Knowledge
Overview
 
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information
Information
Information in its most restricted technical sense is a message or collection of messages that consists of an ordered sequence of symbols, or it is the meaning that can be interpreted from such a message or collection of messages. Information can be recorded or transmitted. It can be recorded as...

, fact
Evidence
Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Giving or procuring evidence is the process of using those things that are either presumed to be true, or were themselves proven via evidence, to demonstrate an assertion's truth...

s, description
Description
Description is one of four rhetorical modes , along with exposition, argumentation, and narration. Each of the rhetorical modes is present in a variety of forms and each has its own purpose and conventions....

s, or skills acquired through experience
Experience
Experience as a general concept comprises knowledge of or skill in or observation of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event....

 or education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It can be implicit (as with practical skill or expertise) or explicit (as with the theoretical understanding of a subject); and it can be more or less formal or systematic. In philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, the study of knowledge is called epistemology, and the philosopher Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 famously defined knowledge as "justified true belief
Justified true belief
Justified true belief is one definition of knowledge that states in order to know that a given proposition is true, one must not only believe the relevant true proposition, but one must also have justification for doing so. In more formal terms, a subject S knows that a proposition P is true if,...

." There is however no single agreed upon definition of knowledge, and there are numerous theories to explain it.

Knowledge acquisition involves complex cognitive
Cognition
In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is studied in various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science...

 processes: perception, learning, communication, association and reasoning; while knowledge is also said to be related to the capacity of acknowledgment in human beings.



The definition of knowledge is a matter of on-going debate
Debate
Debate or debating is a method of interactive and representational argument. Debate is a broader form of argument than logical argument, which only examines consistency from axiom, and factual argument, which only examines what is or isn't the case or rhetoric which is a technique of persuasion...

 among philosophers in the field of epistemology.
Quotations

Knowledge is discovered, when ignorance is lost.

Jason F. Klein, "As life is written", Sonoma State University (1992)

Knowledge is good.

Motto of Faber College, in Animal House (1978)

Knowledge is power.

Francis Bacon, Meditationes Sacræ [Sacred Meditations] (1597) "De Hæresibus" [Of Heresies]

I have taken all knowledge to be my province.

Francis Bacon, letter to Lord Burleigh, 1592

Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.

The Authorized King James Version|Bible (KJV), Proverbs 24:3-4

A man who knows how little he knows is well, a man who knows how much he knows is sick.

Witter Bynner|Witter Bynner, The Way of Life (1944)

The Master said, "Yu, shall I teach you what knowledge is? When you know a thing, to hold that you know it; and when you do not know a thing, to allow that you do not know it; — this is knowledge."

Confucius in The Analects 2:17, as translated by Arthur Waley

I owe all my knowledge to the German inventor, Johannes Gutenberg!

Mehmet ildan, as quoted in "The Theatre Play: Emmanuel Arago's Diary; 2004."

Encyclopedia
Knowledge is a familiarity with someone or something unknown, which can include information
Information
Information in its most restricted technical sense is a message or collection of messages that consists of an ordered sequence of symbols, or it is the meaning that can be interpreted from such a message or collection of messages. Information can be recorded or transmitted. It can be recorded as...

, fact
Evidence
Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Giving or procuring evidence is the process of using those things that are either presumed to be true, or were themselves proven via evidence, to demonstrate an assertion's truth...

s, description
Description
Description is one of four rhetorical modes , along with exposition, argumentation, and narration. Each of the rhetorical modes is present in a variety of forms and each has its own purpose and conventions....

s, or skills acquired through experience
Experience
Experience as a general concept comprises knowledge of or skill in or observation of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event....

 or education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

. It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It can be implicit (as with practical skill or expertise) or explicit (as with the theoretical understanding of a subject); and it can be more or less formal or systematic. In philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, the study of knowledge is called epistemology, and the philosopher Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 famously defined knowledge as "justified true belief
Justified true belief
Justified true belief is one definition of knowledge that states in order to know that a given proposition is true, one must not only believe the relevant true proposition, but one must also have justification for doing so. In more formal terms, a subject S knows that a proposition P is true if,...

