Acknowledging Knowledge: Discussions and Ideas About Epistemology
At the beginning of this unit, I formulated three propositions relating to knowledge. First; knowledge is growth. As we learn, we evolve as both individuals and as a species. Second; knowledge is power. The more one learns, the more equipped one becomes to tackle life’s problems. Lastly; knowledge is everywhere. There is nothing that you can learn that is useless, as all learning fuels your growth and empowerment.
It was these three propositions with which I entered a number of discussions with my peers. Adam and I discussed the concept of humans creating new knowledge, the way an engineer invents a new machine. This new knowledge can come in the form of new laws, philosophies, works of art, methods of creating art, and so on. While we agreed that knowledge is based on fact, people have been known to create new things that would become fact, and subsequently knowledge. As an example, we imagined if Stephen Spielberg has never been born, and how the impact of his film making would never have occurred. The knowledge of film making that people have taken from his films would not exist. As such, Spielberg can be considered a creator of knowledge.
With many others, I discussed whether knowledge is internal or external. My theory is that we are surrounded by facts and information, none of which have any meaning until we properly consider them. Once we have absorbed this information, we attach meaning and value to it, and it becomes knowledge. In short, knowledge is fact which we have given meaning to. Thus, knowledge is internal, but the ingredients needed to create knowledge are external.
With Brian and Micaela, I discussed the relation between information, knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. We came to a mutual agreement that the four concepts can form a process. As stated earlier, we absorb information, and by attaching meaning to it, we create knowledge. Different people, however, can interpret knowledge in different ways. This leads into understanding, with the power of a person’s knowledge depending on how deeply they understand it. Greater understanding leads to greater wisdom; the ability to apply knowledge in a positive way. To summarize, information gives us knowledge, and our understanding of that knowledge determines our wisdom.
I entered these discussion with the mindset of any and all knowledge leading to empowerment and evolution. My explorations have only broadened my understanding of this idea. I now know that knowledge is an idea dependent on human consideration, that people are capable of creating new knowledge, and how well we understand our knowledge determines our wisdom.