Pérez-Montoro, Mario
 Incorporated contributions
R. Gejman (19/03/2009)
M. Pérez-Montoro (21/07/2009)
J.M. Díaz Nafría (20/07/2009)
Edición: 18/11/2009
 Usage domain
transdiscipinary, philosophy, epistemology, cognitive science, semantic
 German Erkenntniss, Wissen


1. Classical epistemologic model
2. Dretske's informational model
3. Floridi's semantic model 
4. Systemic model of the UTI
5. Conductual model
6. Knowledge and near concepts
a) Knowledge vs. information
b) Knowledge and mental states
c) Knowledge vs. experience, truth, belief and values

Throughout the history of thought countless words have been written concerning what knowledge is. There are innumerous proposals, from different philosophical precepts, that have attempted to answer this question. In this sense, if we review the literature on Cognitive Science and epistemology, we can figure out that there are several theoretical models that can meet the goal of offering an adequete definition of knowledge.

1. Classical epistemologic model

The proposal of classical epistemology advocates a definition of knowledge from the notions of belief, truth value and justification (or argument). In this sense, a person A knows that P if and only if it fulfills the following three conditions: (a) A believes that P, (b) P is true and (c) is justified in believing that P.

At the first glance, the classical epistemological proposal provides a solid base to approach the identification process and knowledge representation in the context of an organization. In this sense, in order to conclude that a person knows a concrete thing (has a concrete knowledge), we only have to verify that this person has a belief; the belief that coincides with this supposed knowledge we attribute to him, that what he thinks is true and that this person is justified in believing in it (that this attributed belief has to be reasoned, not arbitrary).

2. Dretske's informational model

Fred Dretske, the American philosopher, introduced Knowledge in informational terms in 1981. He provides, from his definition of informative content, a definition of knowledge in informative terms: K knows that s is F and only if K's belief that s is F is caused (or is causally sustained) by the information that s is F.

Within this definition must be understood the terms "belief caused by information" as that belief caused by the information contained in the fact that s is F.

In short, restoring the definition of informative content, so that K knows something, K should have information of that something with probability equal to 1, therefore, knowing that s is F requires not only certain information about s (an appropriate or sufficient quantity), but the information that s is F.

Two important theoretical benefits can be drawn from this Dreskian proposal on knowledge: 

The first of these benefits is found in the fact that this definition allows us to explain the possibility of transmission of knowledge: when a speaker K knows that s is F and, among other things, ii sincerely asserts that s is F, the listeners will come to know that s is F from what the speaker says (respecting the principle of the introduced copy in the previous section). This communicative fact is met, according to Drestkian definition of knowledge, if K knows that s is F from the information that s is F, and if the transmission of this information is done with an ambiguity equal to 0.

The second benefit is something beyond the possibility of transmission of knowledge. What this definition mainly pursues is to reach the goal of distancing from those clasical epistemological theories that had presented knowledge as a justified and true belief. Dretske replaces the necessity for the justification of belief with causality of information. He seeks, in making such a change, to overcome the problems usually presented by these classical theories (the paradoxes of Gettier and lottery), and also gets an adequate argument against the radical scepticism thesis.

Dretske defends himself from the thesis of radical skepticism (that supports the impossibility of knowledge) clearly distinguishing the conditions of an information source from what is called the conditions of an information channel. While a source generates information, the conditions of a channel, although it is crucial for the transmission of information, do not affect the information circulating within it. In this respect, the communication channel should be considered as a series of conditions which the sign depends on, that either does not generate (relevant) information, or only generates redundant information. In short, the channel offers no relevant alternatives to the source, and what makes an information channel to be ambiguous is its charateristics, not the suspicions that may or may not circulate information within it.

