The Psychology of Knowledge

On the theories of knowledge and the factors that affect human knowledge.

To understand the philosophy and psychology of knowledge, we must focus on the theories of knowledge and the factors that affect human. When we say “Knowledge is power”, it definitely means that when we are armed with knowledge, we feel the power of the world in us. Knowledge makes us powerful and strong and that is why, it is so important. Some people think money is power. Not true. Say if you leave this planet and go to live on Mars. Your currencies and all the money will be of no use. But if you have enough knowledge on how to survive the planetary conditions on Mars, that will help you to stay alive.

We must first try to understand “what is knowledge?”. There is no general consensus on what knowledge is or how it is acquired. Knowledge is derived from “to know” and knowing can be believing something to be true. But is belief the same as knowledge? Not really. Because you may believe in ghosts or spirits, but do not really know who or what these spirits are. But you know that the earth rotates once in 24 hours because there is scientific evidence. You know that the tree in your garden will bear fruit during certain times of the year so you believe that you will get the fruits during that time. So, what we see here is that IT Knowledge all knowledge creates belief, but all belief is not knowledge.

So the next question is obviously “how is Knowledge acquired?” To answer this question, we need to understand the different theories of knowledge.

Theories of Knowledge

Empiricism or Empirical Analysis

Among the most influential theories of knowledge is empiricism or empirical knowledge, Empiricism was developed as a theory to describe scientific or observational knowledge. So empirical knowledge is knowledge gained via observation or by use of the senses. This is the method of scientific inquiry as you use observation or the power of the senses to derive knowledge. Scientific experimentation uses the observational method and the experimental method or analysis is finally based on the senses. What you see, hear, touch, smell or taste helps in gaining knowledge. But is this the ultimate or only knowledge? No, because our senses are limited. So knowledge gained from scientific data could be limited.

Rationalism or Logical Analysis

Another form of knowledge is knowledge gained through rational analysis or logic. Logical analysis is what you do when you reach a logical conclusion from a set of data or principles. For example, when you have symptoms of high temperature, headaches, weakness etc, you come to a logical analysis that you are ill. When you see an overcast sky, black clouds and predictions of rain on the television, you come to a logical analysis that it will rain and you must carry your umbrella or raincoat. We consider certain premises or factors, try to understand their interrelationships and then reach logical conclusions. So, rational analysis is also a method of knowledge because you use facts or factors to know something or derive a conclusion.

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