Epistemological Ponderings

Recently, I’ve found myself struggling with the nature of knowledge. Whether this be reflecting on something someone else has said, or something I myself have said or thought, I’ve been trying to navigate what is fact, how one knows something, how reliable a piece of knowledge is, etc.

Sometimes people pick up on new knowledge in error by misinterpretation. Sometimes people misremember information. Sometimes people intentionally or unintentionally pass on false information to other people.

Additional complexity in knowledge lies in its apparent dynamic nature. We may believe something now, but it may prove to be completely wrong in the future. Perhaps we think something is true now, but it’s an incomplete theory or an oversimplified explanation of the truth.

But how many times do we question sufficiently whether something we learn is actually true or not?

I’ve been spending some time how to navigate this problem. Should I be more critical about the information I interact with? Should I treat everything as a hypothesis and evaluate how well it fits in with my web of understanding of the world? Or…?

What are the best options to interface with reality? Does the same process apply when you’re more distant from the source of the knowledge, or does that become more difficult/out of reach?

10 Replies to “Epistemological Ponderings”

      1. if you are like me who likes the feeling of falling into the abyss and feeling utterly despondent about life, then it’s
        for you lols.

  1. I remember us discussing a topic in graduate school that is very much related to what you just wrote. It was about the theory of constructivism. Basically, it says that people form mental constructs or knowledge based on experiences and other sources. It’s like like putting up a jigsaw puzzle. The more experiences you get, the clearer the puzzle becomes and that knowledge becomes more complex and evolves over time.

    The danger then comes from making generalizations from limited perspectives or making associations or analogies that are not necessarily apple to apple comparisons or when someone misinterprets certain concepts and encounters a dilemma deciding which ideas to accept and to reject.

    1. Yasssss. I shared an article recently talking about mental models which is pretty similar.

      I think you already know I try to do this quite often 🙈

          1. Can I borrow it sometime please? Also, the 4 Hour Chef? Maybe when I’m back from Hawaii?

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