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{{other uses}}{{pp-semi-indef|small=yes}}Knowledge is a familiarity, awareness, or understanding of someone or something, such as facts, information, descriptions, or skills, which is acquired through experience or education by perceiving, discovering, or learning.Knowledge can refer to a theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It can be implicit (as with practical skill or expertise) or explicit (as with the theoretical understanding of a subject); it can be more or less formal or systematic.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20100714023323weblink">weblink yes, 2010-07-14, knowledge: definition of knowledge in Oxford dictionary (American English) (US), oxforddictionaries.com, In philosophy, the study of knowledge is called epistemology; the philosopher Plato famously defined knowledge as "justified true belief", though this definition is now thought by some analytic philosophers{{Citation needed|reason=Reliable source needed for philosophers who think the justified true belief definition is undermined by gettier problems|date=April 2017}} to be problematic because of the Gettier problems while others defend the platonic definition.{{Citation |publisher = Clarendon Press |publication-place = Oxford, UK |author = Paul Boghossian |url =weblink |title = Fear of Knowledge: Against relativism and constructivism |publication-date = 2007 }}, Chapter 7, pp. 95–101. However, several definitions of knowledge and theories to explain it exist.Knowledge acquisition involves complex cognitive processes: perception, communication, and reasoning;WEB
, Dekel
, Gil
, Methodology
,weblink
, 3 July 2006, while knowledge is also said to be related to the capacity of acknowledgement in human beings.Stanley Cavell, "Knowing and Acknowledging", Must We Mean What We Say? (Cambridge University Press, 2002), 238–266.

Theories of knowledge

File:Knowledge-Reid-Highsmith.jpeg|thumb|right|Robert Reid, Knowledge (1896). Thomas Jefferson BuildingThomas Jefferson BuildingThe definition of knowledge is a matter of ongoing debate among philosophers in the field of epistemology. The classical definition, described but not ultimately endorsed by Plato,In Plato's Theaetetus, Socrates and Theaetetus discuss three definitions of knowledge: knowledge as nothing but perception, knowledge as true judgment, and, finally, knowledge as a true judgment with an account. Each of these definitions is shown to be unsatisfactory. specifies that a statement must meet three (wikt:criterion|criteria) in order to be considered knowledge: it must be justified, true, and believed. Some claim that these conditions are not sufficient, as Gettier case examples allegedly demonstrate. There are a number of alternatives proposed, including Robert Nozick's arguments for a requirement that knowledge 'tracks the truth' and Simon Blackburn's additional requirement that we do not want to say that those who meet any of these conditions 'through a defect, flaw, or failure' have knowledge. Richard Kirkham suggests that our definition of knowledge requires that the evidence for the belief necessitates its truth.JOURNAL, Does the Gettier Problem Rest on a Mistake?, Richard L., Kirkham, Mind, New Series, 93, 372, October 1984, 501–513, Oxford University Press on behalf of the Mind Association, 2254258, jstor {{subscription}}{{Dead link|date=November 2016}}In contrast to this approach, Ludwig Wittgenstein observed, following Moore's paradox, that one can say "He believes it, but it isn't so," but not "He knows it, but it isn't so."Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty, remark 42 He goes on to argue that these do not correspond to distinct mental states, but rather to distinct ways of talking about conviction. What is different here is not the mental state of the speaker, but the activity in which they are engaged. For example, on this account, to know that the kettle is boiling is not to be in a particular state of mind, but to perform a particular task with the statement that the kettle is boiling. Wittgenstein sought to bypass the difficulty of definition by looking to the way "knowledge" is used in natural languages. He saw knowledge as a case of a family resemblance. Following this idea, "knowledge" has been reconstructed as a cluster concept that points out relevant features but that is not adequately captured by any definition.Gottschalk-Mazouz, N. (2008): "Internet and the flow of knowledge," in: Hrachovec, H.; Pichler, A. (Hg.): Philosophy of the Information Society. Proceedings of the 30. International Ludwig Wittgenstein Symposium Kirchberg am Wechsel, Austria 2007. Volume 2, Frankfurt, Paris, Lancaster, New Brunswik: Ontos, S. 215–232. WEB,weblink Archived copy, 2015-05-24, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20150524081117weblink">weblink 2015-05-24,

