From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Philosophy (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Philosophy, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of content related to philosophy on Wikipedia. If you would like to support the project, please visit the project page, where you can get more details on how you can help, and where you can join the general discussion about philosophy content on Wikipedia.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Education (Rated C-class, Top-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Education, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of education and education-related topics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Top  This article has been rated as Top-importance on the project's importance scale.
WikiProject Psychology (Rated C-class, Low-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Psychology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Psychology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Low  This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.
Wikipedia Version 1.0 Editorial Team / Vital
WikiProject icon This article has been reviewed by the Version 1.0 Editorial Team.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the quality scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is a vital article.


This article covers many aspects of knowledge. For the philosophical areas of knowledge please use epistemology.

Meaning of the first paragraph[edit]

The first paragraph contains the sentence, 'It can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject' (where 'it' stands for 'knowledge'). In its present form this is incorrect, and although I changed it the original version has been restored. Writing 'knowledge can refer to...' implies that it may do, but it may not.

'It refers to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject' is a better sentence and means what it says. The 'can' is neither necessary nor correct.--Chris Jefferies (talk) 20:00, 21 August 2011 (UTC)

Umm. OK if we go with Aristotle then we have Sophia and Phronesis and that would conform with your statement, but would exclude forms of of knowledge that don't fit. Intuitive knowledge for example may be neither. I'm not sure why you says its incorrect? --Snowded TALK 20:23, 21 August 2011 (UTC)
Further, if we go with simple common sense, knowledge can refer to the theoretical or practical understanding of a subject. It need not refer to both at once; there are cases of practical knowledge unaccompanied by theoretical understanding as well as cases of theoretical knowledge without the ability to demonstrate a practical example. The use of 'can' acknowledges both of those possibilities. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 05:36, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

It's not the philosophy I'm struggling with, it's the sentence construction. Let's take a really simple example. Imagine a shop that sells only two products - apples and pears.

'The shop sells apples and pears' is concise and accurate in meaning. It sells either or both.

'The shop can sell apples and pears' is longer than necessary and unclear. Does it mean it sells only one or the other? Maybe.

I just think the sentence could be better. And in Wikipedia if it could be better, it should be changed. It's not worth a long discussion, I'm simply expressing my opinion.--Chris Jefferies (talk) 13:30, 22 August 2011 (UTC)

However the philosophy does not really permit of the Greengrocer example. In this case it CAN but to does not necessarily mean .... --Snowded TALK 13:32, 22 August 2011 (UTC)


I've removed once again the sentence

Living is learning, and the things learned should be shared and passed on, for a society to move forward.

and the reference to Wikia. The content of Wikipedia articles has to be attributable to a reliable, published source which obviously excludes Wikia. The sentence is in any case too vague and preachy to constitute encyclopedic content. Pichpich (talk) 19:55, 6 January 2012 (UTC)

1, Philosophy is always vague, and the higher the standard, the higher the vagueness. 2, Philosophy is meant to be Preachy, and an encyclopedia needs to quote the musings on a particular subject, in an article for that subject. 3, I thought it was wikipedia norms to cite quotations, unless ofcourse you are one of those who have the power to Ignore all rules, and want to use it.--Ne0Freedom 20:51, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
I strongly dispute assertions 1 and 2. Philosophy doesn't need to be vague or preachy and philosophers that have a clear idea of what they want to say express things clearly. But the sentence we're discussing is something you'd find in a fortune-cookie. Moreover, I have no problem with including a reference to note that you're copying a sentence from Wikia. My problem is that you simply should not be copying a poorly phrased sentence from Wikia, in other words from an anonymous source with no credentials. Pichpich (talk) 21:06, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
I know that western philosophy, like Bible can be straight to the point, but not so with eastern Philosophy. Personally, I catagorize Sanatan Philosophy into four levels. 1 Bhagvad Gita, 2 Yoga Vasistha, 3 Ashtavakra Gita, 4 Vedas & Upanishads. Try reading something from level 3 or 4, and it will confound you. My next point is, every religious philosophy preaches! Or are you going to tell me that Bible and Quoran don't preach? My third point, "poorly phrased"? You want to rephrase it, ?...give it a try. Or is it "poorly phrased" because you can't understand it?--Ne0Freedom 21:41, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
This is an encyclopedia article on the topic of knowledge. As such it has no room for vague preachy sentences whether they're vague preachy sentences inspired by the Bible or vague preachy sentences inspired by Vedic texts. If you want to cite a credible expert on the subject saying "in Eastern philosophy living is learning, and the things learned should be shared and passed on, for a society to move forward" then I'm ready to listen, but you're lifting that sentence from Wikia which is about as far as you can get from a credible expert. Pichpich (talk) 22:21, 6 January 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't have time for your petty arguments. My time is much better used making articles, than getting caught up in useless arguments like this one. --Ne0Freedom 09:50, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Edit request on 26 June 2012[edit]

change "data is" to "data are" (talk) 17:54, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

