Knowledge is faith with conviction of the truth based on reason or experience. In other words, being convinced that something is true based on our feelings or thoughts is what it means to know.
At least that's what the classic definition of "know" sounds like, although there are other narrower connotations. For example, we can know, that is, identify, someone by name, appearance, etc.
What is it to know?
Philosophically, there are many different and more complex answers to this question. The branch of philosophy concerned with the study of this topic is called epistemology, or the theory or study of knowledge as such. It also includes other areas of philosophical inquiry, including (but not limited to) the philosophy of mind, language, and being (ontology, phenomenology, existentialism, etc.).
The problem of knowledge
Learning knowledge- this is what philosophers have been doing since the dawn of philosophical science. So what is "know" in the understanding of scientists? This is one of those eternal topics, like the nature of matter in the hard sciences: a question that has been studied since the time of Plato.
The discipline is known as epistemology, which comes from two Greek words: episteme, meaning knowledge, and logos, meaning word or mind. The term "epistemology" literally means reasoning about knowledge. Epistemologists study what knowledge is, what constitutes it and what its limits are, and why one needs to know.
Do we know something?
To answer this question, you need to have an idea of what the term "know" means. As a rule, people do not think about what knowledge is before assessing whether they have it or not. We simply declare that we know something - it's convenient. However, let's try to define the term "knowledge". What are its main characteristics?
- Confidence - information is difficult, if not impossible, to deny.
- Evidence - knowledge must be based on something.
- Practical - the statement should not only have a theoretical justification, but actually work in the real world.
- Broad agreement - most people should agree that the statement is true.
Although the criterion of "broad agreement" is rather controversial. The problem is that a lot of things we know can't be widely agreed upon. Suppose you are experiencing pain in your arm. Painvery strong and intense. You can tell your doctor that you know you are in pain. However, unfortunately, only you can claim to know (and as an added problem, you don't seem to have any proof): you just feel pain.
So what is knowledge?
Philosophers have tried to fit the answer to the question of what is to know in one term for centuries. However, like most things in philosophy, the generally accepted definition of knowledge is debatable, and there are many people who disagree with it. But at least it serves as a starting point for learning.
A definition involves three conditions, and philosophers say that when a person meets these three conditions, he can say that he knows something for real. Consider the fact that the Seattle Mariners have never won a World Series. By standard definitions, a person knows this fact if:
- a person believes a statement is true;
- in fact this statement is true;
- the statement is substantiated and proven.
Thus, knowledge has three main components: faith, truth and proof.