The Basis of Knowledge
Copyright © 2005
Robert Howard Kroepel
20 South Shore Road
New Durham, New Hampshire, USA 03855-2107
What Is Knowledge?
Knowledge = True concepts and principles and practical techniques for using
those concepts and principles.
Concept = Mental representation/idea of a person or object whose identity
endures for a longer period of time than related events.
Example: People/Objects: A woman named Jane, a ball, and a man named Dick.
Principle = Mental representation/idea of an event, a relationship between
or among people and/or objects, esp. a causal relationship wherein people/objects
who/which are causes cause people/objects who/which are effects. I.e., a
principle is a description of causality.
Example: Event: Jane throws the ball to Dick. Jane is the cause of the
ball moving towards Dick.
A true concept accurately represents people/objects.
A false concept inaccurately represents people/objects.
A true principle accurately represents events/causality.
A false principle inaccurately represents events/causality.
Technique = Application of concepts/principles.
Example: Technique: To get the ball to Dick, Jane throws it in his direction.
Problem = Achieving a desire or avoiding a fear.
Desire = Wanting a person/object/event. [Evidence: The observation of a
person wanting another person/object/event approaching a desired person/object/event
or otherwise causing a desired event.]
Fear = Not-Wanting a person/object/event. [Evidence: The observation of
a person non-wanting a person/object/event avoiding a feared person/object/event
or otherwise not causing a feared event.]
A practical technique correctly applies relevant concepts and principles.
[Evidence of aPractical Technique: The observation of a technique/application
of concepts/principles which solves a problem of how to achieve a desire
or avoid a fear.]
Example: Practical Technique: To solve the roblem of getting a ball to
Dick, Jane throws the ball.
An impractical technique does not apply relevant concepts and principles,
and does not solve a problem of how to achieve a desire or avoid a fear.
[Evidence: The observation of a technique/aplication of concepts/principles
which does not solve a problem of how to achieve a desire or avoid a fear.]
Example: Impractical Technique: To solve the problem of getting a ball
to Dick, Jane gives the ball to her dog, Spot, who promptly displays behavior
indicating that he wants Jane to play with him by throwing the ball so he
can run after it and thereby catch it.
Knowledge = True concepts and principles and practical techniques for applying
the concepts/principles to solve problems.
How do we know we know?
When we have developed accurate/true concepts and principles inre observation
and information gathering--for gathering data--and practical techniques
for using those concepts and principles, we use our perceptual senses to
observe natural physical and psychological phenomena in other people as
well as in ourselves, and to check the conditions, causes and premises which
cause consequences, effects and conclusions in If P/Conditions/Causes/Premises,
Then Q/Consequences/Effects/Conclusions logical arguments which describe
causal sequences, i.e., to check the causality among the people/objects/events
comprised of matter/energy we observe; when we have verified the concepts
and principles and practical techniques, then we have knowledge.
Claims of knowledge can be set up as If P/Conditions/Causes/Premises, Then
Q/Consequences/Effects/Conclusions logical arguments.
In If P/Conditions/Causes/Premises, Then Q/Consequences/Effects/Conclusions
logical arguments ...
... P/Conditions function as causes and premises
... Q/Consequences function as effects and conclusions.
The If P/Conditions/Causes/Premises, Then Q/Consequences/Effects/Conclusion
logical argument describes the causality wherein the people/objects/events
who/which are the P/Conditions/Causes/Premises as causes cause as effects
the people/objects/events who/which are the Q/Consequences/Effects/Conclusion.
Example: If (P/Condition/Cause/Premise) this rock hits that window, Then
(Q/Consequence/Effect/Conclusion) that window will break.
Premise #1: If (P/Condition/Cause/Premise) this rock hits that window,
Then (Q/Consequence/Effect/Conclusion) that window will break.
Premise #2: (P/Condition/Cause/Premise) This rock hits that window.
Conclusion: (Q/Consequence/Effect/Conclusion) That window breaks.
If the P/Conditions/Causes/Premises are extended to all rocks of specific
characteristics of size, shape, and mass/weight and moving at a specific velocity
[speed + direction] inre a window, and to all windows of specific characteristics
of size, shape, and strength, etc., then, when the P/Conditions/Causes/Premises
are present, the Q/Consequence(s)/Effect(s)/Conclusion(s) has (have) to occur,
i.e., when the known and specified causes are present then the known and specified
effects must occur/happen, and no other possibility can result. When rocks
as specified in the P/Conditions/Causes/Premises strike windows as specified
in the P/Conditions/Causes/Premises, then the windows have to break as specified
in the Q/Consequences/Effects/Conclusions.
The If P/Conditions/Causes/Premises, Then Q/Consequences/Effects/Conclusions
logical arguments describe natural causal relationships which occur each and
every time the P/Conditions/Causes/Premises are present.
This is 100% accuracy in prediction. 100% predictability.
The ideal of philosophy and of science is 100% predictability.
100% predictability happens when If P/Conditions/Causes/Premises, Then
Q/Consequences/Effects/Conclusions logical arguments are properly specified.
When a Q/Consequence/Effect/Conclusion does not occur, this is data--a
symptom--which describes the fact that there is an obvious change in the
P/Conditions/Causes/Premises wherein either (A) the people/objects/events
who/which are the expected P/Conditions are not all present or (B) additional
people/objects/events are present and who/which cause variations in the causality
of the Q/Consequences.
If P/Conditions/Causes/Premises = A+B+C and cause Q/Consequence/Effect/Conclusion
X, then if/when P/Conditions/Causes/Premises A+B+C are present they cause
the Q/Consequence/Effect/Conclusion X.
A+B+C -> X
If nX, then nA+B+C
Either (A) nA+B+C = A+B (No C), nA+B+C = A+C (No B), or nA+B+C = B+C (No
A), or (B) nA+B+C = A+B+C+D + ... + ??? (Any other additional P/Conditions/Causes/Premises)
In thermodynamics, an isolated/closed matter/energy system is defined as
an m/e system to which m/e cannot be added (where would the additional m/e
come from?) or removed (where would the removed m/e go?).
The m/e of the universe is a closed m/e system because no m/e can be added
to it (where would the additional m/e come from?) and no m/e can be removed
from it (where would the removed m/e go?).
An If P/Conditions/Causes/Premises, Then Q/Consequences/Effects/Conclusion
logical argument functions as a description of a closed m/e system in which
when the P/Conditions/Causes/Premises are present then the Q/Consequence has
to be caused and is therefore the only natural result.
This description by If P/Conditions/Causes/Premises, Then Q/Consequences/Effects/Conclusion
logical argument of natural causal relationships gives us the basis of knowledge.
A properly specified If P/Conditions/Causes/Premises, Then Q/Consequences/Effects/Conclusion
logical argument gives us 100% predictability, and, therefore, knowledge.
If an If P/Conditions/Causes/Premises, Then Q/Consequences logical argument
fails to predict X, giving, instead, an nX result/effect, then we know that
the P/Conditions/Causes/Premises are faulty, by either (A) missing P/Conditions/Causes/Premises
or (B) additional P/Conditions/Causes/Premises.
Thus, the basis of knowledge is the discovery and description of the precise
and therefore specific P/Conditions/Causes/Premises which cause precise
and specific Q/Consequences/Effects/Conclusions with 100% predictability.