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Re: How do I know what I 'know' is right?

by allolex (Curate)
on Jul 20, 2003 at 10:00 UTC ( #276019=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to How do I know what I 'know' is right?

++ to you, BrowserUK and welcome to Epistemology Monks! ;)

There are a few groundrules here:

  • You can Super Search, but keep in mind that knowledge is constantly growing and what may be true today is not necessarily true next week. Anyway we don't know if anything else really exists anyway, so what's the point, really?
  • It's not so much about what you know, but rather about your basic ability to acquire new knowledge and apply it. (I see some others have mentioned this.) Being intelligent helps, but also conditioning one's mind to think efficiently plays a huge role.
  • It follows that Perl Monks (our sister site) doesn't just expose people to things they don't know, but also teaches them to think in different ways in order to solve a problem. (map, baby! That's all I have to say.)
  • Hedge a lot. People who are used to participating in scientific/academic discourses tend to qualify the things they say a lot, using "academic caution"*. Academic caution is what results from knowing that you know something about something, but still knowing that your knowledge is potentially incomplete, so you go up one level of abstraction and say that the work reflects general principles, even though the experimental data used are quite case-specific.
  • In Perl Monks, the knowledge bit seems to flow freely. Most of the hedging done is social hedging---trying not to hurt someone's feelings. That is very important because people won't ask questions and learn anything if they feel they are being attacked. (Just adding my voice to your last couple of points.)

OK, all jokes aside, I also feel these things are important, so thanks for the post.



* Academics can be vicious.

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