is nothing in the mind except what was first in the senses”. To answer the essay question I am going to base it on this argument. There are various sources where we can get knowledge from: experience, reason, emotions… It can be said that all human-beings adopt knowledge by simple nature; it is our senses that see, tough, smell, taste or hear a reality and transform it into knowledge for our brains to store. Our memory will keep these realities for a short or long period of time.
Memory is very important in that she allows us to access her in order to recuperate previously stored data that will help us remember some moment or reality. For example, we all know that if we throw a ball into the air we can expect it to fall back down, and that is because we have received this information through our senses, we have seen it happen many times so we expect it to do the same. It would not be true to say that we know this is going to happen because we know the “fundamental truth” (the law of Gravity) that explain this action of the ball falling.
The reason for this not to be true is that a child under the age of twelve has not come before this concept ever before but still knows what will happen with the ball; therefore it is wrong to say that because we know the “fundamental truth” we can predict what will happen with the ball. However, it can be argued that animals also live with the images and memories and that what makes us different to them is our ability to reason and think logically. Many philosophers argue that there is knowledge that can only be achieved by logical thinking. For example, we know that Catholic priests are unmarried, and we know it by definition.
If we think of a priest we think of someone devoted to religion and distanced from carnal desires. Nevertheless, I would argue that we can also know this definition by experience: we have achieved this knowledge through hearing someone say it, it transmitted it into our brain and our memory is the one that enables us to know it. Some philosophers argue that thoughts cannot be contained in formulas, but they can only be achieved with questions; which shows how reasoning is basic in the process of getting to know the truth, because just by experience we might not be unable to know it, it might me a lie what we are perceiving.
For example, a colour blind person might think that a car is green we it is actually red; but because the person has perceived it with his/her eyes she might think it is the truth; and this is when reason “comes into action”, if the person knows he/she is colour blind she will be able to take this handicap into account in order to find the truth. In conclusion, I will say that in order to acquire knowledge the two basic needs are experience and reason; they are the ones that enable us to find the “true justified belief”.