." There is however no single agreed upon definition of knowledge, and there are numerous theories to explain it.

Knowledge acquisition involves complex cognitive
Cognition
In science, cognition refers to mental processes. These processes include attention, remembering, producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions. Cognition is studied in various disciplines such as psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and computer science...

 processes: perception, learning, communication, association and reasoning; while knowledge is also said to be related to the capacity of acknowledgment in human beings.

Theories of knowledge




The definition of knowledge is a matter of on-going debate
Debate
Debate or debating is a method of interactive and representational argument. Debate is a broader form of argument than logical argument, which only examines consistency from axiom, and factual argument, which only examines what is or isn't the case or rhetoric which is a technique of persuasion...

 among philosophers in the field of epistemology. The classical definition, described but not ultimately endorsed by Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, specifies that a statement
Statement (logic)
In logic a statement is either a meaningful declarative sentence that is either true or false, or what is asserted or made by the use of a declarative sentence...

 must meet three criteria in order to be considered knowledge: it must be justified
Theory of justification
Theory of justification is a part of epistemology that attempts to understand the justification of propositions and beliefs. Epistemologists are concerned with various epistemic features of belief, which include the ideas of justification, warrant, rationality, and probability...

, true
Truth
Truth has a variety of meanings, such as the state of being in accord with fact or reality. It can also mean having fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. In a common usage, it also means constancy or sincerity in action or character...

, and believed
Belief
Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.-Belief, knowledge and epistemology:The terms belief and knowledge are used differently in philosophy....

. Some claim that these conditions are not sufficient, as Gettier case examples allegedly demonstrate. There are a number of alternatives proposed, including Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

's arguments for a requirement that knowledge 'tracks the truth' and Simon Blackburn's
Simon Blackburn
Simon Blackburn is a British academic philosopher known for his work in quasi-realism and his efforts to popularise philosophy. He recently retired as professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge, but remains a distinguished research professor of philosophy at the University of North...

 additional requirement that we do not want to say that those who meet any of these conditions 'through a defect, flaw, or failure' have knowledge. Richard Kirkham
Richard Kirkham
Richard Ladd Kirkham is an American philosopher. Among his published works are the much-cited Theories of Truth , "Does the Gettier Problem Rest on a Mistake?" Mind , and "On Paradoxes and a Surprise Exam" Philosophia . Kirkham graduated from Cornell College in 1977 and received his Ph.D...

 suggests that our definition of knowledge requires that the evidence for the belief necessitates its truth.

In contrast to this approach, Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

 observed, following Moore's paradox
Moore's paradox
Moore's paradox concerns the putative absurdity involved in asserting a first-person present-tense sentence such as 'It's raining but I don't believe that it is raining' or 'It's raining but I believe that it is not raining'. The first author to note this apparent absurdity was G.E. Moore...

, that one can say "He believes it, but it isn't so", but not "He knows it, but it isn't so". He goes on to argue that these do not correspond to distinct mental states, but rather to distinct ways of talking about conviction. What is different here is not the mental state of the speaker, but the activity in which they are engaged. For example, on this account, to know that the kettle is boiling is not to be in a particular state of mind, but to perform a particular task with the statement that the kettle is boiling. Wittgenstein sought to bypass the difficulty of definition by looking to the way "knowledge" is used in natural languages. He saw knowledge as a case of a family resemblance
Family resemblance
Family resemblance is a philosophical idea made popular by Ludwig Wittgenstein, with the best known exposition being given in the posthumously published book Philosophical Investigations It has been suggested that Wittgenstein picked the idea and the term from Nietzsche, who had been using it,...

. Following this idea, "knowledge" has been reconstructed as a cluster concept that points out relevant features but that is not adequately captured by any definition.

