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Theories of Knowlege

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Theories of knowledge

Epistemology or theory of knowledge is the branch of Western philosophy that studies the nature and scope of knowledge. But how much and what do we really know?
The debate in this field has been on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to similar notions such as truth, belief, and justification. The ability to store and retrieve information provides individuals with the ability to form logical thought, express emotions and adapt to the world around them. In order to understand the theories of knowledge it is necessary to investigate the aspects of the theories.
The neural network model attempts to explain that which is known about the retention and retrieval of knowledge. Neural network models have been examined for a number of years. While in the mid 1940's the first of the network model appeared, the publications introduced the first models of as computing machines, the basic model of a self-organizing network (Arbib, 1995). Martindlae (1991) states that "The brain does not have anything we could really call a central processing unit, and the brain does not work in a serial fashion. The brain is therefore more like a large number of very slow computers all operating at the same time and each dedicated to a fairly specific task" (p. 10).
The more modern is the dual coding approach, which believes that knowledge is a series of complex associative networks. Within these networks there are imagined (visual) and verbal representations. These two representations are what facilitate the recovery and storage of knowledge (Paivio, 1986). Allan Paivio is the researcher in the area of verbal and nonverbal representations during the 1960's. In 1971 Allan Paivio presented his innovative paper:” Imagery and Verbal Processes”. Because of this paper the concept of a dual coding process was born. This method gives an explanation on how we are able to store and retrieve knowledge. As well as see how internal networks are capable of logging and retrieving information both nonverbally and verbally.
Allan Paivio (1986) stated: "The theory is based on the general view that cognition consists of the activity of symbolic representational systems that are specialized for dealing with environmental information in a manner that serves functional or adaptive behavioral goals. This view implies that representational systems must incorporate perceptual, affective, and behavioral knowledge. Human cognition is unique in that it has become specialized for dealing simultaneously with language and with nonverbal objects and events. Moreover, the language system is peculiar in that it deals directly with linguistic input and output (in the form of speech or writing) while at the same time serving a symbolic function with respect to nonverbal objects, events, and behaviors. Any representational theory must accommodate this functional duality" (p. 53). When dealing with this theory we need to remember that we are dealing with two subsystems that are divided into sensorimotor subsystems, such as visual, auditory, haptic,taste and smell( Paivio, 1986). The two systems are capable of working independently but they are also able to work together through interconnections. This interconnection is known as a “referential connection” which has the ability for one system (either verbal or nonverbal) to induce the other.
Both theories have a number of similarities and differences. The dual coding theory has two subsets, the verbal and the visual. The neural network theory has numerous amounts of nodes grouped into many different sets. While the two theories may differ on the internal representations of the storage of knowledge, both have similar beliefs: knowledge is taken in, it is stored, there are connections between the stored groups of knowledge and there is a retrieval process.
These theories might seem complicated to a normal person are very important to psychologists. The process helps to determine why and how humans: act, react, develop, make decisions, etc. With that knowledge a psychiatrist has a better understanding of what his client’s thought processes is.
We also have read about Plato’s theory of knowledge. Plato is very different than other scientists and he presents his theory tree different approaches: 1) “Allegory of The Cave”, 2) metaphor of the” Divided Line” and 3) doctrine “The Forms”. Each of his theories is interconnected so one would not make sense without the other.
“The Cave”, describes a vision of shackled prisoners seated in a dark cave facing the wall. They are chained from their necks and the prisoners can only look forward they cannot see what is behind them. Thus they see only shadows. These shadows are other men, walking in front of a fire but behind the prisoners. Plato states that for the prisoners, reality is only the mere shadows thrown onto the wall. Plato states that: “The conversion of the soul is not to put the power of sight in the soul’s eye, which already has it, but to insure that, insisted of looking in the wrong direction it is turned the way it ought to be.”(Plato). Plato believed there was a “True Idea of Justice” and wanted to clearly demonstrate that in “The Cave”.
His “Divided Line” visualizes the levels of knowledge. Plato stated there were four stages of knowledge development: Imagining, Belief, Thinking, and Perfect Intelligence. He summarized the Divided Line as “Now you may take a corresponding to the four sections, these four states of mind, intelligence for the highest, thinking for the second, and belief for the third and for the last imagining. These you may arrange in terms as the terms in a proportion, assigning to each a degree of clearness and certainty corresponding to the measure in which their object pose a reality” (Plato).
“The Forms “don’t really exist but Plato said that: “The Forms are the cause of the essence of all other things, and the One is the cause of the Forms”. Plato said that “Forms” are related to things in three ways: cause, participation and imitation and he added: “We can have discourse only through the weaving together of Forms”. What he meant by that is that all significant things use Forms. He believed there were three ways to discover Forms, through: recollection, dialectic and desire. Recollection is when our mind remembers the Forms from prior existence, dialectic is when people discuss and explore the Forms together and last, the desire for knowledge.
I feel like all three theories are related to knowledge. The Cave shows us to move from the dark to the light, we can see how the lack of knowledge can affect our minds. The Divine Line took us from the ignorance of “Imagining” to being educated and having the “Perfect Intelligence”. The Forms shows that we have to believe even if we are unable to see. If you have knowledge you can do anything!

References

Arbib, M. (1995). The hand book of brain theories and neural networks.Cambridge, MA: MIT press. Martindale, C. (1991). Cognitive psychology a neural-network approach. Belmont,CA: Brooks/Cole. Paivio, A. (1986). Mental representations a dual coding approach. New York: Oxford University Press. http://www.plosin.com/work/PlatoLine.html http://www.philosophicalsociety.com/Archives/Plato%20And%20The%20Theory%20Of%20Forms.htm#I. Theory of Forms

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