3. Floridi's semantic model

According to Floridi´s semantic approach (2005a, 2005b), knowledge is constituted in terms of justifiable semantic information, i.e. information constitutes the elements for further inquiry. At the same time, information is the result of a data modelling process. But unlike Dretske’s naturalistic assumption, this data modelling does not necessarily represent the intrinsic nature of the studied system, or it must not be directly related to the system by means of a causal chain; instead, it will depend on the processing of data by knowledge. In turn, data are conceived as the resources and restrictions allowing the construction of information. Therefore, it can be stated that Floridi proposes an architectural relationship between knowledge, information and data, being knowledge on the summit and data on the base. At the same time and as a result of such interrelationship, he replaces Dretske’s requirement of truth of (which is also subscribed by the situation theory) by a requirement of truthfulness, i.e. instead of searching for a correspondence between the statement and what the information is about, the attention is rather paid in the correspondence between what is reported and the informer.

4. Systemic model of the Unified Theory of Information (UTI)

From a detailed approach to system theory considering different self-organization levels (from self-restructuring to self-re-creation), knowledge is constituted in the →UTI by means of interpreting data (or meaning assignment) and is the basis for decision-making, which shapes “practical wisdom” (Hofkirchner 1999). 

UTI refers to different levels of information rather than dependency relationships, i.e. information is gradually processed: first, at the syntactic or structural level there is data, then at the semantic or state level there is knowledge, and, finally, at the pragmatic or behavioural level there is practical wisdom. The information processing is performed by means of interrelationship and reciprocal action between adjacent strata and not in terms of a casual progression (as in Dretske’s naturalism). In other terms, between micro- and macro-leves there are upwards- and down-wards causations (regarded as information processes) cooperating in the self-organizing processes.

5. Conductual model 

For example, it is argued that, relating to the conduct and actions of an agent, knowledge is the potential capacity that an actor poseses to act effectively. The effectiveness means to compare the behavior and potential outcomes with the objectives and values of both the actor and those of his community or the communities that he belongs to. 

Within this conceptual framework one argues that there are various types of knowledge. The first one is the knowledge of internal information. In this type of knowledge is the potential capacity of answering questions with correct answers; usually, the questions on real objectives, about the state of one part of the world in some time. For this kind of knowledge, it is a precondition that the actor answers without resorting to any external sources of information. Typically, any answers can be registered in records, which can be used by other actors. 

The second type of knowledge is knowledge of external information. This is like the previous one with the exception that in this case the access to other sources of information is permitted. 

In the third place, thinking is also a way of effective action. In this case, starting from available information, a process of creating new information takes place, which may become the answer to new questions or the spontaneous production of information by a thinking agent. 

Finally, there is a non-informative knowledge; the capacity of effective action is not related to information. It is something that one usually sees in artists and athletes. They can have a highly effective conduct most of the time, but they are unable to explain or articulate their knowledge on recorded information. 

6. Knowledge and near concepts 

a) Knowledge vs. information

From most points of view regarding information and knowledge, there are close relationships between these two concepts, especially as far as the common use of both terms is concerned. Usually, information occupies a lower position than knowledge, and the former –so to speak- ‘nourish’ the latter. However, this connection is disregarded in cases of a radical syntactic approach, in which the relationship question is avoided just addressing to the technical dimension (as in the MTC), or in a radical pragmatic approach in which only what-is-being-done is posed, that is, information is considered as a mere instrument of the action and, therefore, the problem of whether the information refers to states of affairs is ignored (either dealing with a correct apprehension or knowing that p is the case).

Although there have been throughout the history of thought countless approaches to knowledge concerning its definition, possibility, basis and modes, two fundamental models have prevailed: 1) the iconic model, according to which knowledge is an accurate picture (of mental nature) of the object of knowledge, and 2) the propositional model, whereby knowledge is a truthful proposition. In the iconic model, where perception and apprehension play a key role, the main problems lie in both the specification of the limits between object and subject, and the explanation of non-iconic knowledge (such as logical, mathematical and logical “truths”). However, in the propositional model, where scientific statements play an exemplary role, the unavoidable circle of the justification of knowledge becomes problematic (→Gödel´s incompleteness theorem). Nevertheless, whatever the model of representation, knowledge is distinguished from a true opinion, insofar as only the former knows how to justify itself (though its justification might be partial or problematic).