Communicating knowledge

Symbolic representation
Symbolic linguistic representation
A symbolic linguistic representation is a representation of an utterance that uses symbols to represent linguistic information about the utterance, such as information about phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, or semantics...

s can be used to indicate meaning and can be thought of as a dynamic process. Hence the transfer of the symbolic representation can be viewed as one ascription process whereby knowledge can be transferred. Other forms of communication include observation and imitation, verbal exchange, and audio and video recordings. Philosophers of language and semioticians construct and analyze theories of knowledge transfer or communication.

While many would agree that one of the most universal and significant tools for the transfer of knowledge is writing (of many kinds), argument over the usefulness of the written word exists however, with some scholars skeptical of its impact on societies. In his collection of essays Technopoly
Technopoly: the Surrender of Culture to Technology
Technopoly: the Surrender of Culture to Technology is a book written by Neil Postman in 1992 that describes the development and characteristics of a "technopoly". He defines a technopoly as a society in which technology is deified, meaning “the culture seeks its authorisation in technology, finds...

 Neil Postman demonstrates the argument against the use of writing through an excerpt from Plato's work Phaedrus (Postman, Neil (1992) Technopoly, Vintage, New York, pp 73). In this excerpt the scholar Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

 recounts the story of Thamus, the Egyptian king and Theuth the inventor of the written word. In this story, Theuth presents his new invention "writing" to King Thamus, telling Thamus that his new invention "will improve both the wisdom and memory of the Egyptians" (Postman, Neil (1992) Technopoly, Vintage, New York, pp 74). King Thamus is skeptical of this new invention and rejects it as a tool of recollection rather than retained knowledge. He argues that the written word will infect the Egyptian people with fake knowledge as they will be able to attain facts and stories from an external source and will no longer be forced to mentally retain large quantities of knowledge themselves (Postman, Neil (1992) Technopoly, Vintage, New York,pp 74).

Andrew Robinson also highlights, in his work The Origins of Writing, the possibility for writing to be used to spread false information and therefore the ability of the written word to decrease social knowledge (Robinson, Andrew (2003) The Origins of Writing in Crowley and Heyer (eds) Communication in History: Technology, Culture, Society, Boston pp 34). People are often internalizing new information which they perceive to be knowledge but in reality fill their minds with false knowledge.

The above points are moot in the modern world. Verbal communication lends itself to the spread of falsehoods much more so than written, as there is no record of exactly what was said or who originally said it (usually neither the source nor the content can be verified). Gossip and rumors are common examples. As to value of writing, the extent of human knowledge is now so great that it is only possible to record it and to communicate it through writing. Major libraries today can have millions of books of knowledge (in addition to works of fiction). It is only recently that audio and video technology for recording knowledge have become available and the use of these still requires replay equipment and electricity. Verbal teaching and handing down of knowledge is limited to those few who would have contact with the transmitter person - far too limited for today's world. Writing is still the most available and most universal of all forms of recording and transmitting knowledge. It stands unchallenged as mankind's primary technology of knowledge transfer down through the ages and to all cultures and languages of the world.jkj

Situated knowledge

Situated knowledge is knowledge specific to a particular situation.

Some methods of generating knowledge, such as trial and error
Trial and error
Trial and error, or trial by error, is a general method of problem solving, fixing things, or for obtaining knowledge."Learning doesn't happen from failure itself but rather from analyzing the failure, making a change, and then trying again."...

, or learning from experience
Experience
Experience as a general concept comprises knowledge of or skill in or observation of some thing or some event gained through involvement in or exposure to that thing or event....

, tend to create highly situational knowledge. One of the main attributes of the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 is that the theories it generates are much less situational than knowledge gained by other methods.
Situational knowledge is often embedded in language, culture, or traditions.

Knowledge generated through experience is called knowledge "a posteriori", meaning afterwards. The pure existence of a term like "a posteriori" means this also has a counterpart. In this case that is knowledge "a priori", meaning before. The knowledge prior to any experience means that there are certain "assumptions" that one takes for granted. For example if you are being told about a chair
Chair
A chair is a stable, raised surface used to sit on, commonly for use by one person. Chairs are most often supported by four legs and have a back; however, a chair can have three legs or could have a different shape depending on the criteria of the chair specifications. A chair without a back or...

 it is clear to you that the chair is in space
Space
Space is the boundless, three-dimensional extent in which objects and events occur and have relative position and direction. Physical space is often conceived in three linear dimensions, although modern physicists usually consider it, with time, to be part of a boundless four-dimensional continuum...

