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Understanding the Meaning of Knowledge and Define

Question:

Can knowledge be defined?

Knowledge can be defined as the comprehension, understanding or awareness of certain thoughts, facts or opinions. There is a number of things one needs to make sure of understanding before trying knowing whether one can define knowledge or not. In order to so this, one must seek to understand the meaning of "knowledge" and "define".

"Define" is a verb which indicates how one can describe something or what it is that comprises the definition of something. Defining something can also be described as describing its definition. "Knowledge", on the other hand, is the attainment of facts, concepts, news or any thoughts or information in general.

One of the reason for the disagreement on e definition of the knowledge is the philosophers and epistemologists which is also known as the criterion problem.  (Goldberg, 2014). This essay aims to understand whether one can define knowledge. It is imperative to understand what knowledge means and what the attainment of knowledge stands for. In addition to this, one must also know what it means to define something. It is only possible to define knowledge after knowing the meanings of these two terms

We use knowledge in our everyday routine and it is known as the familiarity or awareness about various events, ideas and objects. (Henriques, 2013). In order for one to know whether knowledge is definable or whether has a definition, it is essential to be aware of the concept of epistemology. The study of all concepts of knowledge, its definition, validity and existence is comprised in the branch of epistemology. Epistemology is the name of the discipline that is normally derived from two  Greek words episteme which means knowledge and logos which means a word or reason (Pardi, 2011). One can begin by trying to answer questions such as what exactly is knowledge and what does it take for one to know something or have the knowledge of something?

In attempt to define knowledge, we must be able to see it from multiple aspects (Kambhampati, 2014). Some people define knowledge as a mental state of being aware of things. But how is this mental state different from the other mental states that a human being experiences in his lifetime such as fear, anger, sorrow, depression, happiness, calmness or excitement? One can begin by trying to categorize knowledge into different parts such as its different types. These types include knowledge of facts, knowledge of people and knowledge of skill. Knowledge can be split into knowing what (propositional knowledge), knowing how (procedural knowledge) and knowing of (acquaintance) (Anonymous, 1994).

Types of Knowledge

Knowledge of facts entails the comprehension and understanding of certain theories, concepts, information, data and concepts. Knowledge of facts is essential in making an individual aware about a certain quality, characteristic or condition of something. An example could be the following. "Mr. A works at a construction company.” From the aforementioned example, one can know about the fact that it is a construction company where Mr. A works. One might not personally have to know Mr. A or know everything about Mr. A's life to know that he works in a construction company. The above example is factual in nature and therefore, can be categorized as the "knowledge of facts".

Knowledge of people comprises of being acquainted to a certain individual, their habits, their qualities and their everyday life. This kind of knowledge of also comprises of the knowledge of places. Examples can include Mr. A knows Mr. B or Mr. A knows where Amsterdam is.

Knowledge of skill relates to the acquired knowledge of how to perform a certain skill. Examples include Mr. A knows how to drive a car or Mr. A knows how to operate a photocopy machine. Such knowledge is skill based.

Analyzing anything conceptually entails in trying to arrive at such a definition of the term that it describes what is being talked about precisely and exactly. The definition does not leave any exceptions or ambiguity. The idea is to be able to form a definition by undertaking the below mentioned steps.

The first steps entails the in depth analysis of what it is that one is trying to define. This includes description, and categorization of the thing. After analyzing, one must come up with a definition which precisely and concisely defines what one is talking about. Post this, one needs to ensure that there happen to be no exceptions or exceptional situations wherein the definition becomes untruthful, ambiguous, faulty or misleading. After all of this is done, and if one is able to find certain exceptional conditions such as the ones mentioned above, then one needs to go back and try to come up with another definition. This definition needs to be such that it excludes the conditions of exceptions and still clearly defines whatever it is that one is talking about.

It is essential to know that after having carried out all of the above steps, it is not necessary that one shall arrive at a perfect definition. However, it is important to get as close as possible to what one is trying to define

Analyzing Knowledge Conceptually

The Tripartite Theory of knowledge states that if a belief is true and that we are justified in holding this belief then it is knowledge (Christian, 2017). The tripartite analysis aims to arrive at a conclusion by trying to analyze three main criteria upon which the knowledge is based. The tripartite analysis is as follows.

