Types of knowledge claimsThe Theory of Knowledge (TOK) is important as it challengesindividuals to have a critical reflection of the different areas of knowledgeand the broad ways of knowing. It increases individuals’ self-awareness forthem to think critically and observe the critical role that knowledge plays inthe society. The theory of knowledge helps us understand the complexity ofknowledge and hence the need to be responsible within the complex and highlyinterconnected world.
Hence, knowledge and the different ways of knowing arecentral to TOK. Knowledge may refer to the degree with which we know what weclaim to know. Given the complexity of knowledge, varied ways of knowing mayexist, hence different bases of knowledge. In any particular setting, it is highly important to increasinglyquestion the bases of knowledge. This is done through a critical examination ofthe knowledge claims that people make. In the context of the Theory ofKnowledge, a knowledge claim is anything that an individual may believe to betrue but may be open to a debate or discussion on its validity.
That is,knowledge claims involve an individual making a claim which he/she believes tobe true either with sufficient evidence or without sufficient evidence. In mostof the cases, individuals make knowledge claims as a way of rationalizing orjustifying their thoughts or beliefs. In other words, knowledge claims are usedas a way of defining thoughts or beliefs. The theory of knowledge teaches thatindividuals should be ready to test the validity of their knowledge claims. Thequestioning of knowledge for its validity involves the critical evaluation andexamination of our knowledge claims. In order to understand knowledge at workin different areas of the society, we should be able to understand thedifferent areas of knowledge as well as the strengths of the different ways ofknowing. This is possible through the critical evaluation and understanding ofvalidity of knowledge claims.Basically, there are two types of knowledgeclaims.
The first type of knowledge claims entails the claims about the world,made by individuals within a certain area of knowledge. The majorcharacteristic of this type of knowledge claims is that they reside within aspecific area of knowledge. These claims are also referred to as the first-handknowledge claims.
An example of the first-hand knowledge claim is “the set ofall prime numbers is infinite”. This claim is first-hand it can be attributed toa certain area of knowledge, that is, mathematics. There is also a mathematicalproof established to proof the validity of the claim. The second type ofknowledge claims entails claims about knowledge. The major characteristic ofthis type of claims is that the justification of the claim requires areflection of the nature of knowledge using the TOK tools.
Claims aboutknowledge are also referred to as the second-hand knowledge claims. An exampleof the second-hand knowledge claim is “based on the knowledge of the structureof chemical elements, as outlined in the methods of chemistry, the lightestelement is the hydrogen atom”. This is a claim about knowledge as it involvesthe knowledge in the field of chemistry. To establish the validity of the claim,we have to examine the methods of chemistry by the use of the TOK tools.
Personally, the type of knowledge claim that is best for me is thefirst-hand knowledge claim, that is, the claim about the world. This is becausethese claims are majorly based on the world and thus relatively easy to examinetheir validity. For example, the claim “mammals do not fly” is a first-handclaim. Although it might not necessarily be true, for example, bats fly and yetthey are mammals, it talks about creatures of the world and thus could easilybe examined for validity.
Most of the first-hand claims, especially inmathematics could also be easily verified through mathematical proofs. Whilethe second-hand claims are also important in the theory of knowledge, they aremajorly based on knowledge and could thus be prone to knowledge biases. Forexample, the claim “renaissance art is less meaningful compared to modern art”is a second-hand claim as it involves the knowledge of the meaningfulness ofModern and Renaissance art. To verify the validity of this claim, the knowledgein the field of art is required. This knowledge could be attained throughexperts’ opinions, textbooks, news media or cultural traditions which may bebiased. Hence, I would prefer the first-hand knowledge claim to the second-handknowledge claim.
In conclusion, knowledge claims are important aspects of the theoryof knowledge which need critical examination before one gains a deeperunderstanding of a certain field of knowledge. A mixture of content and detailis thus crucial for the full understanding of an area of knowledge. Of the twotypes of knowledge claims, the first-hand knowledge claims could be morereliable as they involve claims about the world which could easily be validated.Second-hand knowledge claims may be based on the knowledge or authority ofothers and could not be easily verifiable. In any case, critical thinking andunderstanding of knowledge claims are crucial towards the understanding of anyarea of knowledge.
ReferencesBastian, Sue. Theory of Knowledge., 2014. Print. Lehrer, Keith. Theory ofknowledge. Routledge, 2015.McCrickard, D S.
Making Claims:Knowledge Design, Capture, and Sharing in HCI. San Rafael, Calif. (1537Fourth Street, San Rafael, CA 94901 USA: Morgan & Claypool, 2012. Internetresource.