, that it is 3D. This knowledge is not knowledge that one can "forget", even someone suffering from amnesia experiences the world in 3D. See also: a priori and a posteriori
A priori and a posteriori (philosophy)
The terms a priori and a posteriori are used in philosophy to distinguish two types of knowledge, justifications or arguments...

.

Partial knowledge

One discipline of epistemology focuses on partial knowledge. In most realistic cases, it is not possible to have an exhaustive understanding of an information domain, so then we have to live with the fact that our knowledge is always not complete, that is, partial. Most real problems have to be solved by taking advantage of a partial understanding of the problem context and problem data. That is very different from the typical simple maths problems one might solve at school, where all data is given and one has a perfect understanding of formulas necessary to solve them.

This idea is also present in the concept of bounded rationality
Bounded rationality
Bounded rationality is the idea that in decision making, rationality of individuals is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds, and the finite amount of time they have to make a decision...

 which assumes that in real life situations people often have a limited amount of information and make decisions accordingly.

Scientific knowledge

The development of the scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 has made a significant contribution to our understanding of knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry
Inquiry
An inquiry is any process that has the aim of augmenting knowledge, resolving doubt, or solving a problem. A theory of inquiry is an account of the various types of inquiry and a treatment of the ways that each type of inquiry achieves its aim.-Deduction:...

 must be based on gathering observable
Observable
In physics, particularly in quantum physics, a system observable is a property of the system state that can be determined by some sequence of physical operations. For example, these operations might involve submitting the system to various electromagnetic fields and eventually reading a value off...

, empirical
Empirical
The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation or experimentation. Empirical data are data produced by an experiment or observation....

 and measurable
Measurement
Measurement is the process or the result of determining the ratio of a physical quantity, such as a length, time, temperature etc., to a unit of measurement, such as the metre, second or degree Celsius...

 evidence
Evidence
Evidence in its broadest sense includes everything that is used to determine or demonstrate the truth of an assertion. Giving or procuring evidence is the process of using those things that are either presumed to be true, or were themselves proven via evidence, to demonstrate an assertion's truth...

 subject to specific principles of reasoning. The scientific method consists of the collection of data
Data
The term data refers to qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or set of variables. Data are typically the results of measurements and can be the basis of graphs, images, or observations of a set of variables. Data are often viewed as the lowest level of abstraction from which...

 through observation
Observation
Observation is either an activity of a living being, such as a human, consisting of receiving knowledge of the outside world through the senses, or the recording of data using scientific instruments. The term may also refer to any data collected during this activity...

 and experiment
Experiment
An experiment is a methodical procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, falsifying, or establishing the validity of a hypothesis. Experiments vary greatly in their goal and scale, but always rely on repeatable procedure and logical analysis of the results...

ation, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses. Science, and the nature of scientific knowledge have also become the subject of Philosophy
Philosophy of science
The philosophy of science is concerned with the assumptions, foundations, methods and implications of science. It is also concerned with the use and merit of science and sometimes overlaps metaphysics and epistemology by exploring whether scientific results are actually a study of truth...

. As science itself has developed, knowledge has developed a broader usage which has been developing within biology/psychology—discussed elsewhere as meta-epistemology
Meta-epistemology
Meta-epistemology is a metaphilosophical study of the subject, matter, methods and aims of epistemology and of approaches to understanding and structuring our knowledge of knowledge itself....

, or genetic epistemology
Genetic epistemology
Genetic epistemology is a study of the origins of knowledge . The discipline was established by Jean Piaget.The goal of genetic epistemology is to link the validity of knowledge to the model of its construction. In other words, it shows that the method in which the knowledge was obtained/created...

