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 Definition On one common account by philosophers, justified, true belief; often used in a looser way by everyone else to mean any truth or belief, and also a whole body of truth or a whole system of belief. [d] [e]

Copyright license

By this document I confirm that I know that my article entitled 
"Place of science in the human knowledge"
currently posted at
is used in the derivative works
"Knowledge" posted at
"Structure of knowledge" posted at
and I allow the free use and modification while the origiunal source and the authorship are attributed.
2010 July 1, Dmirtrii Kouznetsov.

Karl Popper - related?

Not sure about Karl Popper being related to knowledge. As philosophers go, there are others who have a more direct knowledge to the concept of knowledge than Popper. –Tom Morris 12:37, 27 August 2010 (UTC)

I don't see the need for most of the material added by Dimitrii Kouznetsov

  • I deleted most of the section on religion because it was nothing more than a highly un-neutral rant against religion and against Russian and Chinese Communism. As for the part that I did not delete, I strongly question whether it is relevant to the intent of this article, namely explaining what is meant by the word "knowledge".
  • Do we need the section entitled "Sciences" ? I don't think so. I don't see how that section is relevant to explaining what is meant by the word knowledge. We have the Scientific method article, which is an approved article that covers the same ground much, much more thoroughly. Personally, I think that section should be completely deleted.'
  • The section entitled "Science and society" gets involved with talking about research budgeting, bureaucratic corruption, bribery, and totalitarianism. What in the world has that got to do with explaining what is meant by the word "knowledge" ??? I think that section should also be deleted.
  • As for the section entitled "Objectivity", I agree with Tom Morris (see above). Who is Karl Popper and how or why are his ideas relevant or valid to this article meant to explain what is meant by "knowledge" ??
  • The section currently entitled "To be named" needs to be named.

Unless others voice strong objections in the next few days, I plan to delete all or almost all of what Dimitrii Kouznetsov added to this article. Milton Beychok 03:39, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

My posting just above is in my role as a CZ author only. It has nothing to do with my being an editor in the Engineering and Chemistry workgroups and it has nothing to do with my being a member of the Management Council. Milton Beychok 03:39, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Quick reaction: I agree that much of it should be deleted, but please hold your hand while I consider what should be retained. Nick Gardner 09:03, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Second take: I believe that the safest course would be to delete everything added by Dmitrii Kouznetsov, leaving only Larry Sanger's stub. (If anyone wants me to say why, I will explain). It may be that some of Dmitrii's drafting could usefully be retrieved for use in a rewrite, but I do not think that it would be sensible to attempt selective deleting.
Is anyone willing to do a rewrite? Nick Gardner 10:34, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I also think a great part of this article can just be deleted as it looks indeed like a personal analysis rather than an encyclopaedic article. However, couldn't a sentence like Generally, knowledge is the ability to generalize the experience in a compact form... just be re-formulated as something like: Another possible definition of knowledge is the ability to generalize the experience in a compact form.., etc., with indication of the sources where this definition comes from?
After all, though it is of course far-fetched to present this like an objective fact, it still doesn't look like utter nonsense. Stefan Olejniczak 13:28, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Agree with Nick. Not everything is nonsense, but large parts are a personal essay Gareth Leng 13:31, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
Okay, I will hold off and let others try re-writing it ... although I stlll believe Larry Singer's original stub was better than what we now have. Milton Beychok 14:54, 7 December 2010 (UTC)
I agree with you, Milton, and I am in favour of deleting all except Larry's stub immediately - in preparation for the addition to it of a rewrite in due course. The present draft does not do CZ credit. Nick Gardner 21:26, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

(unindent) As an Engineering editor, I am far from a philosophy expert. Since you are a philosophy author, why not just "be bold" and do it ... go completely back to Larry's original stub. As you say, the present article does not do us credit ... in fact, it discredits us. Milton Beychok 22:07, 7 December 2010 (UTC)

