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Epistemology Intro Reading

For Monday, please read the two posts linked below, both from Jonathan Toews’ work last year:

Individual Development of Knowledge

The development of one’s own epistemological statement requires a basis of knowledge in the subject (ironically enough). In reading a booklet provided to us, everything seemed to overlap. Each subject, each idea seemed to reach into another’s pocket for help, without containing any formal connection.

One idea that repeated itself more times than others was priori knowledge – the knowledge gained without any sensory medium, but rather, with reason and mind. In response to this, I do believe that knowledge can be found independent of empiricism, but it seems illogical that any knowledge can exist ‘completely’ independent of sense. This is because in order for reason to be a creator of knowledge, it must first have a basis of knowledge to work off of. For reason is the ability to use existing information to find new information – essentially, deduction or induction. In thinking about this, I questioned where the basis of knowledge really is? Can all knowledge be based in reason, or empiricism? Or is there an order that must follow? Trying to go deeper, I created a system, which I believe is how individuals accumulate knowledge.

The Need for Ignorance 

The theory is that all of knowledge is a building. This building has many layers, many levels of knowledge, which we have accumulated within a paradigm. Each time we find new information we add it to the top of the building, building higher and higher. If we find that one piece of information or knowledge was inaccurate, we remove it. Now, if this piece of the building happened to be near the top, it causes little destruction, as only the top must be reconstructed. What happens if the base is removed? The entire building comes crashing down. But wait. Each of these pieces are still extremely useful, as an independent piece. The only problem we faced was the lack of as strong base.

For this reason, we must create a new base. This new base is stronger, and the rest of the pieces of the old building are reorganized, in a new, different way, on top of the new base. In this way, I believe that each time we resolve to create a new base, we are entering a new paradigm. We are not simply discarding all previous knowledge, but building it on an entirely different foundation, one that is (sometimes) stronger.


About bryanjack

HS Gifted program teacher interested in the world out there, the world in here, and blending the two at every opportunity.



  1. Pingback: On the Phenomenological Fallacy and How We Commit It | The Leather Library - November 8, 2013

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