, and to some extent related to "theory of cognitive development
Theory of cognitive development
Piaget's theory of cognitive development is a comprehensive theory about the nature and development of human intelligence first developed by Jean Piaget. It is primarily known as a developmental stage theory, but in fact, it deals with the nature of knowledge itself and how humans come gradually to...

".    
Note that "epistemology" is the study of knowledge and how it is acquired. Science is “the process used everyday to logically complete thoughts through inference of facts determined by calculated experiments." Sir Francis Bacon, critical in the historical development of the scientific method, his works established and popularized an inductive methodology for scientific inquiry. His famous aphorism, "knowledge is power", is found in the Meditations Sacrae (1597).

Until recent times, at least in the Western tradition, it was simply taken for granted that knowledge was something possessed only by humans — and probably adult humans at that. Sometimes the notion might stretch to (ii) Society-as-such, as in (e.g.) "the knowledge possessed by the Coptic culture" (as opposed to its individual members), but that was not assured either. Nor was it usual to consider unconscious knowledge in any systematic way until this approach was popularized by Freud
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud , born Sigismund Schlomo Freud , was an Austrian neurologist who founded the discipline of psychoanalysis...

.

Other biological domains where "knowledge" might be said to reside, include: (iii) the immune system, and (iv) in the DNA of the genetic code. See the list of four "epistemological domains":   Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

, (1975); and Traill (2008: Table S, page 31)—also references by both to Niels Jerne
Niels Kaj Jerne
Niels Kaj Jerne, FRS was a Danish immunologist. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1984. The citation read "For theories concerning the specificity in development and control of the immune system and the discovery of the principle for production of monoclonal antibodies"....

.

Such considerations seem to call for a separate definition of "knowledge" to cover the biological systems. For biologists, knowledge must be usefully available to the system, though that system need not be conscious. Thus the criteria seem to be:
  • The system should apparently be dynamic and self-organizing (unlike a mere book on its own).
  • The knowledge must constitute some sort of representation of "the outside world", or ways of dealing with it (directly or indirectly).
  • There must be some way for the system to access this information quickly enough for it to be useful.


Scientific knowledge may not involve a claim to certainty
Certainty
Certainty can be defined as either:# perfect knowledge that has total security from error, or# the mental state of being without doubtObjectively defined, certainty is total continuity and validity of all foundational inquiry, to the highest degree of precision. Something is certain only if no...

, maintaining skepticism
Skepticism
Skepticism has many definitions, but generally refers to any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere...

 means that a scientist will never be absolutely certain when they are correct and when they are not. It is thus an irony of proper scientific method
Scientific method
Scientific method refers to a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge. To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on gathering empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of...

 that one must doubt even when correct, in the hopes that this practice will lead to greater convergence on the truth
Truth
Truth has a variety of meanings, such as the state of being in accord with fact or reality. It can also mean having fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. In a common usage, it also means constancy or sincerity in action or character...

 in general.

Religious meaning of knowledge

In many expressions of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, such as Catholicism
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 and Anglicanism
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

, knowledge is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
Seven gifts of the Holy Spirit
The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are a medieval enumeration of seven spiritual gifts probably encodified by Thomas Aquinas along with five intellectual virtues and four other groups of ethical characteristics. They are: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the...

.

The Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

's tree of the knowledge of good and evil contained the knowledge that separated Man from God: "And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil…"

In Gnosticism
Gnosticism
Gnosticism is a scholarly term for a set of religious beliefs and spiritual practices common to early Christianity, Hellenistic Judaism, Greco-Roman mystery religions, Zoroastrianism , and Neoplatonism.A common characteristic of some of these groups was the teaching that the realisation of Gnosis...

 divine knowledge or gnosis
Gnosis
Gnosis is the common Greek noun for knowledge . In the context of the English language gnosis generally refers to the word's meaning within the spheres of Christian mysticism, Mystery religions and Gnosticism where it signifies 'spiritual knowledge' in the sense of mystical enlightenment.-Related...

 is hoped to be attained and escape from the demiurge
Demiurge
The demiurge is a concept from the Platonic, Neopythagorean, Middle Platonic, and Neoplatonic schools of philosophy for an artisan-like figure responsible for the fashioning and maintenance of the physical universe. The term was subsequently adopted by the Gnostics...

