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What Is Knowledge?

  • Date Submitted: 05/12/2014 07:46 AM
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Name: Chou Wing Yi   Student ID: 3035062930   Tutor: Ms Kelly Inglis

PHIL 1012 Mind and Knowledge: an Introduction to Philosophy
Paper 2

      What is knowledge? This has been questioned since a very long time ago. Many philosophers have attempted to give a definition of knowledge. Yet, none of them is convincing to everyone. All of them encounter objections. In this paper, I will give an account of knowledge which I think closest to my belief. However, I admit this cannot be the whole story. This is only the best one which I can think of.
      Nevertheless, before attempting to answer this question, we must in the first place clarify what the essence of the question is. What we have to clarify here is what philosophers are interested to know when they ask ‘what is knowledge?’
      First of all, it is obvious that philosophers are not interested in knowing the examples of knowledge. One may say that ‘knowledge is physics, philosophy, psychology…’ However, giving examples is meaningless in solving a problem. For instance, to know what festivals are, we would say something like ‘festivals are events in which people celebrate the unique aspects of certain community’, instead of saying that ‘festivals include Lunar New Year, Christmas, Mother’s Day…’. This is because giving examples is not helpful in knowing the essence of something, hence supporting further study in it. Therefore, philosophers want to obtain a definition of knowledge, which enables us to know the essence of knowledge and then promote further study in it.
      Second, there are many kinds of knowledge. We should clarify the essence of what kind of knowledge philosophers are interested to know. According to Lehrer (1974), there are three senses of knowledge. First, we have ‘know-how’. It means to have some special form of competence, such as to know the guitar or to know riding a bicycle. Second, knowledge can refer to something acquainted. Examples include ‘I know John’ and ‘I know the...


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