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Welcome to Skeptiko Haven.

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Knowledge Vs. Experience

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  • Knowledge Vs. Experience

    Hello again all!
    Before you read, please keep in mind my mind wanders frequently and Im not the best writer in the world. A lot of you on here form your thoughts so well and Im almost embarressed to post anything among you, but I hope you will all give my incoherent ramblings at least a quick parse.

    So I was just thinking today about how knowledge and experience coincide or do not coincide with each other.
    I started first with the definition of both:

    Knowledge: acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition: knowledge of many things.

    Experience: the process or fact of personally observing, encountering, or undergoing something.

    So in looking at both of those things I began to wonder which is more important? At first glance I thought knowledge would be the factor with which most things come to rest on. If we didnt have knowledge, how we would possibly be able to read, build things, debate upon certain topics?? But then I thought, where did the knowledge come from in the first place? I then realized that one had to experience something in order to create the knowledge from it in the first place.
    I thought about a doctor that read all the books on biology and anatomy but never touched a patient versus the doctor who has never read any books but has been given human subjects and years of experience dealing with their aches and pains and birth and death. I wondered to myself who would I trust more to take care of me in a life and death situation?
    Then it leads me back to the thought of materialism and how it holds knowledge ABOVE experience, even tho its own foundation is based on the original experiences that had to happen to get it where it is currently.
    I have no idea where Im going with this. I just wanted a few other opinions on what more critical thinkers might say about this. Which do you feel is more important? Are they inseperable or can one exist without the other? Why do you think mainstream science will accept its own knowledge of things but will not accept the experience of others especially when it comes to psi or NDE's?
    Thanks for any comments you may have.

    P.S. I am also wondering if this is what some NDE'rs are referring to when they say have ultimate knowledge at one point, but yet need to experience life on earth to grow? I would assume that puts experience over knowlegde as well if true.
    Last edited by Hopeful; October 16th, 2013, 01:26 PM. Reason: Additional thought.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Hopeful View Post
    Hello again all!
    Before you read, please keep in mind my mind wanders frequently and Im not the best writer in the world. A lot of you on here form your thoughts so well and Im almost embarressed to post anything among you, but I hope you will all give my incoherent ramblings at least a quick parse.

    So I was just thinking today about how knowledge and experience coincide or do not coincide with each other.
    I started first with the definition of both:

    Knowledge: acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition: knowledge of many things.

    Experience: the process or fact of personally observing, encountering, or undergoing something.

    So in looking at both of those things I began to wonder which is more important? At first glance I thought knowledge would be the factor with which most things come to rest on. If we didnt have knowledge, how we would possibly be able to read, build things, debate upon certain topics?? But then I thought, where did the knowledge come from in the first place? I then realized that one had to experience something in order to create the knowledge from it in the first place.
    I thought about a doctor that read all the books on biology and anatomy but never touched a patient versus the doctor who has never read any books but has been given human subjects and years of experience dealing with their aches and pains and birth and death. I wondered to myself who would I trust more to take care of me in a life and death situation?
    Then it leads me back to the thought of materialism and how it holds knowledge ABOVE experience, even tho its own foundation is based on the original experiences that had to happen to get it where it is currently.
    I have no idea where Im going with this. I just wanted a few other opinions on what more critical thinkers might say about this. Which do you feel is more important? Are they inseperable or can one exist without the other? Why do you think mainstream science will accept its own knowledge of things but will not accept the experience of others especially when it comes to psi or NDE's?
    Thanks for any comments you may have.

    P.S. I am also wondering if this is what some NDE'rs are referring to when they say have ultimate knowledge at one point, but yet need to experience life on earth to grow? I would assume that puts experience over knowlegde as well if true.
    I think experiencers and theorists/scientists need to work together to figure out how this world of ours work. Science needs to develop testable hypotheses which can shape models about the overarching structure of the universe. Experiencers can provide clues to what questions are worth testing. Sometimes their "anomalous experience" can be subjected to scientific rigour and show weaknesses in the current ideas about how the world works. Philosophers, particularly those who can draw upon theologies and the cross-cultural perspective can contribute frameworks which help to interlace the shared ideas of people across cultures and through time.

    For people who have had "the experience" there is no doubt. For scientists there is no proof. That is the conflict. Also for experiencers it is deeply personal, for scientists not so (usually). So the debate can be difficult - it is very hard to understand the vulnerability which goes with sharing. However I still believe that together we can start to unpick the mystery. So I come here for the dialogue.

    Julie

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    • #3
      Thanks for the response Julie.
      I agree with what you are saying completely. I just wonder if in our life time we will ever see anything like you explained. I feel in my gut that something is about to change that has been coming for a long time. I feel it's going to happen soon and the results will be something incredible.
      I'm hopeful.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi,

        I don't find your post incoherent at all. What you are asking is the age old question of whether empiricism or rationalism is correct.