's physical world. And in Thelema
Thelema
Thelema is a religious philosophy that was established, defined and developed by the early 20th century British writer and ceremonial magician, Aleister Crowley. He believed himself to be the prophet of a new age, the Æon of Horus, based upon a religious experience that he had in Egypt in 1904...

 knowledge and conversation with one's Holy Guardian Angel is the purpose of life, which is similar to Gnosis or enlightenment in other mystery religions.
Hindu
Hindu
Hindu refers to an identity associated with the philosophical, religious and cultural systems that are indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. As used in the Constitution of India, the word "Hindu" is also attributed to all persons professing any Indian religion...

 Scriptures present two kinds of knowledge, Paroksha Gnyana and Prataksha Gnyana. Paroksha Gnyana (also spelled Paroksha-Jnana) is secondhand knowledge: knowledge obtained from books, hearsay, etc. Prataksha Gnyana (also spelled Prataksha-Jnana) is the knowledge borne of direct experience, i.e., knowledge that one discovers for oneself. Jyâna yoga ("path of knowledge") is one of three main types of yoga expounded by Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 in the Bhagavad Gita
Bhagavad Gita
The ' , also more simply known as Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture that is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahabharata, but is frequently treated as a freestanding text, and in particular, as an Upanishad in its own right, one of the several books that constitute general Vedic tradition...

. (It is compared and contrasted with Bhakti Yoga and Karma yoga
Karma Yoga
Karma yoga , or the "discipline of action" is a form of yoga based on the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred Sanskrit scripture of Hinduism. Of the four paths to realization, karma yoga is the science of achieving perfection in action...

.)

In Islam, knowledge (Arabic: علم, ʿilm) is given great significance. "The Knowing" (al-ʿAlīm) is one of the 99 names reflecting distinct attributes of God
God in Islam
In Islamic theology, God is the all-powerful and all-knowing creator, sustainer, ordainer, and judge of the universe. Islam puts a heavy emphasis on the conceptualization of God as strictly singular . God is unique and inherently One , all-merciful and omnipotent. According to the Islamic...

. The Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 asserts that knowledge comes from God and various hadith
Hadith
The term Hadīth is used to denote a saying or an act or tacit approval or criticism ascribed either validly or invalidly to the Islamic prophet Muhammad....

 encourage the acquisition of knowledge. Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 is reported to have said "Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave" and "Verily the men of knowledge are the inheritors of the prophets". Islamic scholars, theologians and jurists are often given the title alim
Ulema
Ulama , also spelt ulema, refers to the educated class of Muslim legal scholars engaged in the several fields of Islamic studies. They are best known as the arbiters of shari‘a law...

, meaning "knowledgable".

In Jewish tradition, knowledge (Hebrew: דעת da'ath) is considered one of the most valuable traits a person can acquire. Observant Jews recite three times a day in the Amidah "Favor us with knowledge, understanding and discretion that come from you. Exalted are you, Existent-One, the gracious giver of knowledge." The Tanakh states, "A wise man gains power, and a man of knowledge maintains power", and "knowledge is chosen above gold".

See also

  • Analytic-synthetic distinction
  • Descriptive knowledge
    Descriptive knowledge
    Descriptive knowledge, also declarative knowledge or propositional knowledge, is the species of knowledge that is, by its very nature, expressed in declarative sentences or indicative propositions...

  • Epistemic logic
    Epistemic logic
    Epistemic modal logic is a subfield of modal logic that is concerned with reasoning about knowledge. While epistemology has a long philosophical tradition dating back to Ancient Greece, epistemic logic is a much more recent development with applications in many fields, including philosophy,...

