Theory of Knowledge

Topics: Perception, Sun, Hinduism Pages: 5 (1745 words) Published: February 16, 2014
“Only seeing general patterns can give us knowledge. Only seeing particular examples can give us understanding.” To what extent do you agree with these assertions?

Knowledge is a much sought after thing in today’s world. This is because everything that we find around us is due to knowledge. However understanding is not the same as knowledge as its scope and effect is far different from knowledge. My perception about understanding is that it is something that makes us understand the basic and inherent nature of things and how they work or interact. By understanding we get to know about the intricacies and complexities involved in a subject or matter. For me knowledge is a superficial thing while understanding is something that is deep, thorough, profound, detailed and comprehensive in nature.

However even if knowledge and understanding slightly differ from each other in scope and nature, it cannot be denied that both are interrelated to each other. This is because without knowledge there can be no understanding and vice versa. In the light of the above, I will be discussing the research topic to explore it further.

The claim that only seeing general patterns can give us knowledge is one which I believe is such that can be true only in certain occasions and situations. Similarly the other claim that only seeing particular examples can give us understanding is good only in certain situations and circumstances. To prove this, I would be using two areas of knowledge which is natural sciences and arts.

If we take the area of knowledge of natural sciences, we can see that two ways of knowing have the maximum influence on it. One is reason and other is sense perception. The other two ways of knowing of language and emotion do exert some influence on natural sciences but only till some extent. This is due to the fact that natural sciences works on facts and figures rather than abstract and vague ideas. In natural sciences, nothing is ambiguous or uncertain. Everything is justified by proofs and well supported by evidences through practical examples or demonstrations.

One example that supports the topic question in the area of knowledge of natural sciences is the way the ancient people held their idea about the planets, the earth and the solar system as a whole. People in ancient times used to gaze at the sky in a casual way and in watching the sun, the moon, the stars and other planets, developed a habit of seeing them in a general pattern. By their observation of the general pattern of the sun, moon, planets and other heavenly bodies, they were able to predict celestial events like occurrence of comets, alignment of planets, stars, etc. on a particular year and time and so on. They also found that the planets were not static or fixed but revolved around a fixed path or orbit. These observations were made by the ancient people without any telescope or sophisticated astronomical instrument, but by just causal observation of the sky or we can say by seeing general patterns of the sky. So we can see here that certainly seeing general patterns can give us knowledge as is evident in the above example.

So the knowledge issue that gets generated out of thee above statement is that is it always that we get knowledge only by seeing general patterns? This is because the topic has the word ‘only’. So it implies that do we get knowledge by seeing only general patterns? The knowledge issue is valid and raises serious question on the topic statement. I believe that if we could have got knowledge by only seeing general patterns then all of us would had been like the greatest scientist and other brilliant people of the world who gave us the bulk of inventions and discoveries like Newton, Einstein, Rutherford, Bohr, etc. We could have known the basic underlying principles or mechanism for just anything that we saw on a general pattern, i.e., on a regular and frequent basis. But this is not the case as we don’t really get...

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