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Levels of knowledge

Your understanding of what you claim to know can range from

superficial to deep and sophisticated.

Information is to knowledge as what bricks are to a building.

How does this analogy speak to the difference between
information & knowledge?

Sherlock Holmes
Holmes: I see it all now, I know who did it!
Watson: My dear Holmes, Ive examined
this same room with you and I see nothing
at all!
Holmes: No Watson, you see everything,
but you observe nothing.

Second-hand knowledge
How much could you know
about the world if you
never trusted anyone?

Isaac Newton once said:

If I have seen further it is by standing on
the shoulders of giants
How is this relevant to Second-Hand

=Knowledge by authority
=Knowledge by testimony

Main sources of
second hand
Cultural tradition,
school, the internet,
expert opinion, the
Can you think of any
other sources?

Cultural Tradition

How does the culture

you grew up in have an
influence on the way
you see the world?

Cultural Tradition = embodies the inherent wisdom of the

We culture we grow up in has a strong influence on the way we
see the world, and is likely to determine our intellectual default
settings. We have a natural attachment to our own beliefs and
practices, and they provide a point of reference for what we
consider normal or reasonable

However, it is important to keep in mind

that cultural traditions (living traditions)
change and develop over time we do not
have to be imprisoned by what we have
inherited from the past.
Eg: Women getting the vote / Civil Rights

What is the most natural? Normal?

Gay marriage

What is the most natural? Normal?

Christian Dior, Haute coture
Padaung fashion, Thailand

What is the most natural? Normal?

To eat dogs

To eat pigs

Whats the difference

between education
and indoctrination?


The role of education is not only to give you a mastery of various

subjects, but also prepare you for life.
However, it is impossible to teach everything, thus inevitably the
curriculum is selective and limited but what does that say about
Is what we are taught dependent on cultural values and interests?

(my dads education)

Exploitation? (my education)

The internet

What criteria would

you use for
generally trustworthy
websites from
untrustworthy ones?

In the digital age, the first place we look for information is

the internet
Advantages include speed and accessibility
But disadvantage is that there is no QUALITY CONTROL

Did you ever google

your flu symptoms and
found out you were
terminally ill?

Wild stories circulated about a woman who

gave birth to 11 babies at once

Expert Opinion
Despite the obvious value of relying on expert opinion, it is important to
note that
a) even experts sometimes get it wrong!

Piltdown Man discovered in

1913, said to be missing link
between humans and apes.
In 1953, chemical tests
showed the remains were

1933, Ernest Rutherford, famous physicist

Anyone who expects a source of power from
the transformation of atoms is talking
Twelve Years Later = atomic bomb dropped on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Expert Opinion

b) experts have a limited range of competence

The News Media

The news media play a key role in shaping our picture of the world despite the aura of objectivity,
we are all aware that there is some bias in both the selection and presentation of news stories.
So, what makes the news?
a) Bad news wars, crimes, natural disasters
b) Extraordinary news gradual changes tend to get little coverage. Drama favored over substance,
and packaged to be squeezed into allotted time slot.
c) Relevant news concerns domestic citizens. Eg: If a plane crashes in dense fog in a distant
country, the coverage would depend on how many Greek passengers were on board.

The News Media Can you spot the biased headline?

A federal appeals court Tuesday struck down a ban on carrying concealed weapons in Illinois the only state where
it had remained entirely illegal. Read the following headlines for news reports on this story:
Court ruling on Illinois gun ban sets stage for fight
From The Detroit News (using an Associated Press news report)
Court strikes down Illinois concealed carry ban
From The Boston Globe (using the same Associated Press news report)
Federal court ruling on Illinois concealed carry ban sets stage for appeal, legislative battle
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune (using the same Associated Press news report)
Court Backs Loaded Guns in Public
From the Wall Street Journal (from a news story written by a WSJ staff reporter)
Federal appeals court tosses state ban on carrying concealed weapons
From the Chicago Sun Times (from a news story written by a Sun Times staff reporter)

Concealed carry: Court strikes down Illinois ban

From the Chicago Tribune (from a news story written by a Chicago Tribune staff reporter)

Conclusion and key-points

Truth is independent,
believing something does
not make it true

Knowledge= justified true


Knowledge=more than
unorganised facts and more
than belief as such

Detail and context help to

gain understanding of an
area of knowledge

Knowledge is information
organised into a
meaningful whole.

Lots of knowledge is gained

second-hand, by the
authority of other people

Not all sources of knowledge can be

(danger of authority worship)

Homework Due Monday, Sept 22nd

Choose one of the linking questions below, and write a one page response. You will be
handing these in on Monday 22nd September. Make reference to specific examples to
support your ideas. Typed, double spaced, and 12 font please.
Can we ever be certain of the

Does knowledge depend on


Where does belief end and

knowledge begin

To what extent should we accept

knowledge by authority?

What distinguishes a good

justification from a bad one?

What is the difference between

information and knowledge?