Friday, May 08, 2009

Epistemology

Epistemology is a branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope of knowledge. Also known as the theory of knowledge, epistemology analyzes the nature of knowledge and how it relates to truth, beliefs, and justifications.

Essentially, epistemology is discussing “knowledge-that” and “knowledge-how”. The easiest example is we may know “that” 1+1=2, but do we actually know “how” to add the two numbers in order to get the answer. This distinction between “knowledge-that” and “knowledge-how” has everything to do with our ability to achieve/succeed.

Knowledge is our general awareness or possession of information and many times forms our beliefs of what we deem to be true. Our beliefs are our internal thoughts and memories that exist within our minds, yet to become knowledge they must be true and justified. There is a necessary balance between “that” and “how” in order to create knowledge, because without truth and justification we do not create knowledge; we create beliefs.

In acting on beliefs we create the potential to accept something in our minds as true, yet lack the justification to create knowledge within our actions. In missing knowledge we act blindly on a belief that has just as much potential to lead us down the wrong path as it does the right path. Because of this we act on theory instead of experiment and never come to a reality base conclusion since we are working on a 50% probability based conclusion.

Our non-empirical knowledge is called priori knowledge, or knowledge independent of experience. The danger of this type of knowledge is that is accepted in advance to any real factual experience. In achievement we are more likely to succeed when we are seeking posteriori knowledge, or knowledge that is known by experience, is empirical, and arrives afterward. By creating empirical based knowledge, we create a greater chance of success because we took both the “knowledge-that” and “knowledge-how” into account when searching for knowledge.

Through our ability to know as fact that 1+1=2 and with the skill necessary to prove that same equation, we provide ourselves with truth through belief and justification, therefore creating the knowledge necessary to move forward. In acting on belief alone, we continually have to answer the same question over and over again because we don’t have significant enough truth in “that” and “how” to remove doubt from our actions.

Our success is dependant on our ability to remove question from our actions, to obtain the knowledge necessary to erase doubt so that we can move forward with fluidity and confidence so that we create reality. It is when we come to conclusions without empirical based truths, and base our knowledge off of these conclusions, that we lose our ability to act on reality, because our reality does not have a foundation of knowledge.

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