The Intelligent Person

The Life Foundations Nexus






Copyright September 21, 2003 7:16 PM CST

By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti


Updated September 27, 2003 5:08 PM CST

Copyright September 27, 2003 5:08 PM CST

By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti




I’m doing what’s right.  Why don't I have certainty?  The answer is simple.  Certainty is not something you “have.”  Certainty is something you "know about."


People often think of certainty in the wrong way.  This thinking is referred to as “reification” (called also “entification”).  What is reification?  Reification is the process of reifying.  What is “reifying”?  Reifying is believing that a nonphysical thing is a physical thing.  This is similar, for example, to believing that “Superman” is a real person or that the “Death Star” in the first Star Wars movie is a real physical object.  People often think that certainty is “something physical” and that, therefore, they can experience it.


Of course, certainty is not a physical thing and it is not something that we can experience.  However, we do experience something.  What we do experience is something that most people mistakenly believe is certainty.  This “something” is referred to as “the certainty cognos-datum.”  The certainty cognos-datum is one of several cognos-datums experienced by people.


What is a “cognos-datum”?  A cognos-datum is, in effect, a mental “sense-datum.”  What is a sense-datum?  A sense-datum is an unexaminable bodily sensation.  You cannot examine a sense-datum; you can only have it.  Similarly, you cannot examine a cognos-datum; you can only have it.  The difference between a sense-datum and a cognos-datum is that a sense-datum occurs in the body and a cognos-datum occurs in the mind.  Please note that a cognos-datum is not a bodily sensation but is “something like a bodily sensation.”


We see then that what most people call certainty is actually the cognos-datum that accompanies certainty.  To put it more simply, what most people call certainty is actually an unexaminable mental experience that accompanies certainty.


Well, if what we experience is not certainty, then what is?  As we said above, certainty is something that we “know about.”  IT IS NOT SOMETHING THAT WE EXPERIENCE.  If we don’t experience certainty, then how can we know we have it?  Again, you don’t have it; you “know about” it.  Well, then, how can we know that we “know about” it?  The “knowing about” certainty is a product of intuition.  In plain English, you “just know” that you have certainty when you have certainty.


Finally, someone might ask:  “why don’t I know about certainty what I want to know about certainty?  They need the answer to the question Why does God leave us in the dark?