Ways of Knowing and Their Importance Essay

Experts such as athletes, musicians, actors, surgeons, etc. have obtained knowledge which is difficult to describe in words and by language. These other ways of knowing, like perception, reason, and emotion play more important roles than language in allowing these experts to perform in their respective fields by gaining knowledge which cannot be passed on by words through their senses, emotional inspiration, and reasoning.A way of knowing which is essential in these fields is perception, which allows experts to gain knowledge through the five senses, and learn by example, which in some fields such as music and sports it plays a bigger role than learning by language.

A possible explanation for this is observational learning. Observational learning, also called social learning theory, occurs when an observer’s behavior changes after viewing the behavior of a model (funderstanding). In other terms, this is referred to as perception.In reference to sports, one can say that every aspect of the game is learned visually, although minimal verbal instruction is given through coaching.

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In order to gain knowledge through visual perception there must be stimuli from electromagnetic waves between approximately 400 nm and 700 nm which reach the eyes and the retina and provide what we call sight (dombrowski). As an athlete, ones primary way of knowing is perception because words cannot properly instruct motions such as running, catching, jumping etc. one can only perform and perfect these movements through observation.

A primary example of this would be the sport of football.In football, one is required to make contact with other players in order to bring them down but to do this, one must learn proper technique which requires observation. After seeing the act being done, to master it one must practice it which requires the sense of touch. This applies to all learned skills for every sport. In the field of athletics, experts learn more through perception rather than language which implies that it plays a more important role. Another field in which perception is the primary way of knowing is music, which requires minimal to no language in order to learn.Many people claim to learn instruments such as the guitar and piano by ear, without any instruction. In order to do this, the person must use his or her sense of hearing, vision, and touch, although vision is not necessary.

In order to recognize and become familiar with sound, wave vibrations with a frequency between 20 and 20,000 hertz have to reach the ear to compose auditory perception (Dombrowski). In order to accomplish touch perception, changes in pressure and temperature have to come in contact with skin and nerve endings (dombrowski).Both of these aspects of perception put together allow a musician to gain knowledge without any use of language. This explains why musicians can be successful without knowing musical theory and use their talent based on perceptual learning alone. An example of this would be learning to play the guitar by ear.

One combines the pressure of pressing the frets and strumming the strings, and the vibrations of the strings being played to create sound, which combines the senses of touch and hearing to create perceptual knowledge.Ultimately, language is not needed when it comes to music; this allows perception to play a more important role. The arts are also another field in which language does not play as important of a role as perception does since painting, drawing, etc.

require the use of the senses rather than words. When one paints, no language is required to transmit a message, therefore not only creating the art but interpreting it requires only perception. The actual painting of the picture requires the senses of vision and touch while interpreting it requires only vision.One can gain knowledge through this by depicting things such as historical events, political opinion, and even scientific information through diagrams etc.

therefore, in some instances pictures and art replace the need for language in order for humans to gain knowledge. Experts such as scientists use reasoning rather than language to gain knowledge in their respective field of work, in order to determine complex problems and solve situations. An example of this would be a chemist studying the expansion of metals.

There are two types of reasoning, deductive and inductive.Suppose the chemist is using deductive reasoning, he would then reason this: all metals expand when heated. A is a metal, therefore A expands when heated. If he were to be using inductive reasoning he would state the following: Metal A expands when heated; metal B expands when heated; metal C expands when heated. Therefore all metals expand when heated (van de lagemaat). In the sciences, Biologists also use reasoning.

For example, a way in which they use deductive reasoning is by using syllogisms to classify animals.Such syllogisms would include examples such as: “all mammals produce milk for their young. Tigers produce milk for their young. Therefore tigers are mammals. Another field in which experts use reasoning almost all the time is mathematics. Mathematics is all about reasoning because every problem requires it.

An example of this would be the simple theorem that states: if A equals B and B equals C, then A is equal to C. Reasoning is a process that occurs in one’s mind, therefore no real use for language is needed.Although emotion cannot really be seen or described as a way of knowing, it plays an important role in attributing to the other three ways of knowing by providing a basis for our interpretations of what we learn and how we perceive things; it also provides motivation to express our knowledge. Using art as an example, ones feelings toward politics will influence the way one interprets or draws a political cartoon.

If one favors one party over the other, the affection and positive feelings toward the party will influence the way one views a certain cartoon positively or negatively, in other words one can find it clever or insulting.Emotions also account for inspiration in the arts in fields such as acting and music, but without language these emotions alone cannot be expressed because although one can act the action of crying, the reason for this emotion cannot be expressed without dialogue, and in music one cannot express feelings without lyrics. The reason why many claim that emotions on their own cannot account as a way of gaining knowledge is because emotions alone have no medium of expression without the other three ways of knowing.Therefore without language, emotions cannot be expressed and knowledge cannot be gained. In this case, language always plays a more important role than emotion in all fields.

Although most people would consider language the main way of gaining knowledge, certain fields and experts use other ways of knowing such as perception and reasoning to gain and pass on knowledge. Even though different fields hold different roles for the different ways of knowing, one thing is certain; to better understand something, one must put all four manners to work to fully master a subject.