Epistemology Final- Alysha Gillis

Initially at the beginning of this unit I had absolutely no idea what knowledge was. I think it was such a difficult question because knowledge is essentially so many things put together and we just call this word of knowing stuff “Knowledge.” We say we “know” subjects by writing tests, only to forget the information five seconds after times up, we say we “know” people that we just met, and we claim to “know” how to do things we were taught just five minutes ago. My conclusion to this question that we were asked was Knowledge is language. This seems weird to connect the 2 topics together but essentially language is knowledge as a whole. It it almost impossible to begin to talk about knowledge without thinking about language, words and grammar. I really wanted to dig into this topic because I just finished my metaphysics project on “What are words” and I wanted to connect my projects because I think now I have much more background information on linguistics so I can look deeper into my topic.

Reading: The most impactful and informative reading I came across was from the Encyclopedia of Philosophy and this was about the language of knowledge. It talked about different philosophers and what they think a person who speaks with “knowledge” should know. It stated:

(a) That speakers of a language know the grammatical properties of individual expressions of their language;

(b) That speakers of a language know the particular grammatical rules of a natural language; and

(c) That speakers of a language know the principles of universal grammar.

These 3 concepts are important when we are speaking in terms of knowledge. Words are completely meaningless  without knowledge of what the strange lines put together in a seemingly random formation unless you have prior knowledge of what these sounds or lines are supposed to mean. We cannot begin to discuss knowledge without really understanding how to manipulate the language to assist us in making our points.

Discussion: Conversations I had with classmates really seemed to help me push myself to find connections between topics that don’t seem to go together. It helped me understand my topic more because I think it caused me to try to look at language in a different light. My discussion with Courtney and Erin helped me find the connection between measuring knowledge and language. There are endless ways of measuring a person’s knowledge and one of these ways is a test. On this test it is important to use the right language, grammar and words to allow you to achieve the highest success because if your language use is wrong and there are spelling mistakes everywhere, you will be considered less knowledgeable so you will get a much lower mark.

Phil’s Day Off: Since my last phil’s day off was pretty successful and my topic didn’t change much, I decided to do exactly the same thing. I headed to the Vancouver Art Gallery for the second time in a month. Although I did the same thing, I was actually looking for something much different. I was still listening to conversations but this time I was listening to the type of language they used. I found that if they used artsy language, I made the assumption that they were more knowledgable on this subject. If I concluded them knowledgeable, I ultered my opinions on the art that they were talking about. For example: i found a really ugly looking abstract picture, to me it was ugly forest green lines on a canvas, a couple behind me were walking around and suddenly the lady stopped and gasped at this miraculous piece of art she had just seen. It turned out she was looking at the ugly green lines. She admired outloud this perfectly constructed geometrical lines with immaculate shading and prescice angles. She went on about how amazing it was, and becuase of the language she was using to describe this art, I assumed she was knowledgeable, in doing this I realized I was thinking to myself “wow I actually might kind of like it now.” My opinion changed becuase of this random womans artsy language.

Conclusion: The manipulation of language is a deciding factor on how knowledgable people think you are . In using it properly, your limit to how much knowledge you have is endless. Knowledge cannot exist without language and language cannot exist without knowledge, it is a completely co-dependant relationship.