One can learn through three basic means; through rational ways, empirical methods, and through spiritual influence. Empirical learning is the gaining of knowledge through the use of all human senses. However much empirical learning methods may be reliable, it is very limited. A real life empirical learning example is one that involves a child touching a hot stove. After touching, the child would eventually learn that the stove is hot and that touching it would cause immense pain. However, much is still unknown about stoves. The child is unaware of times when the stove is hot or times when it is cool. The child does not also know or understand how the stove works; how to switch it on or off. Empirical learning provides incomplete knowledge.Rational learning involves the understanding of the real knowledge of the use of reasoning and analytical processes of the mind. Such analysis would give us a suitable understanding of an area of specialisation. From our example of the hurting experience above, as the child grows, he applies this mental experience to learn about the stove. From that painful experience, the child understands and can distinguish when it is right and suitable to operate and that it is not a toy to play around with. He also learns to press the buttons or turn the dials to turn the stove on, and later even how to cook on it. Thus, the child learns that it is not only hot when turned on.
The other method of learning involves spiritual values and a ones relationship with God. Christians may look back to some experiences that brought them to the kingdom of God ready to accept Jesus as our personal saviour. These experiences were vital in developing their spiritual and moral lives. However, such experiences would not have a great impact on the growth and relationship with God.A neutral question is one that has a limited number of responses. It is one that can be answered by a no or yes answer or a question that requires the respondent to choose from provided alternatives. This is rather an open question, one that the defendant answers according to his or her situation. It has no adverb, adjective, or noun. The neutral question gives one control over his or her response. It is considered a polite question, one that is in favour of the respondent since he or she is free to answer using whichever way of knowing, using his faith, his intuition, perception or language. In gaining insight, each area of knowledge uses many ways and networks are used in knowing. Areas of knowledge are normally wide and vary in details and information. One would, therefore, need skills to learn a particular field of knowledge. He or she would also need a break down in the study, to narrow down the focus to a particular sub-topic in that area of knowledge. One would also need to choose which particular way of knowing they would prefer to use.
One can derive a neutral question from a wide range of areas of knowledge. These include history, arts, religious knowledge systems, ethics, human sciences, mathematics and natural science. An example is of history. The term history can be easily misunderstood. Most people assume that they fathom its true meaning when they dont. One should not mistake history for the past. The past is the key concept to consider when dealing with history. It is the study of the past events and our interaction with it, not the past itself.History is a broad area of knowledge. It is diverse in nature and study and one would need to analyse a variety of ways of knowing to understand history. One can decide to learn it through its knowledge framework, past quotes that have been written down and some preserved, through its key thinkers, real-life situations and knowledge questions for history, logic fallacies about history and even try to understand why it is a core are in the theory of knowledge.
Another area of knowledge is the religious system. Religion is the worship of and belief in a supreme being. Obviously, not everyone is religious. Those that are rooted in religion are also divided in based belief. Religions vary in interpretations about salvation and the earths origin.Religion is a broad area to consider in the school of knowledge. It has a variety of angles and networks that one has to keep an eye on to wholesomely analyse and understand it. In learning, one can decide to analyse it through; quotes on religious knowledge systems, thinkers and writers on religious scripts, knowledge framework for religious knowledge systems and real life situations.Since religion touches on this delicate and integral part of almost the entire human race, it serves as a basis that can be used to understand global and human diversity and varied ways of thinking. An example of a knowledge question that is based on religion is; is it possible to have both a religious and scientific outlook about the world.
Scientific methods are among the advanced tools of knowledge as they proof a hypothesis based on previous beliefs, observations and imaginations. To prove that gene flow from parental species is contributed by both the male and the female, mice of different phenotypic appearance and gender are interbred and off-springs traits monitored. Red-eyed female mice can be crossed with black eyed male mice; the off-springs produced will have eyes with black, red or a mixture of the two colours at specific ratios depending on gene flow. This scientific proof enhances knowledge through a calculated statistical approach that is conclusively considered factual. Observation is another important fact in acquiring knowledge. This can be through observing the world in its natural state without necessarily putting more focus on the experimental or practical views. The behaviour of elephants is one of the examples that an observer can collect knowledge from. The movement of elephants from a low land to the highlands is perceived that the rainy season is approaching. From this derived knowledge one can prepare for the oncoming season.
Another aspect to consider is the act of listening. This can be categorised as one of the facets of knowledge. For example, one gets knowledge through attending public lectures, listening to motivational speeches and experts from different fields. Once the listener gets to practise what they have learnt, they get to own it.Learning through our experiences is significant in gaining information. It maybe through experiences obtained in our areas of specialisation/ fields of study or the real life situations.There are a lot of ways of knowing or gaining information. These include knowing through intuition, emotion, language, memory, reason, and sense of perception, imagination and by faith. The language has a lot of angles to reason from, e.g. its quotes, its key thinkers, how it evolved and even how it is learnt. One can learn history based on language. This is based on the aspect of how language developed. From the two types of languages; native and constructed, we learn how these two came to being, when and why the human beings began to talk. However, we are to believe that language was purely invented by humans, who developed it as they experienced a need of it in its more sophisticated form. The human brain progressively adapted to learn the language.
We also use the memory to gain knowledge concerning the world and find out what sort of relationships we have with it. The human memory system is the medium through which the brain stores information. When deeply thought about, one may lose his or her grip on the subject matter. To obtain previous knowledge, one first uses other ways of knowing. This initial knowledge is further enhanced and modified by our memories. However, how a person develops a recollection of something will be different to how another person remembers it. One should, therefore, consider good judgement if an objective knowledge were to be established from the memory.From the above, we can reason that there is no such thing as a neutral question. A question takes numerous forms and dimensions. It is subject to a lot of factors. This are factors like methods of learning and values that one acquired as he or she grew, external factors like weather, social relationships, financial backgrounds and even the situation that the respondent is in at that time of answering. The two areas we have looked at; history and religion are good areas of referencing when tackling such a topic.
Paul K. Moser, 2008. The theory of knowledge: A thematic introduction
Richard van de Lagemaat. 2003. Theory of Knowledge for the IB Diploma.
Bertrand Russell. 2006. The problems of philosophy
Reuben Abel. 2007. Man is the measure: A cordial invitation to the central problems of philosophy
Brooke Noel Moore. 2000. Critical thinking
Eileen Dombrowski, 2006. Theory of knowledge Course Compilation
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