According to the above, the relationship between information and knowledge must evidently appear in all those informational approaches considering the semantic dimension, usually adopting a more analytic notion with respect to information, and a more synthetic one with respect to knowledge. Furthermore, a closer proximity to the object is used in information concerns, and to the subject in knowledge concerns.

For Dretske -as mentioned above-, "Knowledge is information-produced belief" (Dretske 1981, 91-92) and belief always relates to "a receiver's background knowledge" (pp. 80-81). From a naturalistic perspective, in which there is a casual dependence between the external conditions of a living being and and its internal states, information for Dretske creates experience (sensorial representations) and originates beliefs (cognitive experiences), which underlie the sedimentation of knowledge. 

b) Knowledge and mental states

We can agree, leaving aside the existing alternative definitions, that knowledge must be identified with a special kind of mental states (neuronal arrangements), presenting a set of particular characteristics, which an individual possesses. On the one hand, they are mental states achieved by the individual from a process of information assimilation or metabolism. This characteristic helps to distinguish those mental states of the subject corresponding to knowledge from those corresponding to mere beliefs, which do not reach the necessary epistemic level to be identified as knowledge.

In this sense, the semantic content of those mental states coincides with this assimilated information. And the mental states, conversely, act as a guide for actions and conduct of that individual; in other words, they control the decisions made by the subject. 

We can reflect this characterization in the following synthetic expresion: Knowledge = the mental states of an individual constructed from the assimilation of information, which steer the actions performed by the subject.

However, the characteristics of knowledge do not end here. We can elaborate a little more about this special kind of mental states. Knowledge, unlike data and information, is closely related to the actions and decisions of the subject, we can even evaluate this knowledge using as indicators such actions and decisions. Moreover, knowledge is the critical factor that permits the holder to assimilate new information -therefore, the creation of new knowledge-; and often it is continuously restructured by the entries of new assimilated information.

c) Knowledge vs. experience, truth, belief and values 

Nonetheless, it is not sufficient to provide a definition of knowledge and explain it with a couple of examples to have a better understaning of it. It is also necessary to deal with a number of related and interrelated concepts.

In this vein, we should not forget a concept very close  to knowledge, and which partly allows its acquisition: experience. Experience can be defined as the set of living-experiences that each individual has been through. And as such, it makes possible the creation of new knowledge through enabling the understanding of new situations from others that have been experienced, and to find new answers allowing us to adapt to new scenarios.

We should neither forget the concept of truth. As it has been defended since Classical Greece, knowledge (or at least a special type of knowledge, as we wil see) implies truth: if A (an individual) knows P, then it is true that P. If anyone knows that the water molecule consists of two hydrogen and one oxygen atoms, then it is true that this molecule presents the arrangement of atoms. And it is knowledge and its arising actions that have to be in tune with what really happens. Reality deals with refining and improving knowledge, rejecting and cleaning our heads from this supposed knowledge (pseudo-knowledge) that does not work and is not attuned.

Another closely related concept is belief, understood as the mental state that an individual possesses. Because knowledge (or at least one type of knowledge), besides truth, implies judgement or belief: in order that someone knows P, this someone has to believe that P. That is, knowledge must maintain a commitment to the truth of P. If someone knows that the water molecule consists of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, then that someone must believe that this molecule presents the arrangement of atoms.

And finally, when we are talking about knowledge, we can not avoid the realm of values. Values determine the background that governs our actions and therefore our way of knowing and our knowledge. 

