How do we “know” something?
I think you’ll like this as a simple model to help answer the question – how do you know something to be true?
There are 3 main ways.
1. Experiential (Empirical)
With experiential, you know something because you’ve “experienced” it – basically through your five senses (site, hearing, touch, smell, and taste.)
2. Cognitive (Rational)
With cognitive, you know something because you’ve thought your way through it, argued it, or rationalized it.
3. Constructed (Creational)
With constructed, you know something because you created it – and it may be subjective instead of objective and it may be based on convention or perception.
Because of my day job of finding and sharing best practices, I depend heavily on “experiential.” By testing and reproducing success patterns, it helps me separate fact from fiction, good theories from good results, and turn insight into action. Experiential has been my most reliable source of knowledge – I can test it and reproduce it. I find that my cognitive and constructed tend to be more malleable, and sometimes less dependable.
Challenge What You Know
As you continue to learn throughout your life, you can challenge yourself – do you know this because you’re “experienced’ it, simply argued your way through it, or constructed it?
For more information, check out Epistemology – the theory of knowledge (Wikipedia.)
Photo by accent on eclectic.