After discussing my ideas with a few of my classmates and doing some research myself, I have begun to think differently about where I believe knowledge comes from and how it is obtained. Learning and gaining knowledge is reliant on both ourselves and those around us. We obtain and retain knowledge in different ways depending on the place in which it is coming from. I came across a Wiki page on Bertrand Russell who “promoted the distinction between “knowledge by acquaintance” and “knowledge by description”” which helped me develop my ideas about knowledge and where it comes from. My proposition and supporting ideas are based on those of Bertrand Russell but adapted to reflect my thoughts.
Knowledge cannot be effectively obtained only through description.
Knowledge by acquaintance:
It is non-inferential, direct and obtained by direct experience between a person and what the person is gaining knowledge from. Gaining knowledge through acquaintance is, in my opinion, a more effective way of gaining knowledge. It is not clouded by bias or confusion in communication.
Knowledge by description:
It is inferential, indirect and obtained through description received from another person. Knowledge obtained through description can not be entirely justified because it is not being gained first hand. When knowledge is passed through individuals it may lose some of it validity.
Knowledge by acquaintance: You look at the colour of the sky and learn that it is pink. You are gaining knowledge about the colour of the sky as you are directly perceiving and experiencing it. This form of knowledge is more reliable and can be justified by the person gaining it because they are surrounded by the experience and obtaining the knowledge from it first hand.
Knowledge by description: Your friend tells you that the colour of the sky was pink yesterday. Your friend is directly telling you that the sky was pink but you are not directly perceiving it. This form of knowledge is not completely accurate in that the person gaining it has no way of proving it as they are not directly surrounded by the experience.
If knowledge is obtained by means of direct experience
And is non-inferential
Then the validity of this knowledge can be justified