Chapter 3 Course Companion – Part II

1.   Answer the questions regarding pages 91-93.

  • Why do other languages have several different words for “to know”? What are the constraints of English?

Other languages have understood that there are many different forms of knowledge. Unlike those languages, English has yet to develop or invent different words to mean different forms of knowledge. But, do we really need them? There are ways to explain the kinds of knowledge (i.e. experiential knowledge, skill knowledge, etc) so do we really need to invent new singular words for each one? I, personally, don’t think those words are necessary.

  • Check out Mohammed Youssef’s explanation of the 5 Stages of Knowledge / `Wisdom in Arabic. Provide a real life example of each as it applies to your life.

The first stage of knowledge (just starting to notice) is similar to that moment when you are shown something new in, say, math class. It’s like your first day of kindergarten when you just start learning how to add.

The second stage of knowledge is when you begin learning what everything means. Again, relating this back to mathematics, it is when you start learning more and more about addition.

The third stage of knowledge according to Youssef is when you half understand more and more of your subject matter.

The fourth stage of knowledge is when you understand what you have been taught.

The fifth stage of knowledge is when you have absorbed what you have learned and can teach it to others (I believe).

Lastly, complete wisdom is when the Arabs begin using the word “enlightened”. This is when you can take what you have learned and apply it to unfamiliar situations; you can now add any combination of numbers.

2.   Make your own lists of what experiential knowledge, procedural knowledge, and a knowledge claim (“knowing that” – tied to language) you have.

  • Experiential Knowledge

When you drop an object, it falls to the ground; if someone punches you (or vice versa), it hurts; learning how to deal with people; etc.

  • Procedural Knowledge (skills)

Knowing how to walk, run, swim, or ride a bike; how to do simple math problems; how to brush your teeth; etc.

  • Knowledge claim

I know that the most common language in Spain is Spanish (?).

  • Which type is the easiest to learn? What type tends to stick the longest?

The easiest type of knowledge (of these three) is experiential knowledge because once you have gone through something once, that feeling sticks with you. You only need to be punched once to know that it hurts which is why it is the easiest to learn. But, on the other hand, the type of knowledge that lasts the longest is procedural knowledge because your muscles can remember how to do certain tasks. For example, if someone does not ride a bike or swim for 20+ years, they won’t fall right over or sink their first time back. Their muscles will still know how to do either of these actions.

3.   Which ways of knowing (sense perception, language, emotion, and reasoning) are most relevant to      each of the 3 categories?

  • Experiential Knowledge

Sense perception, language, and emotion are all experiential knowledge. But, language is in its own grey area because it is somewhere in between an experiential knowledge and a skill. But, without practice or use, these three things can be forgotten. Language must be practiced repeatedly before it can become a true skill.

  • Procedural Knowledge

I believe that of these, reasoning is the only true “skill” that a person can have and keep with them for a very long time. Even if a person, somehow, did not have to use reasoning for a long time, they would still be able to make a good decision in the future based on their prior reasoning skills.

4.   In which category would you place the statement “I’ve heard about that” and why?

Going back to Youssef’s 5 types of knowledge, I would place that in the first step. It has just been introduced slightly but the “knowledgeable” person does not yet quite know enough to call it true knowledge that they have obtained. As for these categories, I would place it under experiential, but just barely. I would even venture to say that “I’ve heard about that” doesn’t count as knowledge because the person obviously does not know much of anything about the specific topic.

5.   The three kinds of knowledge are stored differently in the brain. Remember how Mr. Wearing could still play the piano? Find out what each of the following types of memory are.

  • Procedural Memory

This type of memory is kind of like a “sub conscience” memory. These are things that we do not have to practice or try to remember, but things that our body knows how to do (i.e. blink, breathe, ride a bike, etc.).

  • Working Memory

A person’s working memory is similar to their short-term memory. It is the system that actively holds multiple pieces of transitory information in the mind so they can accomplish nonverbal tasks (like reasoning or comprehension).

  • Long-Term Memory

This form of memory is where events that occurred long ago are stored (“long” meaning about a few years). It is also memory in which associations among items are stored (i.e. apples are red).

  • Declarative Memory

This is a type of long-term memory which refers to memories that can be consciously recalled such as facts (i.e. math or language skills).

  • Episodic Memory

Episodic memory is one branch of declarative memory. It is the memory of autobiographical events (like times, places, associated emotions, etc.) that can be explicitly stated.

6.   After reading about reliable sources (experts and general consensus), memories, emotions, intuition, faith, and revelation, describe what role these might play in the Areas of Knowledge (your subjects).

If the student is taking an arts course (whether it be visual arts or theatre), memories and emotions can help you. In theatre, the actor/actress must put him or herself into the role of another person; they must feel the same emotions which can be derived from memories. Listening to the facts from reliable sources is a big part of any science or math class the student may be taking. For me personally, in physics, we listen to Newton’s three laws of motion without questioning them. The last two justifications for belief do not exactly help someone in school-based knowledge, but can help in a person’s life.

7.   Draw or diagram something that represents the relationship between belief, truth, knowledge, and justification (p. 110-111).

In my mind, this is how it works:

Belief is a form of Knowledge which is a type of Truth that we know by Justification. 

8.   After reading about the three “s’s”: source, statement, and self (p. 114), choose something you’ve learned recently and evaluate it based on these, using specific examples.

For my recently learned fact, I will be using the structure of a bacterial cell that I learned about in Biology class.

  • Source

Because Dr. P. taught us, who is a great biologist, I believe her. She has most likely examined cells under a microscope and could therefore tell us what she saw. This structure is also in a lot of successful textbooks. So, evaluating this fact on the source criterion, I would say it passes.

  • Statements

Because this is not a fact that someone would necessarily lie about, I’m assuming that the statement is true. Many people have also made their statements about the make-up of a bacterial cell, and they all agree with each other. In class, Dr. P. also showed us a picture taken from a microscope to show us the bacterial cell. Evaluating this claim on by the statement criterion, it gets an A+.

  • Self

Because I trust Dr. P., I believe that she is telling the truth. Judging from past experiences, she has told the truth and what she taught us corresponds to what I think is plausible. I believe what she taught us in Biology class. This fact passes all of the criteria of the three “s’s”!

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