OK - If no-one objects I will try to do that - starting by deleting everything except Larry's stub . Nick Gardner 06:45, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
I started a new section, 'To know', and partially developed it. I'd like to keep it for further development, after which you all can decide on its merits/relevance. I believe 'to know' is more basic than knowledge', exploring its meaning will shed insight on the meaning of 'knowledge'. I will supply inline citation once I have a full draft of the section. Anthony.Sebastian 16:19, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
I may have misunderstood what is required here. If it is an essay on the semantics of the word knowledge that it is required, I will be content to stand back and leave it to others. What I had in mind was a concise and non-discursive outline of some of the better-known philosophical theories of knowledge - expanding briefly on Larry's stub and sticking closely to the writings of eminent academics.
I think a choice has to be made between those two approaches: I do not believe that they can be combined Nick Gardner 21:56, 8 December 2010 (UTC)
I have deleted all except Larry's stub and Anthony's "to know" paragraph. I won't do anything else until there is a response to the above (of 8 December) Nick Gardner 15:22, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
I think the focus of this article is well beyond the semantics of the concept (though that would probably merit a paragraph, perhaps in an "Etymology" section). Your second option fits with what I think is expected here. --Daniel Mietchen 15:57, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

language variant

The Metadata says it is AE and it starts out with " for quotes. Then uses ' for quotes. Hayford Peirce 16:15, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

The quotes should of course be consistent, but I'm not convinced by your theory, Hayford. In Britain in the 1950s I was taught to use " for quotes, and was not surprised about it, having seen them in Noddy books and in all my subsequent reading. It wasn't until the sixties that I came across ' for quotes. Ro Thorpe 19:14, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Ro, you may have found the subject for at least a Master's thesis, or even PhD! I don't have all that many early Brit books, but I've located a number of them and the evidence seems to back you up, but is still contradictory. Here we go in order:
Stop Press, by Michael Innis, hardback, Victor Gollanze, 1939, " " quotes
The Saint Goes West, by Leslie Charteris, hardback, Hodder and Stoughton, 1942, " " quotes
Meet the Tiger, by Leslie Charteris, hardback, Ward Lock, reprinted in 1952, " " quotes
The Long Goodbye, by Raymond Chandler, paperback, Penguin, reprinted in 1959, ' ' quotes
According to the Evidence, by Henry Cecil, paperback, Penguin, reprinted in 1963, ' ' quotes
Close of Play, by Simon Raven, paperback, Panther Books, reprinted in 1966, ' ' quotes
Friends in Low Places, by Simon Raven, paperback, Panther Books, 1967, " " quotes
I have a vague memory of being told by someone in publishing, or reading it, that maybe the Brits moved to ' ' quotes because so many US books were being brought in (their plates) and being reissued illegally with the original US text that the ' ' became standard in order to prove that the Brit books were original, or at least had been reset. Does that make sense? Hayford Peirce 20:07, 9 December 2010 (UTC)
Commendable research, Peirce. Indeed, that's entirely consistent & believable, is it not? I think I first noticed the ' quotes when I began reading Agatha Christie in British paperbacks, a variety of publishers, around 1961. Cf. The Long Goodbye above. Ro Thorpe 20:25, 9 December 2010 (UTC)

Classical semantic theories of knowledge

I agree with Nick and Daniel that this article needs to describe the major theories of knowledge put forward by semanticists.

It also needs, somewhere in the article, in my view, what the field of semantic primes, and the natural semantic metalanguage, reveals about the meaning of 'knowledge'. I'm working on the latter right now.

I would like also to work on the former, and to that end am reviewing the literature. But I'm only self-taught in linguistics, so hopefully others with formal education and research/teaching experience will beat this tyro to it. It would probably take me a few months if I were to write this article myself, and who knows whether it would have merit.

Where to put 'to know', or whether to include it at all, can be decided as the Main Article develops. Or I'm happy to take it into my sandbox and work on it there, if the linguistics Editors would like. Anthony.Sebastian 04:53, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Anthony: I have not suggested the inclusion of "major theories of knowledge put forward by semanticists" - because I am not aware of any! The only theories of knowledge that I am aware of are those that have been put forward by philosophers - and alluded to in Larry Sanger's original stub. To provide a flavour of the difference, I have drafted a sentence on scepticism. If you read that, I think you will agree that the two approaches are like oil and water - they won't mix. It is my contention that the philosophers' approach will be the more acceptable to readers - and more in line with what they would expect of an article on knowledge.
Would you agree to a brief reference to semantics in the main article linked to a more extensive treatment on a subpage? Nick Gardner 08:46, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Surely, Nick. You lead the way. Anthony.Sebastian 23:30, 10 December 2010 (UTC)