  • Dretske, Fred I. (1981). Knowledge and the Flow of Information. Cambridge: The MIT Press/Bradford. Books. 
  • Floridi, Luciano (2005a). Is Semantic Information Meaningful Data? in Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 70(2), 351-370.
  • — (2005b). Semantic Conceptions of Information. In E. N. Zahlta (ed.) Stanford Encyclopedia of Philisophy. Stanford: The Metaphysics Research Lab. [Online] <> [accessed: 12/11/09]
  • Gettier, Edmund (1983). “Is Justified True Belief Knowledge?”. Analysis , vol. 23, págs. 121-123. 
  • Hofkirchner, Wolfgang (1999). Towards a Unified Theory of Information. The Merging of Second-Order Cybernetics and Semiotics into a Single and Comprehensive Information Science. In: 15e Congrès International de Cybernétique, Namur 1998, Namur, pp. 175-180.
  • Pérez-Montoro Gutiérrez, Mario (2007). The Phenomenon of Information. Lanham (Maryland): Scarecrow Press. 
  • Pérez-Montoro Gutiérrez, Mario (2004d). “Identificación y representación del conocimiento organizacional: la propuesta epistemológica clásica”. [En línea]. Barcelona: IN3-UOC (Discussion Paper Series; DP04-01). 29 págs. <>. [Consulta: 20, septiembre, 2004]. 
  • Pérez-Montoro Gutiérrez, Mario (2001). “La información como fundamento cognitivo de una definición adecuada de conocimiento”. Extremeño Placer, Ana (ed.) (2001). La representación y organización del conocimiento: metodologías, modelos y aplicaciones. Alcalá de Henares, págs. 79-87. 
  • Pérez-Montoro Gutiérrez, Mario y Campos Havidich, Manuel (2002). Representación y procesamiento del conocimiento. Barcelona: EdiUOC. 
  • Sturgeon, S., Martin, G. G. F. y Crayling, A. C. (1998). “Epistemology”. En Crayling, A. C. (ed.) (1998) Philosophy 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Capítulo 1, págs. 7-26. 

How to cite this article:

Pérez-Montoro Gutiérrez, Mario (ed.), Díaz Nafría, José María; Gejman, Roberto y Golkhosravi, Mehrad (2010). “Knowledge”. Díaz Nafría, José María; Pérez-Montoro, Mario y Salto Alemany, Francisco (eds.) (2010).
 Glossary of concepts, metaphors, theories and problems concerning information. Leon: Universidad de León.
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Sachse, Carla (03. Jan 2021, within the course "A Journey through Philosophy and Information", facilitated by J.M. Diaz at HM)


(1) The comments of the facilitator will be edited using this style, brackets, 8 pt, color change. These will be introduced in between your own text to discuss and further co-elaborate the content. Whenever the authors consider to have addressed the issue, they can simply remove the comment
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The following article deals with the different factors that influence how we percieve and therefore interpret knowledge and how these factors can potentially distort our understanding of knowledge. The article will examine factors like experience, language, emotion and intuition. In the end, the article will examine to what extent it is necessary to have certain perspectives in order to aquire knowledge, adressing the areas of history, art and mathematics.

Knowledge and information

Firstly, one needs to examine the meaning of knowledge and the relation between information and knowledge. The Cambridge Dictionary defines knowledge as “the understanding of information about a subject that you get by experience or study, either known by one person or by people generally”1. Though, knowledge has a far broader meaning than this. 

In 1597, Sir Francis Bacon published his now widely-known phrase: Scientia potentia est meaning Knowledge is power. His important realization is of great importance as it recognizes how valuable information is when it turns into knowledge. 

Information could be defined as a set of data that has been modified, analyzed and structured in some way to become useful. Based on this definition of information, knowledge implies the theoretical or practical understanding of an entity. It is the fusion of information, emotion, experience and intuition and many other factors that will then lead to knowledge. We gather information and then we draw conclusions from what we believe is justified by evidence. So, in a way knowledge is something personal, that will always vary from person to person. Information is what is given to every one of us, but knowledge is what we make of it. 