Communicating knowledge

File:File-Los portadores de la antorcha.jpg|thumb|Los portadores de la antorcha (The Torch-Bearers) – Sculpture by Anna Hyatt Huntington symbolizing the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next (Ciudad Universitaria, Madrid, Spain)]]Symbolic representations can be used to indicate meaning and can be thought of as a dynamic process. Hence the transfer of the symbolic representation can be viewed as one (wikt:ascription|ascription) process whereby knowledge can be transferred. Other forms of communication include observation and imitation, verbal exchange, and audio and video recordings. Philosophers of language and semioticians construct and analyze theories of knowledge transfer or communication.While many would agree that one of the most universal and significant tools for the transfer of knowledge is writing and reading (of many kinds), argument over the usefulness of the written word exists nonetheless, with some scholars skeptical of its impact on societies. In his collection of essays (Technopoly: the Surrender of Culture to Technology|Technopoly), Neil Postman demonstrates the argument against the use of writing through an excerpt from Plato's work Phaedrus (Postman, Neil (1992) Technopoly, Vintage, New York, pp 73). In this excerpt, the scholar Socrates recounts the story of Thamus, the Egyptian king and Theuth the inventor of the written word. In this story, Theuth presents his new invention "writing" to King Thamus, telling Thamus that his new invention "will improve both the wisdom and memory of the Egyptians" (Postman, Neil (1992) Technopoly, Vintage, New York, p. 74). King Thamus is skeptical of this new invention and rejects it as a tool of recollection rather than retained knowledge. He argues that the written word will infect the Egyptian people with fake knowledge as they will be able to attain facts and stories from an external source and will no longer be forced to mentally retain large quantities of knowledge themselves (Postman, Neil (1992) Technopoly, Vintage, New York, p. 74).Classical early modern theories of knowledge, especially those advancing the influential empiricism of the philosopher John Locke, were based implicitly or explicitly on a model of the mind which likened ideas to words.BOOK, Hacking, Ian, Why Does Language Matter to Philosophy?, 1975, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge,weblink 9780521099981, This analogy between language and thought laid the foundation for a graphic conception of knowledge in which the mind was treated as a table, a container of content, that had to be stocked with facts reduced to letters, numbers or symbols. This created a situation in which the spatial alignment of words on the page carried great cognitive weight, so much so that educators paid very close attention to the visual structure of information on the page and in notebooks.JOURNAL, Eddy, Matthew Daniel, The Shape of Knowledge: Children and the Visual Culture of Literacy and Numeracy, Science in Context, 2013, 26, 2, 215–245,weblink 10.1017/s0269889713000045, Major libraries today can have millions of books of knowledge (in addition to works of fiction). It is only recently that audio and video technology for recording knowledge have become available and the use of these still requires replay equipment and electricity. Verbal teaching and handing down of knowledge is limited to those who would have contact with the transmitter or someone who could interpret written work. Writing is still the most available and most universal of all forms of recording and transmitting knowledge. It stands unchallenged as mankind's primary technology of knowledge transfer down through the ages and to all cultures and languages of the world.{{citation needed|date=May 2013}}{{Disputed inline|text=Writing is still the most available and most universal of all forms of recording and transmitting knowledge. It stands unchallenged as mankind's primary technology of knowledge transfer down through the ages and to all cultures and languages of the world.|Writing as the "primary technology of knowledge transfer" (disputed text)|date=May 2013}}

