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BAHRIYA UNIVERSITY ISLAMABAD CAMPUS Department of Geology Fall Semester 2012 1. Definition of Knowledge a.

It can be defined as the information, understanding and skills that you gain through education or experience. b. The state of knowing about a particular fact or situation. 2. Sources of Knowledge Social Scientists attempt to develop bodies of reliable knowledge. Specifically, they aim at reliable description, explanation, and predictions. There are four basic sources of knowledge from which a claim to knowledge may be derived. 2.1 Sense Experience I know, “A” anything, is true because my sense experience (hearing, seeing, touching, and smelling) indicates that it is true. “Empiricism” is the philosophical position which maintains that sensory experience is the most reliable source of knowledge. Examples: How do I know that you are sitting on chairs? Because I can see the chair and touch it. How do I know that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the member of the United Nations? Because I see that this nation is listed on the membership roster and because I see its representatives formally participate in the meetings of the UN. There might be perceptual errors in sense experiences but it would be wrong to conclude that the sense experience is necessarily a fallible source of knowledge. It would be more accurate to conclude that our judgment about the sense experience is fallible. All sense experience requires judgment. It is judgment about the sense experience that is true or false. Any perceptual error resides not with the sense experience but with the judgment. Example: the rising and the setting of the sun.
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Pakistan Studies

2 Reason I know. the conclusion must be true. President Fazal Elahi was a man. or capability of investigating the matter any further. In inductive reasoning the premises provide evidence only for the conclusion. The philosophical position called “rationalism” accepts human reason as the chief instrument and ultimate authority in man’s search of knowledge.3 Authority I know “C” is true because “Z” says so and “Z” is an authority on the subject. We accept many truth-claims in everyday life on the basis of authority when we do not have the time. Example: How do I know that 10 plus 10 equals 20? I figure it out that using calculation and reasoning. however. interest. because Doctor Islam says so. Before accepting a claim on authority. Reasoning involves taking certain statements as the basis for making one or more other statements. The use of one or more statements (called the premises of an argument) to infer another statement (called the conclusion) is reasoning. energy. Although authority is often used as a source of knowledge. Quaid-i-Azam was mortal. if the premises are true. Make sure the person is really an expert in this particular field of knowledge: 2 . it is not a primary source of knowledge. Example: All men are mortal. often leads to unreliable knowledge since authorities cab be wrong too.2. How do I know that the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a member of UN? Since the UN includes most of the nations of the world and since the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a nation. President Zia was a man. if the premises are true. 2. therefore. There are two major types of reasoning processes: deductive and inductive. the conclusion is likely to true. Example: President Previz Musharaf is a man. I do not refer to my sense experience for the solution of complicated mathematical problems. I reason that it is likely the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a member of the UN. and therefore all Pakistan leaders are men. we should: i. Quaid-i-Azam was a man. Accepting truthclaims on authority. Example: Malaria is caused due to bite of a female Mosquito. In deductive reasoning the premises lead necessarily to the conclusion. “B” is true because my reasoning indicates it is true.

reasoning.ii. ii.” “Capitalism is more efficient and productive than socialism and communism. Example: “I know Allah seeing all of us. Intuition is a conviction of certainty that sometimes is experienced quite suddenly. but it does not explain how we come to know it. 3 . energy. Why I do I think so? I do not know. Thus. Accept a statement on authority only when we know how we could test the statement if we had the time. Recognizing that different persons’ intuitions conflict. Investigate the prior sources of knowledge when different authorities are in disagreement. Intuition is sometimes inappropriately identified as a source of knowledge when a judgment is actually based on a rapid and almost subliminal type of observation or reasoning process. Knowing that we have had an intuitive experience does not necessarily mean that what the experience says is true. Make sure the claim is really based on intuition and not on some form of sense experience. Knowledge based on intuition is often unreliable and difficult to test. and yet all of the intuitions cannot be true at the same time. 2. I am just sure it’s true. such as a flash of intuition.4 Intuition I know “D” is true because my intuition tells me. there is no criterion in intuition that distinguishes between true and false claims. He must. or authority. and iii. and capability. To reduce the risk of error in accepting claims based on intuition. Understand that intuition tells us we know something. iii. we should: i.