What does it take to really know something? Is it enough just to believe something? According to Plato, knowledge is justified true belief. All of our actions are driven by knowledge and beliefs. A belief is a subjectively held view. We consider our beliefs to be true, and some of them may be but some of them are not. Based on Plato, knowledge seems to be more like a way of getting at the truth. Descartes’s view on knowledge and belief is similar. He concludes that a belief must be shown to be true or certain in order to be “justified” - certainty meaning beyond any rationally possible doubt. And so a method to aquire knowledge would be to try to doubt a belief - if it is rationally possible to doubt, it is not certain. 

Another interesting claim says: “The quality of knowledge is best measured by how many people accept it”2. It raises the question of whether the extent of unanimity is a dependable indicator of the quality of knowledge. That would mean that according to how many people agree with the given knowledge, makes the knowlegde more truthful and reliable.

How do we aquire knowledge?

The way we come to achieve knowledge about the world and the way we understand it will always depend on a lot of different factors. Through language, emotion, reason, intuition, imagination and various other sources. The knower will also interpret knowledge depending on factors like culture, time or place. So, one’s perspective and particular situation influences how one receives and understands any given knowledge. 

The way we achieve, understand and apply any given information shapes our view and perspective on the world. But this knowledge that we aquire might be distorted. Experience, language, emotion and intuition significantly influence how we receive and understand knowledge.

When we are aquiring knowledge, a person needs some kind of perspective, this is almost unavoidable.The given information needs to be integrated correctly in your general knowledge, this cannot be done without a perspective. In certain situations, we even have to consider looking at the situation from other perspectives and view points, instead of having one particular belief and view point on a topic. Having multiple perspectives allows us to influence the way we want to view and judge things and one can gather more information objectively.

We all come from different backgrounds, cultures, religions, environments, levels of education and a wide age range. The question of how we aquire knowledge is also answered by two dominant views in philosophy. Rationalism and empiricism. The rationalists, like Descartes and Kant “regard reason as the chief source and test of knowledge”.3 Rationalists tend to think more in terms of propositions, deriving truths from argument, and “building systems of logic that correspond to the order in nature”.4 Empiricists, like Locke and Hume, tend to argue that the most basic knowledge we achieve about the world comes from our senses, the direct observations that we make about the world. 


Already in the first line of Plato’s Meno, experience and knowledge are placed in contrast with each other. Socrates and Meno debate the process in which knowledge is acquired, examining whether understanding of knowledge is obtained through instruction, application, or natural causes. As mentioned before the Cambridge definition of knowledge is “the understanding of information about a subject that you get by experience or study”5. Here, it is implied that you need experience in order to understand information, so that it can become knowledge. So, knowledge emphasizes the aquisition of information. Experience, on the contrary, underlines the practice and implementation of knowledge over a longer period of time, in order to reinforce the understanding of subject.

Experience comes with time, exposure, and practice. It shapes our perspective on certain situations and topics. We learn from past experiences and thereby develop our knowledge, little by little we come to the understanding as to how to distinguish from right and wrong as we learn from our mistakes. This is important for the expansion of our general knowledge, to learn, to understand and to apply new information. This general knowledge is essential when you search for information, one needs to have a certain perspective, a certain belief about particular topics, in order to correctly classify new information and in order to apply it appropriately. So depending on personal experience, knowledge can be understood very differently varying from person to person.


Language is a strong contributor to our perceptions. It can have significant influences on the way we view the world, it can be a potent source of confusion and misunderstanding. Languages, cultures and traditions form your view on the world. It is a tool enabling us to communicate and describe our points of view on certain situations, but it can also influence how we perceive or understand information. Since all the different languages greatly vary from each other, we learn and understand differently and this causes each individual to view the world a little differently. 

In English for example, the modification of the pronoun to the possessor’s gender is assigned (her computer), whereas in French the modification of the pronoun to the gender of the thing possessed is assigned (son ordinateur). These distinct uses of possessive pronouns suggest particular conclusions and therefore influence how we perceive certain things. Sometimes, the same sentence, but in a different language, will not always indicate exactly the same thing. 