Situated knowledge

{{Redirect|Situated knowledges|the Donna Haraway essay|Situated Knowledges}}Situated knowledge is knowledge specific to a particular situation. It is a term coined by Donna Haraway as an extension of the feminist approaches of "successor science" suggested by Sandra Harding, one which "offers a more adequate, richer, better account of a world, in order to live in it well and in critical, reflexive relation to our own as well as others' practices of domination and the unequal parts of privilege and oppression that makes up all positions.""Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective". Haraway, Donna. Feminist Studies Vol. 14, No. 3. pp. 575–599. 1988. This situation partially transforms science into a narrative, which Arturo Escobar explains as, "neither fictions nor supposed facts." This narrative of situation is historical textures woven of fact and fiction, and as Escobar explains further, "even the most neutral scientific domains are narratives in this sense," insisting that rather than a purpose dismissing science as a trivial matter of contingency, "it is to treat (this narrative) in the most serious way, without succumbing to its mystification as 'the truth' or to the ironic skepticism common to many critiques.""Introduction: Development and the Anthropology of Modernity". Escobar, Arturo. Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World.Haraway's argument stems from the limitations of the human perception, as well as the overemphasis of the sense of vision in science. According to Haraway, vision in science has been, "used to signify a leap out of the marked body and into a conquering gaze from nowhere." This is the "gaze that mythically inscribes all the marked bodies, that makes the unmarked category claim the power to see and not be seen, to represent while escaping representation." This causes a limitation of views in the position of science itself as a potential player in the creation of knowledge, resulting in a position of "modest witness". This is what Haraway terms a "god trick", or the aforementioned representation while escaping representation.Chapter 1. Haraway, Donna. Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium. FemaleMan© Meets_OncoMouse2. Feminism and Technoscience. 1997. In order to avoid this, "Haraway perpetuates a tradition of thought which emphasizes the importance of the subject in terms of both ethical and political accountability"."Posthuman, All Too Human: Towards a New Process Ontology". Braidotti, Rosi. Theory Culture Vol. 23. pp. 197–208. 2006.Some methods of generating knowledge, such as trial and error, or learning from experience, tend to create highly situational knowledge. One of the main attributes of the scientific method is that the theories it generates are much less situational than knowledge gained by other methods.{{Citation needed|date=September 2007}}Situational knowledge is often embedded in language, culture, or traditions. This integration of situational knowledge is an allusion to the community, and its attempts at collecting subjective perspectives into an embodiment "of views from somewhere." Knowledge generated through experience is called knowledge "a posteriori", meaning afterwards. The pure existence of a term like "a posteriori" means this also has a counterpart. In this case, that is knowledge "a priori", meaning before. The knowledge prior to any experience means that there are certain "assumptions" that one takes for granted. For example, if you are being told about a chair, it is clear to you that the chair is in space, that it is 3D. This knowledge is not knowledge that one can "forget", even someone suffering from amnesia experiences the world in 3D.{{Citation needed|date=September 2007}}Even though Haraway's arguments are largely based on feminist studies, this idea of different worlds, as well as the skeptic stance of situated knowledge is present in the main arguments of post-structuralism. Fundamentally, both argue the contingency of knowledge on the presence of history; power, and geography, as well as the rejection of universal rules or laws or elementary structures; and the idea of power as an inherited trait of objectification."The Subject and Power". Foucault, Michel. Critical Inquiry Volume 9, No. 4. pp. 777–795. 1982

Partial knowledge

File:Blind men and elephant2.jpg|300px|thumb|right|The parable of Blind men and an elephantBlind men and an elephantOne discipline of epistemology focuses on partial knowledge. In most cases, it is not possible to understand an information domain exhaustively; our knowledge is always incomplete or partial. Most real problems have to be solved by taking advantage of a partial understanding of the problem context and problem data, unlike the typical math problems one might solve at school, where all data is given and one is given a complete understanding of formulas necessary to solve them.{{Citation needed|date=September 2007}}This idea is also present in the concept of bounded rationality which assumes that in real life situations people often have a limited amount of information and make decisions accordingly.Intuition is the ability to acquire partial knowledge without inference or the use of reason.Oxford English Dictionary An individual may "know" about a situation and be unable to explain the process that led to their knowledge.

