The knower’s perspective is essential in the pursuit of knowledge. To what extent do you agree?
Is the knower’s perspective important in the theory of knowledge?
An analysis of the philosophy of knowledge reveals that among the key challenges that need urgent redress is the argument on whether the knower’s perspective is essential in the pursuit of knowledge.
SUPPORTING THE THESIS
Anybody who pursues knowledge ought to have an open mind and exercise flexibility so as to be able to receive information.The learner and the knower share a common goal that is to share knowledge but the perspectives from which they engage are distinctly different. There is, therefore, need for both entities to come into a mutual understanding that may include one party buying into the other’s perspective to remove any bias that may risk tainting the reception of information.The learner in this case has an obligation to comprehend and place himself into the perspective from which the knower is teaching.On the other hand it is equally important to note the knower, being the provider of the knowledge takes the initiative and tries to make the learner more aggressive in terms of acquainting himself with the perspective from which the knowledge is going to be shared.In the process of pursuing knowledge, it is argued that there is a reversal of roles in that the knower is the one looking for information.It further claims that the knower has the right to expand a single study case and form multiple conclusions depending on the various perspectives from which he perceives things (Lehrer and Keith 123). For instance, the effects of war can be looked at from several angles including how it affects the economy of the country (financial perspective) the displacement of people and separation (social perspective) and the development of new weapons (science perspective).
Philosophers also put the knower at the helm of any of the learning process arguing that what he/she perceives to be right is the ultimate product the learner is obliged to consume. Whether a single or multiple perspectives or even an open mind, the learner should stick to what the knower puts forward.Any bias or second thought puts the intended communication at stake and distorts the whole process. The learner should not seek what to accept or reject owing to previous experiences or knowledge such is obsolete and meaningless at this stage. Any communication and knowledge seeking process requires that one party adheres to the others’ sentiments to make the whole process successful ( Caplan and Nathan 234)
Theory of knowledge incorporates various disciplines in its content that include the various ways of knowing through sense, emotion,faith,imagination and memory.To gain knowledge about all these, the good and the bad of the various realities of this world, we have to develop another sense-the sense of listening to those who know. Learning from others is a core component of the theory of knowledge. Different people see things differently and when there’s need to learn what we don’t know from others, we should develop a listening mind and consume all the information before judging from which perspective to act to the message. The society also demands that individuals know various areas of knowledge that make life easier and the co-ordination of the various functions by various individuals easier. It is however impossible to know all these disciplines at the same time. This is where the theory of knowledge comes in and emphasizes the need to accord the knower the necessary support especially by buying into his idea as his perspective is vital. After all, if we had this knowledge, there could be no need to learn.
Knower’s perspective also argues that depending on several factors such as age, cultural interactions, education and life experiences have a huge influence on how we select the suitable sources of knowledge and how we utilize the knowledge gained. As a learner, we ought to have the ultimate responsibility on how to use the same knowledge but without letting our personal perspectives influence our actions.
On the other hand, the learner also has the responsibility to look at the message from his/her perspective depending on the shallow knowledge owned and the desired effect the person wants the knowledge gained to have in his life. We all see things differently and judge situation differently. This should also be embraced in the theory of knowledge (Caplan and Nathan 139). Even though the wider perception is that the knower’s perspective must prevail at all costs, the learner also has to apply the various senses at disposal and see things in a way better or different from the way the knower sees. Such scenario is essential to maintain a balanced equilibrium in the flow of information between the two entities. The learner, by seeing things in a more different perspective that suits his/her own does no harm or undermines the knower in any way but rather enhances the knowledge gained and became better placed to act in line with the knowledge attained. As long as the knower’s perspective is vital, the learner’s is equally important.
Justification of knowledge claims is another core area of the theory of knowledge and the philosophy of knowledge as a broader discipline. It argues that all claims must be examined critically regardless of the knower’s perspectives and applications of knowledge. It further argues that formation of knowledge claims is influenced by various factors, key among them our cultures, sense, faith and the criteria of determining the good and bad.These parameters vary from person to person hence the attempt to justify the knower as the sole entity whose perspective counts cannot always apply (Chisholm and Roderick M 208). The learner as the other key player in the formation and application of knowledge is given the right to look at things in relation to those factors. From the theory, it is fair to argue that the learner is the one with greater responsibility to determine from which perspective to take in the information as he/she is the one to put the knowledge into practice. Depending on how he/she understands and judges what has been learned, it is likely that the intended purpose may be achieved or not.
Going forward, it is key to note that Knowledge formation and application is built on several areas of knowledge such as Mathematics, History, Human Sciences, Ethics and Arts (Lehrer and Keith 221). How knowledge in these other fields is put across slightly differs from one another. For instance in Mathematics, learners solve problems using readily derived methods and thus it is not about perspective but rather a fact (which in this case is the method).However, the case is different when it comes to other disciplines like Social Sciences and Ethics. Here, the learners have a right to view the knowledge shared from different angles depending on several factors such as culture. Therefore, it is important for knowers to know these facts and change the perception that the learners ought to understand such from the former’s perspective at all times.
As a consequence, it is important that people learn how to see things differently depending on how they perceive them and the consensus in the society about how knowledge is formed and shared. Knowledge is derived from various sources and formed in various forms. It is then transferred through different means but the ultimate stage is helping others gain this knowledge we possess (Chisholm and Roderick M 145). The way you interpret something must not be the way you want others also to interpret them.
Viewing knowledge differently requires one first to have a clear understanding of the key areas of knowledge in the society and know how each of the is formed and transferred from one individual to another. Knowledge varies from one culture to another the same way it varies from a person to the other. With such understanding, one is in a better position to know the different perspectives from which you can see things and also give others room to express their desired way of seeing things. Knowledge should be seen as a common ground on which people can build better understanding rather than a source of arguments. It’s also important to see knowledge as a gift that can be shared to foster harmony in the society through engagements and harmonization of ideas to reach a common compromise.
Lehrer, Keith. Theory of knowledge. London: Routledge, 1990.
Caplan, Nathan. “The two-communities theory and knowledge utilization.” The American Behavioral Scientist (pre-1986) 22.3 (1979): 459
Chisholm, Roderick M. “Theory of knowledge.” (1966)
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