Culture and traditions and the habits we pick up from those around us, also shape the way we think and understand knowledge, as well as speaking more than one language, which has shown that it can change how your brain pulls information together, and because of that, it enables you to have more perspectives on a particular issue. 

Another example of possible confusion or different understanding of information, is the russian language. In Russian, there are multiple words for the different shades of blue. The fact that there is a word for light blue and another for dark blue can possibly cause russian speakers to discern the two as different colors.

As it is stated in the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, individual's thoughts and actions are determined by their individual language. The hypothesis is controversial but a weaker version of it is nowadays accepted by the linguists, which says that language somewhat shapes our thinking and behavior. There is also an academic consensus that the influence of language is not primarily caused by formal structures of a language but by cultural conventions and individual styles of use.

Therefore, language can be a potent source of various interpretations of information and therefore transforms into different kinds of knowledge, depending on the language the person speaks.


Relating to an article in glossarium BITri in the section of “Emotion”6, it is stated that emotion, information and knowledge cannot exist without one another. In order to express your emotions you have to have gathered information. The information is converted into knowledge and then emotions come into play. The individual then either expresses their emotions either in a positive or negative way which greatly depends on the relation the individual has with the information gathered and the knowledge that was gained.

Humans greatly differ from each other. The positive emotions one person might feel while doing a task can be something negative for another person. Emotions such as curiosity stimulate us to seek knowledge. Happiness, anger, frustration, joy and many other emotions motivate us to explore the world we live in. Considering art for example, can one truly appreciate the arts without emotion? Emotion, imagination and intuition help us to fully act upon a piece of art. They lie at the basis of empathy. It is almost impossible to understand what others feel without being able to rely on emotions.

Emotions can interfere with how we view the world and influence our judgement. Emotions, positive or negative, hinder us from considering other points of views. Our mood and emotions can lower our rationality in decision-making. Our state of emotion could therefore impact or even hinder our understanding of information and therefore influences us when we try to aquire knowledge. 


Intuition is defined “an immediate form of knowledge in which the knower is directly acquainted with the object of knowledge”7. Within the reasoning of Immanuel Kant, intuition is one of the most essential cognitive resources, identical to what might freely be called perception. 

Someones intuition also greatly influences how we understand information. Intuition is considered to be one of the most important and essential decision making tools. This process of quick decision making is controlled by our subconscious mind, our intuition in such situations, makes you see the situation as a whole, making it easier to judge and decide on something. This, at the same time, can hinder you from tolerating other possibilities or other view points. Your subconscience might have a tendancy to ignore all these possibilites and favor your intuition.

So are these factors that form our perspective and influence our understanding, necessary in order to aquire knowledge? 


When we are seeking for knowledge in history for example, we need to understand and know about the past events that have happened before in time, in order to understand history today. General historical facts about events that are taught in school for example won’t permit students to have a different perspective on these facts. One could say that objectivity is important when gaining knowledge in history. Without objectivity we wouldn’t get un unbiased report of past events. Historians try to interprete the past which may sometimes lead to filtered selection. 

Our point of view or our emotional background can help us to evaluate facts, to judge within our own scales of values how to integrate historical facts into our own knowledge. 


In art, as mentioned before, emotion, imagination and intuition help us to fully act upon a piece of art. They help us to consider possible intentions of the artist. The interpretation of an artwork is created by the personal knowledge of a person, because whatever type of art or art movement a piece of art represents, it always reflects some cultural background, therefore one might agree that the personal knowledge and perspective on the world plays a role when aquiring knowledge and in this case, in the perception and understanding of an artwork. 

