NOTE: Lately I have been contemplating what it means to “know” something as true or false. What follows is the beginning of my attempt to explore this, and similar questions. My thoughts on the subject are highly influenced by David Hume.
All human knowledge is a direct function of human experience. Human experience comes in two separate, but related, forms. The first form is the experience of the five senses: taste, smell, touch, sight, and sound. The second form is experiences internal to the human mind: emotion, general thought, idea formulation, etc… Of course, the internal workings of human experience are essential to interpret and contextualize the experience of the external senses and so, in some sense, all human experience, or at least the interpretation thereof, can be classified as internal to the human mind.
In An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, David Hume makes an explicit distinction between the experiential moment, with its accompanying sensations, and the later recollection of that experience. Indeed “everyone will readily allow that there is a considerable difference between the perceptions of the mind, when a man feels the pain of excessive heat, or the pleasure of moderate warmth, and when he afterwards recalls to his memory this sensation, or anticipates it by his imagination.”(Hume 1772, 2004) The recollection, however strong, is always but an inferior copy of the moment itself. Likewise, descriptions of the experience cannot equal the sensations and understanding of the experience. Hume explains: “All the colours of poetry, however splendid, can never paint natural objects in such a manner as to make the description be taken for real landscape” and “the most lively thought is still inferior to the dullest sensation.”