Oppose. Modern usage of the term typically treats data not as the plural of datum but as a mass noun. So "data is" is grammatically correct. Pichpich (talk) 18:14, 26 June 2012 (UTC)
X mark.svg Not done, per Pich--Jac16888 Talk 18:43, 26 June 2012 (UTC)

This page broke the philosophy game.[edit]

This page links to Fact which gets in a loop back to Fact when playing the philosophy game on Wikipedia. This might seem trivial, but I hardly believe that over 94% of all articles link back to philosophy now. It is either this page's fault, or the fault of Fact, because every page that I haven't gotten to philosophy with, I've gotten to this one. I propose we make the first linked word be Philosophy, possibly by just adding it in front of the word "fact" in the first sentence. This would not significantly change the meaning of the sentence or the summary, but would make a lot of bored Wikipedia browsers a lot happier. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Jackgopack4 (talkcontribs) 04:46, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Nice of you to ask, but too much time is spent dealing with this nonsense ----Snowded TALK 07:26, 7 December 2012 (UTC)
Y'know, you could just consider this page the ending page in the "Philosophy Game". Smortypi (talk) 17:22, 7 March 2013 (UTC)

Suggested rewrite[edit]

I would suggest that this page be replaced by views of 10 or more solicited top thinkers and people of knowledge, without pay. One of the major problems of Wikipedia vs. traditional encyclopedia is the lack of top authorities, who avoid the open environment of Wikipedia. Here is one page that can take some solicited top authorities in knowledge, who can be criticized by the regulars. Jumpulse (talk) 20:38, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Sounds like Citizendium is the place for you then. __ Just plain Bill (talk) 20:51, 12 April 2013 (UTC)

Writing as the "primary technology of knowledge transfer" (disputed text)[edit]

The following text of section Communicating knowledge is not completely factual: "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." This is far from the truth, as many cultures and languages have not ever used—and still do not use—written language: a fact that this statement denies. In addition, writing is likely not humankind's current "primary", "unchallenged" technology of knowledge transfer; the Internet is arguably replacing writing in informational importance at an exponential rate, thus the claim that writing alone is unchallenged in this way is utterly false. This material, as well as the rest of the section, is completely unreferenced and should be modified or otherwise partially removed from the article. — |J~Pæst| 21:52, 12 May 2013 (UTC)

Last time I looked people wrote (or at least typed) on the internet using written language. Per Boisot (if we need a source) codified knowledge diffuses faster ----Snowded TALK 00:09, 13 May 2013 (UTC)
Even if you consider typing a form of "writing", mention of the Internet is not included in the section anyway. Some clarification should be added to this statement, then. The incorrect usage of the word "all" should be replaced with "many or "most" as well. And nonetheless, the text remains completely uncited. — |J~Pæst| 03:46, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
I think its a little perverse not to see the internet as writing, its just one medium for the written word with illustrations. I'd agree that the oral tradition also has value, but it does not diffuse outside of its community. Codified knowledge can be cited (Boistot Knowledge Assets) as enabling rapid diffusion and that would reference the written work in various forms. One could then add some of the cited stuff on internet growth and compare with a similar explosion when the secret of how to make cheap paper was stolen from the Chinese. From memory there are sources on that----Snowded TALK 06:55, 14 May 2013 (UTC)
In my opinion, both of your points have merit. Written is clearly superior to in-person communication of knowledge across distances, but not always superior with regards to more tacit forms of knowledge where visible emotions, body language, and other cues need to be communicated (and nowadays the internet can convey either written or oral communication asynchronistically). So might I recommend a compromise of taking out the phrase "unchallenged"? It has generally been my experience that when philosophical debates claim something is unchallenged, that's usually reaching a tad to far for the field :-) Harvey the rabbit (talk) 07:17, 8 August 2013 (UTC) also, let's not forget memes and subconscious fads!
This section has problems indeed. (1) First and foremost, huge WP:OR red flags in the passage JPaest highlighted. E.g. "Unchallenged" but also unsupported here. "...primary technology of knowledge transfer down through the ages and to all cultures and langauges of the world"?? For WP's sake, who cares how true that statement is if it's unreferenced (and thus clearly OR). (2) Why is Plato cited through Postman without actually drawing on any of Postman? (3) Why even bring up Robinson if his argument is going to be treated as a straw man. Another example of OR, perspectives are not stated objectively with supporting or criticizing sources cited; a single source is cited and then the author of the section declares it wrong.
As to the truth of the statement in question... I agree that it's silly to say so matter-of-factly that written language is "the most available and most universal of all forms of recording and transmitting knowledge" when in fact we still speak language and there are entire cultures and populations (including in, for example, the US) who cannot read/write? What about the first years of our lives before anybody can read? In many ways you could argue we gain more knowledge during that period than at any other time in our lives. There are good arguments for and against; my point isn't to absolutely say anybody's wrong, but that it's easy to "challenge" writing as "mankind's primary..." I do have to disagree with JPaest about the Internet, though. The Internet is a means of production and transmission, which is important, but it can't exist without written language (and if we focus on such means, it's hard to say the Internet in its short history is more worth of mention than papyrus, movable type, or the printing press in "recording and transmitting"). --Rhododendrites (talk) 18:35, 8 August 2013 (UTC)

