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The Concept of Ways of Knowing

‘Ways of knowing’ generally refer to the deductive way of questioning what it implies or means to recognize; or know something. From the pursuit to address this area of dispute; science has deduced through discovery ways of multigenerational and empirically obtaining confirmable knowledge and information under a limited ‘domain of application’. However, the question that rises questioning the empirical application of science; is about the areas of traditional allocation of knowledge and understanding like ethics, morals, and principle guides.

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Another area of dispute is how the area of science relates to other ‘ways of knowing and how these different models of knowing address the questions of; what is? Which is the most fundamental sense of knowing? Another area of interest is how to address the areas of cognition like learning, seeing leading to knowing; as opposed to mere sensation, awareness, or experience of one form or the other (Cohen 57-123).

However, it should be noted that with any of the models of knowing; there is an innumerable number of possibilities, world views, or ways of seeing things which are in culminated in the way of thinking or understanding nature and reality itself. It is also worth noting that every holder of a way of knowing perceives their ‘way of knowing’ as the best, right, and rational. However, it should be noted that every explanation has its ‘internal contradictions and shortcomings’; thus leading to the question of why anyone should be preferred over the others (Cohen 57-123).

The two ways of knowing used as a model for this discussion about ways of knowing to include science and philosophy. About science; it can be defined as the pursuit of knowledge and information saving its starting point as the material features of the universe. The foundation of knowledge in science is the trust in rationale, reason, and the familiarity of using scientific methods of verification and fact-finding.

Under this way of knowing the modes of acquiring information and knowledge include the procedural description involved in data compilation; the use of predictive and correlation skills in deciding sequences and trends; the causal or experimental or explanation of occurrences and phenomena; and the availability of literature which allow for association of facts and findings. The criteria used for validation under this way of knowing are the use of objectivity; verification; systematization of concise realities and the use of cumulating replicable information (Kerlinger 24-58).

The other way of knowing used as a model for evaluating the understanding of the statement in question is philosophy; which is the study of truth as viewed from the lens of the human mind. It is also referred to as the study of the significance and the importance of truth. The basis of the knowledge formulated in this field of knowledge is having confidence and faith, in the reasoning capacity and capability of the intellectual self. Under this mode of knowing; the methods of acquiring knowledge are done through the capacities of reflection, discourse, and observation in general.

Other methods of acquiring knowledge under this method of knowing are the processes and deductions used in religion and science; as well as the so-called left-brain judgment practices. Among the criteria for verification of the information and knowledge collected using this model are the use of objective reasoning; logistical consistency; and the level of consistency with prior explanation, indication, and investigation (Kerlinger 24-58).

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Based on these ways of knowing it is crystal clear that the two modes of knowing both centers around the cognitive conviction of what is based on what is found out, verified and what experiences one has had. From the discussion it is indicative that knowledge is based on what one has encountered, engaged in, come across, or gone through; which through all these processes form part of the cognitive self whose fundamental contention is that ‘there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so’. From the theory of cognitive self, an unhealthy sense of self is based on a feeble feeling of identity and autonomy; which makes individuals much prone to depression, stress, and anxiety than others.

As a result of this developed and nurtured warped self-identity; individuals lose confidence and trust in themselves, which in return makes them doubt and question their deeds often making them avoid engaging in encounters or challenging experiences making them real losers. However, it should be noted that the aspect of being a loser is grounded on what losers as individuals view others, challenges, success, and trying as; and not the reality of trying these experiences and coming out as losers (Kerlinger 24-58).

Further in support of the idea that individuals see things as they are and not the way these things are; can be explained basing the idea on perception which can be explained using a documented Persian proverb. Perception can be defined as the involved, discriminating interpretative process of comprehending or becoming aware of phenomena; through experiences that can be critically evaluated and examined. According to this proverb; ‘he who has been bitten by a snake fears a piece of string’.

The general meaning of this proverb is that after an individual is bitten by a snake; he starts to associate the shape, form, movement, color, and everything about the physical characteristics of a snake; with the experience of being bitten. From common knowledge, it is clear that a skin bite can lead to death, physical impairment, and intense physical pain; which this individual experienced. The contrast to this can be arrived at by comparing the annoying pursuit a young child will make to catch a snake; just because they don’t have the perception, idea, and picture of the harmful nature of the snake. However as the child grows; he will get to encounter, hear or experience the bad side of the snake thus fear it from associating it with its bad attributes or dangerousness (DeChardin 134-145).

Another concept that can be used to understand that individuals see things as they are and not vice versa is language; as can be seen from the encounter of abusing another person in a language they don’t understand. This can be seen from that they will not be furious or offended by the abuse, but in the case, the same is directed to an individual who understands the abuse, then they are likely to fight back. Explaining the same can be looked at from the cultural view of language; in which one word will be used to mean and cause very different reactions like an insult or a compliment, based on the cultural constructions (Cohen 57-123).

Morals which are cultural constructions can also be referred to as being the control units and guiding principles of individuals; also vary from one cultural setting to another rendering act like incest a taboo in one society, and normal behavior in another.

Another construction that is often used in defining who we are is the reasoning part of the self; which chooses to hide when the individual is doing something wrong, which they would not do if they did not perceive the act as being wrong (Buchler 23-47).

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Emotions are the other aspect used in judging who we are as some are defined as strong, weak, shy, or confident. From general knowledge, it is also clear that the emotions one lets out are the conscious or unconscious products of innate choices and being. This can be justified in that a shy person with time changes to become confident, and capable of addressing a large congregation as opposed to having been shy (Belenky et. al. 25-56).

Having discussed the ways of knowing and the different modes of achieving information and knowledge; it is clear that the self which is cognitively constructed through the nurture of deficiency forms the climate of who we are, which directly dictates how we see things and situations. From the discussion it is therefore conclusive that the choices and views individuals adopt; determine the perception they assume of truth and phenomena like impossible, easy, strong, and bad.

Works cited

Belenky, Mary., Clinchy, Blythe., Goldberger, Nancy, and Tarule, Jill. “Women’s Ways of knowing”: The development of self, voice and mind, 10th edition. New York: Basic Books. (1997): 25-56.

Buchler, Justus. (Ed.). “Philosophical writings of Peirce”. New York: Dover Publications. (1995): 23-47.

Cohen, Morris., & Nagel, Ernest. “An introduction to logic and scientific method”. New York: Harcourt (2007): 57-123.

DeChardin, Pierre. “The phenomena of man”. New York: HarperCollins. (1969): 134-145.

Kerlinger, Fred. “Foundations of behavioral research”. New York: Holt, Reinhart & Winston Press.1973: 24-58.

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