Also, to be able to fully understand and perceive an artwork, the viewer must already have some previous knowledge and background based on “shared knowledge”. One might then argue that the interpretation of an artwork of an individual rather derives from a personal way of thinking and from the feelings that are created when observing the work of art. In most cases the way people regard and understand an artwork is not created through their shared knowledge, but rather through the feeling the viewer perceives. Artists want to convey feelings and emotions. On the other hand, it is also important to understand the concept and the story behind the artwork. Let’s take the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat for example. Basquiat created art that was being regarded primitve and childish in many viewers eyes. His style of painting was indeed for many very disturbing and not taken seriously. Though, his art was more than any childish doodles, Basquiat illustrated significant personal and cultural aspects by means of symbols and words in his art. He is visually depicting personal interests, cultural signifance and past experiences. Someone, without any knowledge in art, without any perspective, will see Basquiat’s art differently than someone who is educated in art and who will understand what these symbols and words mean and they will understand the story that is hidden behind this “primitive and childish art“.


When looking at mathematics, we can see that a perspective is not quite essential when seeking for knowledge, as gaining knowledge in mathematics usually is an objective act, at least in learning mathematics in school. Though, the perspective might potentially be essential for mathematicians or scientists, because their perspective will help them to initiate new ideas in their research. In this case, having a perspective is quite essential, because background knowledge in mathematics is needed. Especially scientists need to have a perspective and knowledge about what the generations before them have established in order to apply this information to new research. For example, scientists that try to find and coin the right medicine and treatment for cancer, they inevitably need a perspective, a perspective about what they know about treatments that have been established before them, in order to judge correctly if their method of treatment is good. One needs to have a perspective of what was wrong and right in earlier research, in order to apply that in new research. 

When you grow up, you keep learning, you gain knowledge, though knowledge that is always understood differently depending on a lot of different factors and depending on what kind of knowledge you have gained before in life. A person will always look for knowledge regarding to their points of view. The search for knowledge is conducted in the context of the person’s way of thinking and regarding to past experiences and knowledge that a person has gathered before in life.

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5 Cambridge Dictionary. (2020b, December 30). knowledge definition: 1. understanding of or information about a subject that you get by experience or study, either…. Learn more. 

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Cambridge Dictionary. (2020, December 30). knowledge definition: 1. understanding of or information about a subject that you get by experience or study, either…. Learn more.

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MacFarlane. (2013). Information, Knowledge & Intelligence | Issue 98. Philosophy Now. 

Messerly, J. (2019, October 29). Belief and Knowledge. Reason and Meaning.

Descartes. (n.d.). People.Loyno.Edu.

Markie, Peter, "Rationalism vs. Empiricism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), 

UK Essays. (2020, February 8). Factors Affecting Quality and Acceptance of Knowledge. UKEssays.Com. 

Giang, V. (2018, June 28). How language shapes our perception of reality. Fast Company.

Nonjudgmentally and Cognitive Therapy. (1993). The Gilford Press.

Boroditsky. (2009, November 6). HOW DOES OUR LANGUAGE SHAPE THE WAY WE THINK? | Edge. 

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Incorporated entries

Whenever an entry is integrated in the article (left column) the corresponding entry is reflected in this section. Since, through the editorial process, it is intended to reduce redundancies, the entry proposed by an author and the corresponding part of the article may differ.

J.M. Díaz Nafría (20/07/2009)
[This entry is also provided in the spanish version]
From the most viewpoints regarding information and knowledge, the relationships between these two concepts are close, especially as far as the common use of both terms is concerned. As a rule, the position of information is lower than that of knowledge, with information somehow ‘nourishing’ knowledge. Nevertheless, this connection is ignored in cases of a syntactic radical vision, where the problem of the relationship is avoided to address only its technical dimension (as in the →MTC) from a radical pragmatic point of view in which only what-is-being-done is called into question, so that the information is considered as a mere instrument of the action and, therefore, the problem of whether the information refers to objects (be it in terms of whether we are dealing with a correct perception or if it is known that p be the case) is ignored.