  • Explicit knowledge
    Explicit knowledge
    Explicit knowledge is knowledge that has been or can be articulated, codified, and stored in certain media. It can be readily transmitted to others. The information contained in encyclopedias are good examples of explicit knowledge....

  • Figurative system of human knowledge
    Figurative system of human knowledge
    The "figurative system of human knowledge", sometimes known as the tree of Diderot and d'Alembert, was a tree developed to represent the structure of knowledge itself, produced for the Encyclopédie by Jean le Rond d'Alembert and Denis Diderot....

  • Intelligence
    Intelligence
    Intelligence has been defined in different ways, including the abilities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, planning, emotional intelligence and problem solving....

  • Intuition
    Intuition (knowledge)
    Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason. "The word 'intuition' comes from the Latin word 'intueri', which is often roughly translated as meaning 'to look inside'’ or 'to contemplate'." Intuition provides us with beliefs that we cannot necessarily justify...

     as an unconscious
    Unconscious mind
    The unconscious mind is a term coined by the 18th century German romantic philosopher Friedrich Schelling and later introduced into English by the poet and essayist Samuel Taylor Coleridge...

     form of knowledge.
  • Knowledge discovery
    Knowledge discovery
    Knowledge discovery is a concept of the field of computer science that describes the process of automatically searching large volumes of data for patterns that can be considered knowledge about the data . It is often described as deriving knowledge from the input data...

  • Knowledge engineering
    Knowledge engineering
    Knowledge engineering was defined in 1983 by Edward Feigenbaum, and Pamela McCorduck as follows:At present, it refers to the building, maintaining and development of knowledge-based systems...

  • Knowledge relativity
    Knowledge relativity
    In philosophy, knowledge relativity is the notion that knowledge can be seen as the relation between a form of representation with up to two sorts of intent – communication and use goals – and with up to three subjects – one who knows, one who is informed, and one who observes and...

  • Knowledge retrieval
    Knowledge retrieval
    Knowledge Retrieval seeks to return information in a structured form, consistent with human cognitive processes as opposed to simple lists of data items...

  • Learning
    Learning
    Learning is acquiring new or modifying existing knowledge, behaviors, skills, values, or preferences and may involve synthesizing different types of information. The ability to learn is possessed by humans, animals and some machines. Progress over time tends to follow learning curves.Human learning...

  • Metaknowledge
    Metaknowledge
    Metaknowledge or meta-knowledge is knowledge about a preselected knowledge.For the reason of different definitions of knowledge in the subject matter literature, meta-information is or is not included in meta-knowledge. Detailed cognitive, systemic and epistemic study of human knowledge requires a...

  • Philosophical skepticism
    Philosophical skepticism
    Philosophical skepticism is both a philosophical school of thought and a method that crosses disciplines and cultures. Many skeptics critically examine the meaning systems of their times, and this examination often results in a position of ambiguity or doubt...

  • Procedural knowledge
    Procedural knowledge
    Procedural knowledge, also known as imperative knowledge, is the knowledge exercised in the performance of some task. See below for the specific meaning of this term in cognitive psychology and intellectual property law....

  • Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge
    Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge
    The Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge , founded in 1826, and wound up in 1848, was a Whiggish London organisation that published inexpensive texts intended to adapt scientific and similarly high-minded material for the rapidly expanding reading public...

  • Tacit knowledge
    Tacit knowledge
    Tacit knowledge is knowledge that is difficult to transfer to another person by means of writing it down or verbalising it. For example, stating to someone that London is in the United Kingdom is a piece of explicit knowledge that can be written down, transmitted, and understood by a recipient...

  • Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities
    Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities
    The Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities is a major international statement on open access / access to knowledge. It emerged in 2003 from a conference on open access hosted in Berlin by the Max Planck Society. Organizations that commit to implementing this...

  • Wisdom
    Wisdom
    Wisdom is a deep understanding and realization of people, things, events or situations, resulting in the ability to apply perceptions, judgements and actions in keeping with this understanding. It often requires control of one's emotional reactions so that universal principles, reason and...

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