Philosophy game[edit]

So what exactly is the problem with putting information first? To be clear, I'm not in support of turning Wikipedia into a game, I'm in support of ending an edit war that's been going on for years. — MusikAnimal talk 19:18, 12 December 2014 (UTC)

It's not always that single word swap, players of the game have tried whatever change occured to them, and it varies which article they try to fix - the Truth article actually gives a very grumpy edit notice when you click "edit". Perhaps we need a more sympathetic edit notice ("if the Philosophy Game is broken right now, click here to discuss it") applied across a few endgame articles.
I'd guess that "facts" is listed before "information" because it's a neater progression of explanation - "statements which are true, but also the wider category of raw data" rather than "raw data, and its subset of true statements". But the whole sentence ("Knowledge is an (A, B or C) of a (D or (E, such as F, G or H,)) which is acquired through (I or J) by (K, L or M)") does seem a bit overwrought and could probably use a rewrite. --McGeddon (talk) 20:02, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Thank you for the clarification! You make excellent points. I am very much fond of a friendly edit notice, but even more so keeping awareness linked. Then we have the progression we want, and the game can be played. We're not going against WP:MOS, at least to a drastic extent. And best of all, anyone can still edit the article. No need for semi or pending changes protection. I'll draft an edit notice and share it for everyone here. — MusikAnimal talk 20:19, 12 December 2014 (UTC)
Another solution is to agree a new opening which misses the list all together. Normal definitions would include both knowledge through reflection as well as knowledge through experience. There are plenty of third party sources with better definitions ----Snowded TALK 18:59, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
@Snowded: I'm not sure if I follow. What was wrong with linking awareness? Remember the goal is to allow this silly game to be played so we don't have to put up with more disruption – but without a cost to the article's integrity. One little link doesn't seem to matter much, at least considering the amount of disruption it will prevent. — MusikAnimal talk 19:06, 15 December 2014 (UTC)
The point about a link is that it adds meaning. The article concerned is not really awareness in the sense that it is used here (or would need a lot more explanation). At the moment the term in ordinary language use is, in my option, enough and excessive linking is discouraged but MOS ----Snowded TALK 04:48, 16 December 2014 (UTC)
I'm with Snowded on this one. I'm also in favour of an edit notice, though perhaps not as "grumpy" as the one existing on Truth. I don't think it makes sense to threaten editors with a block and I believe it's sufficient to say "please don't" and "it will be reverted quickly". Pichpich (talk) 21:47, 17 December 2014 (UTC)
I just took a look at Truth's edit notice. I quite like it and believe it would be a welcome addition.--☾Loriendrew☽ (talk) 00:32, 18 December 2014 (UTC)

Proposed edit notice[edit]

The edit notice (Template:Editnotices/Page/Knowledge) can only be created by an admin or a template editor. Nevertheless, I propose the following (less grumpy but hopefully effective):


| id = faqedn

| header = "Philosophy" game editing

| headerstyle = font-size: 120%;

| textstyle = background-color: #fee;

| text = Please note that altering the order of wikilinks or otherwise editing the lead of the article for the sole purpose of playing the Get to philosophy game is considered disruptive. These edits will be quickly reverted.

}} — Preceding unsigned comment added by Pichpich (talkcontribs)

Yes check.svg DoneMusikAnimal talk 23:37, 30 December 2014 (UTC)

Classical definition of knowledge[edit]

The article states: "Plato famously defined knowledge as ´justified true belief.´" No citation is given, however. While this definition (known as the classical definition of knowledge) is commonly attributed to Plato, it is unclear wheather he actually ever presented or subscribed to such a definition. The exact formulation commonly used is not found in either the Theatetus or the Republic, nor in any other known work of Plato. Historians of philosophy usually take the closest assimile to the classical definition to be Theatetus 201c: "...knowledge was true opinion accompanied by reason". It is not established that Plato means to accept this as a definition of knowledge.

I suggest that the reference to Plato be removed or else that at least the relevant section of Theatetus be cited. Reference to Plato could be removed by simply saying that the definition in question is the classical definition (instead of claiming that it is the definition given by Plato). If deemed important, it can be stated that this definition is commonly attributed to Plato (some citation would be needed then to credit the the statement that this practice is indeed common).

I will not edit the page, but I strongly suggest that some editing be done. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:19, 17 January 2015 (UTC)

I would have thought there were more than enough third party sources that attribute that to the justification dialogues of Socrates in Theatetus for us to be comfortable with it. ----Snowded TALK 18:22, 17 January 2015 (UTC)