Epistemology is a philosophy that specifically focuses on the scope of knowledge. In a sense the questions is asked “what we know” or “What we can be sure of”. These are the basic fundamentals that surround how we think. In this paper, I will discuss views presented by philosophers that relate to me and my profession. In addition, I will explore the similarities and differences in epistemology. Perception as it relates to epistemology focuses on our perpetual knowledge. There are two types of perception that can be discussed, our perpetual beliefs and our perpetual knowledge. In general perception is the process in which we gain knowledge by being in the world and having experiences. These experiences can be acquired by using our five senses; sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Every time a person sees, hears, smells or tastes, we learn or experiences something new. What is the actual purpose of knowledge, and how is knowledge acquired? That is the question that individuals such as Cooper (1999) and Feldman (2003) have worked to answer, and that are still discussed today. The purpose of knowledge is something that could easily be argued. In other words, one person's belief as to why knowledge is needed may be far different from that of another person. It is also important to consider that what knowledge actually is will differ between people. Some people see their beliefs as facts, while others are clearer about the separation between those two areas. Because of that, it is impossible to define the purpose of knowledge unless one looks at all different types of knowledge from all different perspectives, and attempts to define each one. Knowledge, as it relates to leadership, is much more than just being "book smart." Leaders must lead the organization with knowledge that comes from books on the subject and experience in their chosen field. However, leaders must lead people by learning to relate to them (Bachman & Fuqua, 1983; Cohen & Manion, 1989). Knowledgeable leaders often use transformational leadership or servant leadership. This is designed to help leaders and their followers work as a team, instead of having them separated so strongly by who is "in charge." Leaders must still lead, of course, but they cannot be effective in their task if no one is interested in following them. That is true with large companies. As an employee of a Fortune 500 telecommunications company, I manage and train adult learners. The position entails training on material at a moment’s notice. When one thinks about knowledge and how it is delivered, you also must think about how information is received. Not everyone believes that is important, but knowledge has to be used in this instance to be effective. If I do not know my job duties, I am not able to help others succeed and keep the company moving forward. In addition, if my opinion is sought about training knowledge, I must be able to back that opinion up with facts in order to ensure that I can continue to help the company and the people who follow me and ask for my recommendations. There is a great deal of responsibility that comes with such a large organization, and I take that very seriously. This is why I make an effort to learn all that I can about the work that I do so that I will always be well prepared in my position and will have the knowledge I need to assist others. Part of being knowledgeable is knowing when to admit that you do not know something. For example, when delivering training, I would not take one's beliefs and turn them into facts, because that could impact how the company performs and how I do my job. The epistemology that is unique to me largely agrees with both the implicit and explicit epistemology of my profession. While I believe in the value of knowledge, I also understand that knowledge is highly subjective and so is the way people learn. In other words, not every person does well with a particular kind of knowledge, and some people learn in very different ways. There are learners who need to read the material, other learners are visual and then there are learners who require demonstration. Many learners can hear something and learn the concepts without any further demonstration. There are two issues that affect this. How the specific person learns, and what that person is being asked to learn. In other words, just like some people learn things differently than others, the type of concepts being learned may be best explained in a particular way. . The opportunity that I possess as a doctorial learner is that being a facilitator myself, I must take my knowledge of facilitation and teaching and separate it from my ability to learn. I must continue to tell myself that knowledge really is power but only if it is used correctly. Learning for me is the end point or the ultimate goal. This is whether I am teaching or learning myself. I encourage those with whom I work to pursue their goals, dreams, and desires through the gaining of knowledge. In addition to learning, that knowledge should be examined and studied. Some of it may be found to be irrelevant or faulty, and some of it may be found to be extremely important or even life-changing. This cannot be determined until the knowledge is acquired. There is much value in gaining as much knowledge as possible. One never knows when that knowledge will become significant and useful in daily life. Disregarding knowledge is a terrible waste regardless of whether it is a perceptual knowledge or a perpetual belief. Hidden value can often be found in all types of knowledge, even if that discovery occurs with adult learners.
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