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Practical CognitionTheories of Knowledge Karl MarxIn his early years of writing Karl Marxs ideas were similar to American Pragmatismespecially his ideas about epistemology He defines truth in a pragmatic fashion andexplains cognition in terms of practical needs of the human being While some of his ideaswere not followed to their logical conclusion nor made sense the fundamentals of hisepistemology containvaluable ideas which can be viewed as furthering pragmatism as a respectable philosophyHis theory of cognition states that cognition is a biological function of the human whichis used as a tool for his survivalMarx defines truth in a pragmatic way The truth value of a judgement is due to theusefulness of accepting or rejecting the judgement A statement is true if accepting itmakes a positive difference or has a helpful influence and it is false if accepting itcauses difficulty ordissatisfaction The meaning of a statement is the practical result of accepting thestatement In general then the truth or falsity of a statement is relative not only tothe individual accepting or rejecting the statement but also to the circumstances inwhich that person findshimself Truth is relative but Marx is not an extreme relativist no one to be takenseriously is because there is a constraint to how relative the truth can be Humans aremaking the truth judgements and humans have a common element viz their needs which donot vary greatly between peopleHumans are in contact with nature at a fundamental level The human understanding ofnature is a consequence of the fact that nature confronts humans when they try to fulfilltheir needs This is the case with any organism and each species reacts according to thetools of that speciesOne of the human tools is the intellect and it works through the cognition of theperception of elements of nature Cognition occurs as the organizing of sensory data intocategories Without the ability to make generalizations man would not be able to thinkMoreover the humancapacity to think is exactly the same
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