The present framework: What is knowledge?


In answering the questions posed I shall first discuss the widely accepted framework where only observation and analysis are considered valid sources of knowledge.

As a human being I am able to observe the world and universe around me and form concepts of what these objects are. By a concept I mean a mental model based on several observations and accepted statements. These concepts are how we understand sense perceptions. By reflecting on these concepts I can attempt to make them consistent with one another. Once they are all consistent I have gained an understanding of the world of my experiences.

The difficult step is in asserting that my understanding represents a more absolute thing - knowledge. Only then can I extend the understanding to interpretation and prediction of new observations and experiences. This step is a generalisation from my experience to the experience of anyone. It means asserting that my understanding of reality is universally accurate, or simply put - that it is true. It is only possible to know something that is true. When we talk about understanding reality as a whole however, we must extend our scope and say that it is only possible to know reality as a whole if such knowledge is universally true.

In science the popular picture is of a build-up of such knowledge. It is then passed on to new students as accepted fact. These are then used in building the concepts for deeper understanding. This picture of the development of knowledge however, is not accurate.


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