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Sources of knowledge

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Sources of knowledge

  1. 1. Sources of Knowledge Dr. Syed Rifaat Hussain Professor and Chairman, DSS Department, QAU, Islamabad
  2. 2. Some basic distinctions • Ontology – The science of being; deals with the nature of reality. • Epistemology. Deals with the nature of knowledge; studies grounds and modes of knowledge acquisition.
  3. 3. Sources of knowledge •Common sense: Every one knows that it is so •Intuition: I just know it •Beliefs: it is based on personal conviction •Tenacity: verification over the years •Tradition: practice through generations •Personal Experience: personal testing and experience •Authority: the word of experts •Divine and supernatural powers: the revelations of God and of other powers •Reason and logic: the intellect can capture truth and knowledge directly •Scientific methods: knowledge is derived through empirical procedures
  4. 4. Four methods of :fixing belief • The quest for knowledge stems from human desire to settle the irritation of doubt by moving into a state of belief. • According to Charles Peirce, there are four general ways of knowing or of “fixing belief.”
  5. 5. Four Methods of knowing • 1. The first is the method of tenacity. According to this method, human hold firmly to the truth because they have always known it to be true. Frequent repetition of such truths seems to enhance their validity. Modern version of this method is “cognitive consistency” and human desire to avoid “cognitive dissonance.”
  6. 6. Four Methods of knowing • 2. A second method of fixing belief, according to Pierce, is the method of authority. This is the method of established belief. This method is superior to the method of tenacity as this method is widely used to disseminate facts and information on the basis of authority. Life could not go on without the method of authority.
  7. 7. Four methods of knowing • The third way of knowing is a priori method. We come to accept certain ideas to be true as they appear to be self-evident and tend to agree with reason. We accept certain knowledge claims as true because they “stand to reason.”
  8. 8. Four ways of knowing • The fourth method is that of science: • “to satisfy our doubts….therefore, it is necessary that a method should be found by which our beliefs may be determined by nothing human, but by some external permanency – by something upon which our thinking has no effect….The method must be such that the ultimate conclusion of every man shall be the same. Such is the method of science. Its fundamental hypothesis….is this: there are real things, whose characters are entirely independent of our opinions about them.”

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