It says that a subject "a" acquired the knowledge of a proposition "p" if and only if

A is certain of the truthfulness of proposition "p".

This can mean a number of things. However, the criterion points towards the acquired knowledge of proposition "p" by "a". Here are a number of instances in a person's life when je or she knows something, however they are either so confused or influenced by a number of other factors which renders then unsure of whether the knowledge they have is absolutely correct or not. These criteria become helpful in understanding whether the acquired knowledge is a believer whether the person is actually certain of it.

A is certain p is true

This directs towards the on-going debate in a person's mind between certainty or truthfulness and belief. A belief is more conceptual n nature and is not always true. Therefore, it is essential to take the necessity test as well as the test to know what is what. A person may believe that aliens do exist. However, his knowledge can be truthful and untruthful depending on whether scientists have actually been able to capture and alien and see for themselves. Ho until that point, the "knowledge" that the person has remains conceptual and a believe

A believes p is true.

Again, believing in something requires a person to have some knowledge about it. However, knowing whether the knowledge is try or not is basis of whether the knowledge is certainty or a belief.

In simpler words, the tripartite account can be explained by paying that someone’s knowledge of something has varying levels of categorizations in them..Knowing something and believing in something are two very different things. it is extremely important to understand that a person’s belief that they know something is very different from what they actually know. Therefore in order for a person to think or believe in something, it is essential that the person thinks that it is in fact true. Many authors have long discussed and given theories about what they think of knowledge and how they define it. Due to the extreme complexity and paradoxical conclusions, no theories or concepts have received wide acceptation. At most, a generally accepted phenomenon about knowledge is its description and definition as justified true belief. In order for beliefs to be regarded knowledge somebody had to believe it, there had to be justification for the belief and the belief had to be true (jadesmg, 2013). These days theways of analyzing knowledge has been very popular and is receiving a lot of attention mostly in the 20th century but not a single analysis has been accepted properly.  (Anonymous, The Analysis of Knowledge, 2017).

Conclusion

Defining knowledge can seem very confusing and vague at first. However, it has a lot to do with epistemology. Epistemology deals with the study of the nature, characteristics, quality and the varying types of knowledge. Knowledge itself is of various types such as knowledge of facts, knowledge of people, places or films etc. and knowledge of skill. There are a number of other criteria which can help in understanding and determining whether knowledge can e defined. One such criterion is the tripartite account. From the above discussion, one can also understand the difference between facts or truth and beliefs. One can come to know that in order for a person to believe that something is true, he or she must also think that that particular thing is true. Therefore, according to their knowledge, that particular thing is true.

References

Anonymous. (1994). Can knowledge be defined? Retrieved october 8, 2017, from epistemics.co.uk: https://www.epistemics.co.uk/staff/nmilton/papers/epistemology.htm

Anonymous. (2017, march 7). The Analysis of Knowledge. Retrieved october 10, 2017, from Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/knowledge-analysis/

Christian, S. (2017, July 7). What is the Tripartite Theory of knowledge? Retrieved october 9, 2017, from mytutor.co.uk/: https://www.mytutor.co.uk/answers/12420/A-Level/Philosophy/What-is-the-Tripartite-Theory-of-knowledge

Goldberg, M. (2014, september 15). Can We Truly Define Knowledge? Retrieved october 7, 2017, from scholarblogs.emory.edu: https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/millsonph100/2014/09/15/can-we-truly-define-knowledge/

Henriques, G. (2013, december 4). What Is Knowledge? A Brief Primer. Retrieved october 9, 2017, from Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/theory-knowledge/201312/what-is-knowledge-brief-primer

jadesmg. (2013, july 8). Is Knowledge Justified True Belief? - the tripartite theory and Gettier's counter examples. Retrieved october 9, 2017, from Hub Pages: https://hubpages.com/education/Is-Knowledge-Justified-True-Belief

Kambhampati, A. (2014, september 13). Defining Knowledge and Its Understanding of JTB. Retrieved october 8, 2017, from scholarblogs.emory.edu: https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/millsonph100/2014/09/13/defining-knowledge-and-its-understanding-of-jtb/

Pardi, P. (2011, september 22). The Knowledge Problem. Retrieved october 8, 2017, from Philosophy News: https://www.philosophynews.com/post/2011/09/22/What-is-Knowledge.aspx

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