Shared & personal knowledge

Shared knowledge is usually classified as knowledge which belongs to a group and is therefore communicable (mostly language based). on the other hand, personal knowledge is usually classified as knowledge which belongs to an individual and is difficult to communicate (as it is not language based). 

we often use the eight “ways of knowing”, which are regarded as things that we as humans use to acquire knowledge, to provide a basis for these two areas. They are as follows:

  • sense perception
  • reason
  • language
  • emotion
  • imagination
  • intuition
  • memory 
  • faith

Although it is acknowledgeable that some of these woks are more significant and useful than others due to the debate that some are unreliable (for example, faith and memory, which are often viewed as unreliable), we can say that these all contribute in some way to aid us in processing what we think we know.

What constitutes good?

My first thoughts on this question were as followed, concerning what we define as good and how we even define the word itself:

Good and bad is a construct that we as a society have created throughout the centuries. It is a concept that is drilled into us from childhood and is something that is subjective, dependent on each person’s sense of a moral compass. Essentially, good is simply not doing the “wrong” thing, which again is a subjective term. Good is often dictated by law, which is a large, national scale example of what is considered to be bad – this idea of having set rules for communities to follow appears to be a worldwide theme to ensure there is no chaos. Again, these ideas are still based on what is considered “good” and “bad”. I believe that much of what we feel constitutes good has its roots set in the Bible, particularly the ten commandments in which we are told what is considered to be right and wrong in God’s eyes. Therefore, considering the amount of religious influence in past civilisations, which has in many ways carried through into the present day, religion does dictate what is good and what is not good for most people, both directly and indirectly. For example, “thou shalt not lie” is one of the commandments, and although not everyone is religious, we have all been taught from a young age that lies are wrong, and although we can choose to abide by that statement or not, one is inclined to follow what they naturally deem as correct, which is not to tell lies. However, each person’s own degree of morality does come into this and that can differ throughout each person. Taking into account the fact that most people’s sense of morality is dictated by examples set and experiences they have had (particularly as children), the media and the general world around us (including literature, the news, things we have witnessed, and religious scriptures like the Bible, as mentioned above). Considering all these external factors and influences that we face, I would say that upbringing plays a huge part in our own idea of what constitutes good on a personal level.

First thoughts about TOK

I am interested to learn more about the different approaches to the idea of knowledge, for example the variation of ways we can develop what we know, or what we think we know, and the ways that we share it. Through TOK I can also explore how we determine what is actually knowledge and how we classify different kinds of knowledge.