        In order to facilitate a learning curve within these problems one should read David Hume and Immanuel Kant.

        They will offer up a very good foundation for these kinds of questions.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Hopeful View Post
          Thanks for the response Julie.
          I agree with what you are saying completely. I just wonder if in our life time we will ever see anything like you explained. I feel in my gut that something is about to change that has been coming for a long time. I feel it's going to happen soon and the results will be something incredible.
          I'm hopeful.
          To some extent I think we'll always be trying to figure it out but certainly there are some really interesting things happening and there's starting to be some intersection between models. Somehow the acknowledgement that we are all connected is central to progress.

          Thanks for your comment, I'm hopeful as well.

          Julie

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Carl Jung View Post
            Hi,

            I don't find your post incoherent at all. What you are asking is the age old question of whether empiricism or rationalism is correct.

            In order to facilitate a learning curve within these problems one should read David Hume and Immanuel Kant.

            They will offer up a very good foundation for these kinds of questions.
            Thanks for your response Carl. I will look into these authors you have mentioned.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Carl Jung View Post
              Hi,

              I don't find your post incoherent at all. What you are asking is the age old question of whether empiricism or rationalism is correct.

              In order to facilitate a learning curve within these problems one should read David Hume and Immanuel Kant.

              They will offer up a very good foundation for these kinds of questions.
              I like this one. The question is, is it an epiphany or a moment of gestault. That's the six million dollar question.

              "Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world. All knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it." - Albert Einstein

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Julie Marshall View Post
                I like this one. The question is, is it an epiphany or a moment of gestault. That's the six million dollar question.

                "Pure logical thinking cannot yield us any knowledge of the empirical world. All knowledge of reality starts from experience and ends in it." - Albert Einstein
                Well, I find that quote equating the empirical world with reality - and I don't think that is true.

                Think of history for example - how does one ascertain it through experiments? Of course one can't. This leads the empiricist to scoff at historical "knowledge" as impossible - and yet, all of our knowledge is like that if knowledge is based in experiments performed in the past.

                And also - no human ever lived in the "eternal now" completely cut of from the past - so the very consciousness involved in the analysis of a certain claim of knowledge is by its very nature partly historical.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Carl Jung View Post
                  Well, I find that quote equating the empirical world with reality - and I don't think that is true.

                  Think of history for example - how does one ascertain it through experiments? Of course one can't. This leads the empiricist to scoff at historical "knowledge" as impossible - and yet, all of our knowledge is like that if knowledge is based in experiments performed in the past.

                  And also - no human ever lived in the "eternal now" completely cut of from the past - so the very consciousness involved in the analysis of a certain claim of knowledge is by its very nature partly historical.
                  Do you see experience as equating to experiments or have I misunderstood you?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Carl Jung View Post
                    Well, I find that quote equating the empirical world with reality - and I don't think that is true.

                    Think of history for example - how does one ascertain it through experiments? Of course one can't. This leads the empiricist to scoff at historical "knowledge" as impossible - and yet, all of our knowledge is like that if knowledge is based in experiments performed in the past.

                    And also - no human ever lived in the "eternal now" completely cut of from the past - so the very consciousness involved in the analysis of a certain claim of knowledge is by its very nature partly historical.
                    Do you see experience as equating to experiments or have I misunderstood you?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Julie Marshall View Post
                      Do you see experience as equating to experiments or have I misunderstood you?
                      I don't - however, that is usually what is meant by these kinds of quotes.
                      There are two possibilities that Einstein could be referring to:

                      1. There is no knowledge except for what is verifiable through scientific experiments. (Standard radical empiricist or logical positivist view)

                      2. The knowledge he refers to is a softer kind of knowledge - namely the view that we have no innate knowledge. All of our knowledge is based in our experiencing the real world. Knowledge in this sense does not mean any kind of scientistic (as in verifiable and experimentally controlled) knowledge - he means knowledge in a more direct sense. In the way we might say that we have knowledge of trees through just experiencing them.

                      If he means the first then it is obviously false.
                      If he means number two then it is possible that he is right - but he's overconfident.

                      I suspect that he means the first though - but that is based on what I know of Einsteins philosophical empiricism - and I might be wrong.
                      Last edited by Carl Jung; October 18th, 2013, 04:16 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Carl Jung View Post
                        I don't - however, that is usually what is meant by these kinds of quotes.
                        There are two possibilities that Einstein could be referring to:

                        1. There is no knowledge except for what is verifiable through scientific experiments. (Standard radical empiricist or logical positivist view)

                        2. The knowledge he refers to is a softer kind of knowledge - namely the view that we have no innate knowledge. All of our knowledge is based in our experiencing the real world. Knowledge in this sense does not mean any kind of scientistic (as in verifiable and experimentally controlled) knowledge - he means knowledge in a more direct sense. In the way we might say that we have knowledge of trees through just experiencing them.