Anthony: I do not wish to accept your amendment to my draft sentence on scepticism. The elaboration that you introduce merely anticipates the text with which I had planned to follow it. In doing so, it destroys its clarity as an introductory statement. If I am to continue drafting this article - which is still an open question pending your reply to the above - I shall have to revert to the previous wording Nick Gardner 17:10, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

In any case, the only reason for the sentence was to draw attention to the extent of the difference between the philosophers' approach and the semanticists' approach - so it is of no importance at this stage. Nick Gardner 22:45, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Nick, I didn't get a chance to respond here before you set up the next section, Pause.
I had no problem with your 'scepticism' sentence. Not knowing where you were thinking of going next, I just wanted to move it along. I understand your reasoning.
Again, go ahead and lead the way; I'll try not to be too much of a pest.
I'm a little confused about philosophers theorizing about knowledge without deep exploration of the meaning of the word/concept. Saying knowledge is justified true belief defines it in terms more complex, an uphill move for such a deep exploration. Can't we also consider speaking of knowledge in more simple terms?


This has gone on long enough. To avoid further risks to CZ's image I have removed from view all but Larry's stub.

I have deleted my illustrative sentence on scepticism on the assumption that it has served its purpose.

I have not deleted Anthony's contribution - it remains as drafted on the edit version of the main page.

My intention in this has been to defer the need for futher action until there is a consensus about what is required.

Nick Gardner 22:25, 10 December 2010 (UTC)

Nick, I'm happy to follow your lede. I'm in the learning stage. Anthony.Sebastian 23:55, 10 December 2010 (UTC)
Thank you Anthony. I'll spend some time on research and then have a go. Nick Gardner 10:34, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
I can pitch in a little, too, but I'll wait to see how you develop the structure so that I don't throw everything off balance before it even gets started. Once things are underway, come remind me and I'll help out where I can. In the mean time, if you have access and the considerable resolve required to wade through it, Bourdieu has something to say from the sociological standpoint: -Joe Quick 15:14, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
Thank you Joe. I expect to need all the help I can get. I have a few unfinished topical articles to deal with, and then I'll make a start on a simple structure.
Sounds good. By the time you have the basic structure in place, I ought to be done with finals and will have some time to contribute. I have a habit of forgetting about these promises, so make sure to drop me a note if I don't jump in once things are in getting in order. --Joe Quick 23:02, 11 December 2010 (UTC)
Will do. Nick Gardner 08:13, 12 December 2010 (UTC)

Nothing further needed?

I have belatedly come to realise that what needs to be said on this subject has already been said in the article on epistemology - which was written by Larry Sanger with contributions by two others with academic qualifications in philosophy. Since epistemology is by definition the study of knowledge, to add anything to this article by others would be to run the danger of conflict with that article.

I have rearranged the existing stub to direct the reader's attention more immediately to the epistemology article. By placing the allusions to non-philosophical uses of the term at the foot of the stub I have facilitated the addition of links to contributions that other CZ authors may wish to add (eg on semantics). The stub can then serve as a gateway. I intend to augment the material on the related articles subpage to add to its usefulness in that rôle.

I might add that, although I had previously been willing to extend this article despite my lack of qualifications on the subject, I now believe that I must defer to the existing work of suitably-qualified authors - which in any case appear to be adequate.

Nick Gardner 10:29, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

I feel like there's more to say about knowledge than what epistemology as a sub-discipline of philosophy has to say. For example, Bourdieu, who I mentioned above, contributed to philosophical debates in epistemology but also has had a tremendous influence on sociological and anthropological understandings of how people come to have knowledge. I'd like to try to include some of these perspectives from other disciplines. I'm not going to do so right away, because I'm in the middle of reading for two other articles I want to get started, but I'll try to come back to this. I'd certainly appreciate help when the time comes and would encourage others to get started without me if they are interested. --Joe Quick 18:02, 8 January 2011 (UTC)