Formerly SpringBlog

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Did you know?

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the 1800’s. Also, for students in 2007 pursuing a four year degree, half of what they learn in their first year will be outdated by their third year.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?


  1. I think you raise an interesting point when you talk about truth constantly changing. It is changing, every day. We think we know something that science proves is not true anymore. I've read Lies My Teacher Told Me and I literally felt my world turn upside down. I now cannot stand Christopher Columbus, who is our "national hero" for "discovering" North America.

    What I mean to say is that the more we learn, the more our concept of truth changes. Every day, we encounter something that will undoubtable shake what we thought we knew and will become the new truth.

  2. I haven't read the book yet, but it's on my to read list. My teacher was talking about Pliny the Elder's History book. He wrote as fact that there were dog headed people and if you killed a snake the snake's mate would come after you. Sometimes it's difficult to believe how much the concept of what we believe to be true is constantly changing.