This semester I am taking Comm. 320 Persuasion; my teacher went into detail about Epistemology. I remembered the discussion earlier this year over epistemic rhetoric, and how confused the class seemed to be. After looking over my Persuasion notes I realized these may be helpful in understanding our previous discussion.
Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that studies knowledge. Truth, belief and knowledge play an important role in Epistemology. Belief is an individual’s perception of what is true, meaning belief is opinion based. Truth or fact is not dependent on the person; fact is based upon science or a wealth of experience. Knowledge is information or understanding acquired through experience and study.
One way society becomes knowledgeable is by empiricism, on which science is based. Meaning empiricism deals with observations, scientific procedures, and systematic or thoughtful procedures. Another way we learn is social constructivism. This form of learning can best be described as coming to know by listening to others opinions and arguing or questioning. We question not only people’s verbal opinions, but also written. For instance, blog posts, newspapers, facebook, or twitter may all be used for learning through social constructivism.
Another interesting point is that truth is always changing because of technology. Did you know that one week of the New York Times contains more information than a person was likely to encounter in a lifetime during the 1800’s. Also, for students in 2007 pursuing a four year degree, half of what they learn in their first year will be outdated by their third year. I found this information interesting, because since technology is changing so rapidly I begin to question what I know as truthful. For example, Betsy Ross did not sew the first American flag, even though many people see Betsy Ross sewing the American flag as a truth. Lies My Teacher Told Me by James Loewen contains information about American History falsities that are taught in the school systems.
What do you perceive as true, but is actually false? How fast is technology changing in relation to education? How up to date with technology are you? If truth is constantly changing, how much can we know at one given point in time?