Scientific knowledge

File:Francis Bacon 2.jpg|thumb|left|upright|Sir Francis Bacon, "Knowledge is Power"]]The development of the scientific method has made a significant contribution to how knowledge of the physical world and its phenomena is acquired.WEB,weblink Science – Definition of science by Merriam-Webster, merriam-webster.com, To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering observable and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning and experimentation."[4] Rules for the study of natural philosophy", {{harvnb|Newton|1999|pp=794–796}}, from the General Scholium, which follows Book 3, The System of the World. The scientific method consists of the collection of data through observation and experimentation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses.scientific method, Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Science, and the nature of scientific knowledge have also become the subject of Philosophy. As science itself has developed, scientific knowledge now includes a broader usageWEB,weblink Stop bullying the 'soft' sciences, Timothy D., Wilson, 12 July 2012, LA Times, in the soft sciences such as biology and the social sciences – discussed elsewhere as meta-epistemology, or genetic epistemology, and to some extent related to "theory of cognitive development". Note that "epistemology" is the study of knowledge and how it is acquired. Science is "the process used everyday to logically complete thoughts through inference of facts determined by calculated experiments." Sir Francis Bacon was critical in the historical development of the scientific method; his works established and popularized an inductive methodology for scientific inquiry. His famous aphorism, "knowledge is power", is found in the Meditations Sacrae (1597).WEB, Sir Francis Bacon – Quotationspage.com,weblink 2009-07-08, Until recent times, at least in the Western tradition, it was simply taken for granted that knowledge was something possessed only by humans – and probably adult humans at that. Sometimes the notion might stretch to Society-as-such, as in (e. g.) "the knowledge possessed by the Coptic culture" (as opposed to its individual members), but that was not assured either. Nor was it usual to consider unconscious knowledge in any systematic way until this approach was popularized by Freud.There is quite a good case for this exclusive specialization used by philosophers, in that it allows for in-depth study of logic-procedures and other abstractions which are not found elsewhere. However this may lead to problems whenever the topic spills over into those excluded domains – e. g. when Kant (following Newton) dismissed Space and Time as axiomatically "transcendental" and "a priori" – a claim later disproved by Piaget's clinical studies. It also seems likely that the vexed problem of "infinite regress" can be largely (but not completely) solved by proper attention to how unconscious concepts are actually developed, both during infantile learning and as inherited "pseudo-transcendentals" inherited from the trial-and-error of previous generations. See also "Tacit knowledge".
  • Piaget, J., and B.Inhelder (1927/1969). The child's conception of time. Routledge & Kegan Paul: London.
  • Piaget, J., and B. Inhelder (1948/1956). The child's conception of space. Routledge & Kegan Paul: London.
Other biological domains where "knowledge" might be said to reside, include: (iii) the immune system, and (iv) in the DNA of the genetic code. See the list of four "epistemological domains": Popper, (1975);Popper, K.R. (1975). "The rationality of scientific revolutions"; in Rom Harré (ed.), Problems of Scientific Revolution: Scientific Progress and Obstacles to Progress in the Sciences. Clarendon Press: Oxford. and Traill (2008weblink Table S, p. 31) – also references by both to Niels Jerne.Such considerations seem to call for a separate definition of "knowledge" to cover the biological systems. For biologists, knowledge must be usefully available to the system, though that system need not be conscious. Thus the criteria seem to be:
  • The system should apparently be dynamic and self-organizing (unlike a mere book on its own).
  • The knowledge must constitute some sort of representation of "the outside world",This "outside world" could include other subsystems within the same organism – e. g. different "mental levels" corresponding to different Piagetian stages. See Theory of cognitive development. or ways of dealing with it (directly or indirectly).
  • Some way must exist for the system to access this information quickly enough for it to be useful.
Scientific knowledge may not involve a claim to certainty, maintaining skepticism means that a scientist will never be absolutely certain when they are correct and when they are not. It is thus an irony of proper scientific method that one must doubt even when correct, in the hopes that this practice will lead to greater convergence on the truth in general.WEB,weblink philosophy bites, philosophybites.com,

