Over time, people have questioned the existence of knowledge. The question is whether humans know anything at all. Philosophers believe that knowledge is the product of uncertainty. The definition of knowledge is an ongoing debate that has proved difficult throughout history. According to the Meriam Webster Dictionary, knowledge is the fact or condition of knowing something with familiarity gained through experience or association or the acquaintance with or understanding of science, art, or technique. Hence, knowledge is a perennial subject that has been continuously refined over time. Since ancient times, prominent philosophers have defined the problem differently, and an exploration of the concept by modern works creates an understanding of the practical problems and ways of navigating the available information to avoid creating problems on how we identify some things. In the first part, this paper covers the concept of knowledge in detail and how it is produced. Further, it explores the defining characteristics of knowledge and methods like pedagogies and interpretations in the subsequent parts. Thus, throughout this paper, the discussion is based on the central argument that knowledge is objective and a justified belief backed with sufficient evidence.
Form the definition, and knowledge can be used about a political or theoretical understanding of a subject. It can either be implicit or explicit and more/less of a systematic or formal study. The acquisition of knowledge entails intricate cognitive processes like communication, perception, and reasoning. Further, there is an argument that knowledge is associated with the degree of acknowledgment in human beings. Various theories have been developed to explain the concept of knowledge. The common theory developed in this regard is epistemology. In Greek, epistemology comes from two words, episteme – knowledge, and logos – word of reason. Hence, epistemology is the reason for knowledge and epistemologists study the things that comprise knowledge. This theory of knowledge is essential in creating the basis upon which knowledge is founded.
After the creation and production of knowledge, passing it ion from the source to the consumer is what creates value. Symbolic representation is one of the dynamic processes used to transfer knowledge. Other forms of communication that can be used include observation, verbal, and communication among others. However, even if most people agree that writing and reading is the most significant universal tool of transferring knowledge, arguments over the written word exist because some scholars are skeptical over the impact of the phenomena in the society. Using Socrates’ argument, after Theuth invented the written word, the then Egyptian king, Thamus, rejected the invention as a tool of recollection rather than retained knowledge. According to Thamus, the invention would increase the reliance on Egyptians on external sources to attain and facts and stories. Hence, they will no longer be able to hold and retain large quantities of information themselves.
The classical theories of knowledge were founded on the model of the mind implicitly or explicitly that likened ideas to words. The analogy between language and thought formed the graphic foundation of knowledge. In this model, the mind was considered as a table, container of content, packed with facts that were reduced to letters, numbers or symbols. This created an alignment of words and great cognitive weight with educators paying attention to the visual structure of information. Most libraries have a larger stock of knowledge. Until recently, audio and video technology of recording knowledge became available. However, it requires the use of electricity and equipment for replaying the media for access. The transmission of verbal knowledge and teaching is limited only to those people who are in touch with the transmitter. Hence, writing remains man’s unchallenged primary form of transferring technology throughout all the ages and is the most available universal method.
The Production of Knowledge
Most people are uncomfortable with the idea that universal knowledge is lacking. Many people, especially philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists have tried to establish the source of knowledge since ancient times. The search is still on in modern times. Usually, when children are born, they learn most things from their parents, teachers and spiritual leaders as well as other authorities. However, once an individual becomes of age, s/he starts to discover that some of the things s/he has been taught are either false or true. This happens after questioning most of the beliefs that people hold onto. Common factors that raise questions include religion, forms of government and science. These factors form the source of knowledge.
Knowledge can be classified as either scientific or religious. All these forms of knowledge are essential because they enhance our understanding of the universe and the things that happen around us. For instance, scientific knowledge helps us in understanding the physical world and how the various phenomena in the world are acquired. Scientific knowledge is subject to the principles of reasoning and experimentation. Hence, scientific knowledge is proved by gathering observable and measurable evidence. In recent times, the extent of scientific knowledge has broadened and can be used on a broad basis. On a daily basis, people use scientific knowledge to complete thoughts logically through inference of facts. Hence, science is one source of knowledge that informs our daily activities.
Religion forms another source of knowledge. Christians like Catholics and Anglicans believe that knowledge is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. From the creation story in Genesis, God created the tree of knowledge – good and evil. This tree contained knowledge that separated man from God, and after taking the forbidden fruit, a man was able to identify and distinguish good from wrong. In Gnosticism, there is hope that an individual will attain divine knowledge after knowing God. Other religions like Islam also acquaint knowledge with greater significance. The Quran asserts that knowledge comes from God. Finally, the Jewish religion also considers knowledge as the most valuable trait that an individual can acquire. In support of this position, sociologists like Mervin Verbit argue that knowledge should be understood as a key component of religion, which can be broken into components like content, frequency, intensity, and centrality. These sentiments vindicate the value with which people associate knowledge, especially from a religious perspective.
When assessing the extent of knowledge on a subject, it can be considered from different perspectives — for instance, the situated knowledge which has specific knowledge of a particular situation. The argument is based on the limitation of the human perspective. The method of creating generational knowledge like trial and error and learning from experience are critical in enhancing situational awareness. Another perspective is partial knowledge, a discipline of epistemology. In most instances, it is impossible for people to understand a given situation exhaustively. Hence, the knowledge of a certain domain is always partial, and when we make decisions, they are based on the available knowledge. The same idea applies to unbounded rationality. In real life situations, people have limited information, which they use to make decisions accordingly.
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