                        If he means the first then it is obviously false.
                        If he means number two then it is possible that he is right - but he's overconfident.

                        I suspect that he means the first though - but that is based on what I know of Einsteins philosophical empiricism - and I might be wrong.
                        I take your point. We all of us tend to wear different hats at different times, Einstein too. Outside reason and direct experience there is also the role of creativity, intuition and imagination not to mention instinctual knowingness and maybe insight that comes in a way we don't yet understand as described by our artistic luminaries.

                        "The only real valuable thing is intuition."
                        "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
                        Einstein

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Very interesting, age old question, dear Hopeful. Thanks for raising it. I liked the replies in the tread.

                          Unfortunately, I am not a critical thinker. So I may just contibute a personal reflection.

                          Have I ever experienced the nonmaterial dimensions of existence, as implied by evidence for the afterlife? Alas, no.

                          Have I ever experienced the curvature of the four-dimensional time-space continuum as postulated by Einstein's general relativity? I am very tempted to say no as well.

                          Still, I have reasons to believe that I am immersed in both, and both (perhaps relativity in a more direct way) significantly affect my life.

                          But still, my first answer would that I have no immediate "experience" of either.

                          So I am left with knowledge. Studying, I learn about nonmaterial realms and general relativity. And I experience knowledge of those. And, even if it is not direct experience, it gives me a pretty good insight, and understanding. And, with a little intuition from time to time, this comes very close to an experience...

                          Have I messed things up too much?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by drP View Post
                            Very interesting, age old question, dear Hopeful. Thanks for raising it. I liked the replies in the tread.

                            Unfortunately, I am not a critical thinker. So I may just contibute a personal reflection.

                            Have I ever experienced the nonmaterial dimensions of existence, as implied by evidence for the afterlife? Alas, no.

                            Have I ever experienced the curvature of the four-dimensional time-space continuum as postulated by Einstein's general relativity? I am very tempted to say no as well.

                            Still, I have reasons to believe that I am immersed in both, and both (perhaps relativity in a more direct way) significantly affect my life.

                            But still, my first answer would that I have no immediate "experience" of either.

                            So I am left with knowledge. Studying, I learn about nonmaterial realms and general relativity. And I experience knowledge of those. And, even if it is not direct experience, it gives me a pretty good insight, and understanding. And, with a little intuition from time to time, this comes very close to an experience...

                            Have I messed things up too much?
                            Thanks for the contribution. Welcome to the forum.

                            Julie

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by drP View Post
                              Very interesting, age old question, dear Hopeful. Thanks for raising it. I liked the replies in the tread.

                              Have I messed things up too much?
                              Thanks for the reply drP and Julie and Carl.
                              You didnt mess anything up drP. I dont consider myself a critical thinker either. I dont consider myself some scientific genius or a deep philosopher. Im actually just a normal guy who sees these things around him that a lot of other people just ignore or are so involved in the experience that they just orelook it and take it for granted. I try to talk to my wife about a lot of the stuff we discuss on the Skeptiko forums and she shows no interest at all in things like NDE, afterlife, mediumship, etc. I ask her how can she be a human in this crazy world we live in and not worry or at least be a little bit interested in where we go from here???!! Her response it basically, I just dont think about it.
                              The fact that we even exist is beyond awesome. If you hold up your hand and make a fist and release it...isnt that cool that you can do that just with thought?? That I can sit here and write this on a keyboard in my office and then you can all see it, and respond to it on your keyboard, possibly halfway around the world in an instant...how amazing is that?? Its a fantastic experience for sure!
                              I try to think about the first humans that were here and how we gained knowledge of things. Obviously if Barth and Gartok were out looking for berries and Barth ate a red berry and immediately dies, Gartok would come to the conclusion in his primitive mind "Gartok not eat berry or he die too". If you think about that seriously though, without writing or any REAL language to spread the knowledge we learned, how were we able to keep track of all the stuff we figured out? How were we able to survive all the possible ways we could have died just from sheer ignorance? It makes me wonder if somehow were born already knowing certain things that experience has yet to teach us. As if, were somehow pulling information from some other source than reading it in a book or seeing it happen first hand. Is it even possible that knowledge can be passed on thru DNA somehow?
                              Ugh..so many questions about who we truly are and why were really here. Sadly, not many answers to the things that in my mind, really matter.
                              Thanks again for all the comments.

                              Comment

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