Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Ways of knowing

In regard of an exam tomorrow, I've published a poll about the sources of knowledge, and this text.

According to a textbook I'm currently reading, people gain knowledge about the environment mainly through four different ways: authority, observation, logic, and intuition. One may argue that some are better than the others but I'm not here to judge. Much.

The four ways of knowing may be used simultaneously as well as separately, or one may put a higher priority on some, that is, put things on top of other things.

I had to do it.

For example, belief systems such as religion and government mainly value authority and intuition over observation and logic, whereas the priorities are quite the opposite for science. Philosophy, on the other hand, resembles science in many ways, except it values logic over observation. To make things more clear:

from most to least important ways of knowing

Religion / Government: Authority-Intuition-Logic-Observation

Science: Observation-Logic-Intuition-Authority 

Philosophy: Logic-Observation-Intuition-Authority

In conclusion, the ways in which we gather information are principally quite few and that different belief systems rely on different sources of information. It's up to people to judge what to accept as valid information, and the different variations in priorities are many in number. I do realise that this post might bias the outcomes of the poll but honestly I don't give a flying fudge.

Never stop thinking, again.


  1. as far as sociology goes, i observe then make logical decisions based on what i observe, so it's not really just one way of looking at something. external+internal works best for me. to say that you learn from intuition alone would be very frail system, in my opinion.

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  3. Hmm, I guess I never thought of it that way. It makes total sense though. Followed.


  4. sick blog im following!

  5. Observation is most likely the best source to earn knowledge. Since you observe a given situation, and drawing logical conclusions will make it stay in your head forever
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  6. Interesting way of thinking. I guess we all learn in different ways. Following.


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  8. Heh, this is pretty interesting. Maybe I should have gone to my philosophy lectures..


  9. Great read! Logic all the way!

  10. I'm for logic as well!


  11. nice po$t..

  12. Nice post, I'd like to know more about how knowledge is gained through authority. Maybe a follow-up? Very interesting read.