Talk:Methods of obtaining knowledge

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Order of list[edit]

OK. How should the list be ordered? Since Wikipedia is supposed to be NPOV, I think a better reason than feeling insulted is needed; otherwise, it would seem to be just as reasonable to see this positioning as an insult to people of religious faith. To avoid a revert war, could we agree that a better way of explaining the position of revelation in the list would be that it is used only by a subset of people.

I also wonder whether reason or logic should be moved lower, since (by the explanation on the page) it depends on the other sources of knowledge. I'm not sure where on the list is best for it...I can see an argument for it being last, because all of the other sources can be used as the base for the logic...but I don't really think it needs to be that low.

In short this comes to: how do we order all the list (not just revelation) in a neutral way? - Cafemusique 11:11, 16 Oct 2004 (UTC)

About to your first paragraph: I agree with you; revelation is a correct way to obtain knowledge only "according to some people"; and in fact that's what I added. And since it's not the main way for most people and is completely wrong for many, I felt it didn't belong to the top of the list, so I moved down.

About your second paragraph: yes, reason or logic could be moved lower because it's possible only if some knowledge has been obtained first by other methods. It makes sense. We both feel it shouldn't be at the bottom, however. I would suggest second place, before modelling (which maybe comes right after logic and deduction in a temporal scale).

If the wording in my comment was too strong I apologize; however I should highlight that I still endorse the substance of what I said. Thanks, --positron 11:59, 2004 Oct 16 (UTC)

Logic and mathematics do not always require any knowledge to be acquired from other sources. For example, the rules of arithmetic or syllogisms can be deduced without any reference to the real world. - Kappa 12:07, 16 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Right, not always even if probably quite next to always; I guess that the first person to think of, say, subtraction in arithmetics and syllogism in logic deduced from practical cases: if I have three apples and I eat one I am left with two. If all men are mortals and Socrates is a man then Socrates is a mortal... I guess that those element of knowledge were obtained by generalization, recognizing some pattern which also occours in different cases; a form of reasoning based on previously gained knowledge, in my opinion. --positron 12:21, 2004 Oct 16 (UTC)

I think that, as a general rule, the use of logic and reason requires knowledge from other sources. The main exception would be knowledge about logic, reason, and theory. - Cafemusique 12:30, 16 Oct 2004 (UTC)


Isn't emotion another way of obtaining knowledge? For instance, you know that you love your daughter because of the emotions she causes you to have (i.e. you feel anger when she messes up, you feeling happy when she succeeds, you feeling sad (and maybe even mad) when something bad happens to her, etc.). So shouldn't emotion be added to this page as a Method of obtaining knowledge?--SurrealWarrior 22:06, 21 February 2007 (UTC)

About the ways of obtaining knowledge[edit]

When I was studying argumentation over 2 decades ago there were either 4 or 5 basic ways of knowing, depending on the source. They were observation, reasoning, authority, and intuition according to all reputable sources I studied; with the debatable fifth one being divine revelation. In the article, testimony (with authority as a subset) versus authority as a top-level way is touted as one of the main ways. That makes sense to me, for what that's worth, since not all credible witnesses have to be authorities. Basically, though, I thought that it was important to the article that someone mention that intuition is one of the traditional ways of knowing.PMELD5 (talk) 03:25, 4 February 2008 (UTC)


The only reference in this article is another encyclopedia and a defunct at that. It should be removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:01, 10 September 2014 (UTC)