Religious meaning of knowledge

In many expressions of Christianity, such as Catholicism and Anglicanism, knowledge is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.WEB,weblink Part Three, No. 1831, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2007-04-20, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20070504201314weblink">weblink 2007-05-04, The Old Testament's tree of the knowledge of good and evil contained the knowledge that separated Man from God: "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil..." ({{bibleverse||Genesis|3:22|KJV}})In Gnosticism, divine knowledge or gnosis is hoped to be attained.विद्या दान (Vidya Daan) i.e. knowledge sharing is a major part of Daan, a tenet of all Dharmic Religions.WEB,weblink विद्या दान ही सबसे बडा दान : विहिप – Vishva Hindu Parishad – Official Website, vhp.org, yes,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20110820205238weblink">weblink 2011-08-20, Hindu Scriptures present two kinds of knowledge, Paroksh Gyan and Prataksh Gyan. Paroksh Gyan (also spelled Paroksha-Jnana) is secondhand knowledge: knowledge obtained from books, hearsay, etc. Prataksh Gyan (also spelled Prataksha-Jnana) is the knowledge borne of direct experience, i.e., knowledge that one discovers for oneself.WEB,weblink Chapter 7, The Philosophy of the Panchadasi, Swami Krishnananda, The Divine Life SocietyJnana yoga ("path of knowledge") is one of three main types of yoga expounded by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. (It is compared and contrasted with Bhakti#Bhakti Yoga>Bhakti Yoga and Karma yoga.)In Islam, knowledge (Arabic: علم, ʿilm) is given great significance. "The Knowing" (al-ʿAlīm) is one of the 99 names reflecting distinct attributes of God. The Qur'an asserts that knowledge comes from God (QURAN, 2, 239, nosup, no, ) and various hadith encourage the acquisition of knowledge. Muhammad is reported to have said "Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave" and "Verily the men of knowledge are the inheritors of the prophets". Islamic scholars, theologians and jurists are often given the title alim, meaning "knowledgeble". {{Citation needed|date=May 2009}}In Jewish tradition, knowledge (Hebrew: דעת da'ath) is considered one of the most valuable traits a person can acquire. Observant Jews recite three times a day in the Amidah "Favor us with knowledge, understanding and discretion that come from you. Exalted are you, Existent-One, the gracious giver of knowledge." The Tanakh states, "A wise man gains power, and a man of knowledge maintains power", and "knowledge is chosen above gold".

As a measure of religiosity in sociology of religion

According to the sociologist Mervin F. Verbit, knowledge may be understood as one of the key components of religiosity. Religious knowledge itself may be broken down into four dimensions:
  • content
  • frequency
  • intensity
  • centrality
The content of one's religious knowledge may vary from person to person, as will the degree to which it may occupy the person's mind (frequency), the intensity of the knowledge, and the centrality of the information (in that religious tradition, or to that individual).Verbit, M. F. (1970). The components and dimensions of religious behavior: Toward a reconceptualization of religiosity. American mosaic, 24, 39.Küçükcan, T. (2010). Multidimensional Approach to Religion: a way of looking at religious phenomena. Journal for the Study of Religions and Ideologies, 4(10), 60–70weblink

See also

{{Wikipedia books|Epistemology}}

References

{{reflist}}

External links

{{sisterlinks|knowledge}}
  • {{PhilPapers|category|knowledge}}
  • IEP, knowledg, Knowledge,
  • SEP, knowledge-value, The Value of Knowledge,
  • SEP, knowledge-analysis, The Analysis of Knowledge,
  • SEP, knowledge-acquaindescrip, Knowledge by Acquaintance vs. Description,
  • {{InPho|taxonomy|2390}}
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