Although conceptions of knowledge are and have been very different, such as for the opinions regarding its definition, possibility, basis or its modes, we can say that two fundamental models have prevailed: the iconic one, according to which knowledge is an accurate picture (of mental nature) of the object of knowledge, and the propositional model, whereby knowledge is a real proposition. The problems of the iconic model, where perception and apprehension play a key role, lies in the specification of the limits between object and subject, as well as in the explanation of non-iconic knowledge (such as logical, mathematical and relational “truths”). However, in the propositional model, where the scientific statement plays an exemplary role, the inevitable circle, which comprises the justification of knowledge, becomes problematic (→Gödel´s incompleteness theorem). But, whatever the model of representation, there would be a difference between knowledge and a true opinion, insofar as only that one knows how to justify himself (although its justification is only partial or problematic).
According to what is said, it is clear that in all those ideas on information in which semantic dimension is considered, its link with knowledge must appear. Normally, a more analytic concept for information is adopted and a more synthetic one for knowledge, as well as a bigger proximity to the object on the part of the information and to the subject on the part of knowledge.
For Dretske “knowledge is belief produced by information”, and belief always relates to a background of knowledge. From a natura-listic perspective, in which a casual depen-dence occurs among the internal states of a living being and external conditions, information for Dretske creates experience (sensory representations) and causes beliefs (cognitive experiences), which underlie the sedimentation of knowledge. 
According to Floridi´s semantic approach, knowledge is constituted in terms of justifiable semantic information, i.e. information constitutes the elements for further inquiry. In its turn, information is the result of a data modelling process, which –unlike the Dretske’s naturalistic assumption– does not necessarily represent the intrinsic nature of the studied system (or is not necessarily directly linked to it by a causal chain), instead, it will depend on the development of the data by knowledge. In turn, the data are conceived as resources and restrictions that allow for the construction of information. Therefore, one can say that Floridi proposes an architectural relationship between knowledge, information and data, where the first one is situated on the summit and the data on the base. At the same time, and as a result of this interrelationship, he replaces the requirement of truth of Dretske (who also endorses the situational semantic theory) by a requirement of truthfulness, so that instead of searching for a correspondence between the statement and the content of the information, a correspondence is rather being sought between what is reported and the informant.

In the →UTI, knowledge is constituted by means of interpreting the data (or assigning meaning), which, in turn, is the basis for decision-making that makes up “practical wisdom”. In this case, we are talking about different levels of information rather than a dependency relationship, so that information is gradually processed: first, at the syntactic or structural level, then at the semantic or state level, and, finally, at the pragmatic or behavioural level. The information processing is performed by means of interrelationship between the adjacent strata and not in terms of a casual progression (as in Dretske’s naturalism).

Gejman, R; Pérez-Montoro, M. 

[Initially written in Spanish, thus entered in the Spanish pago

Entries under work
Entries in which editors, authors and other contributors are working before presenting it as an article proposal or a modification of the current article.

Klemen Cesar (13.5.2018, within the course "Odyssey of Philosophy and Information", facilitated by J.M.Díaz at HM)

RETHINKING REALITY [why to self-restructuring? This part is more oriented to knowledge. This is actually a hot topic of philosophy of science and research methodology. The position you are adopting has been very deeply elaborated by Karl Popper and it's called falsificationism] 
"I beg you, reject antiquity, tradition, faith and authority! Let us begin anew by doubting everything we assume has been proven!" Giordano Bruno

One should never permanently accept what one knows as the ultimate truth, but rather temporarily as a best truth in a given moment. To believe in one truth only until one discovers a better one, not to forget the previous truths, but instead keep them in m ind as a part of a journey to the next best truth. Use one's knowledge to learn enough to prove ones teachings wrong and create better systems, theorie or practices.

It is stated in Science as Falsification (1963), that in order for a statement to be scientific, it has to be falsifiable. That means it has to be logically capable of being proven false. 
Karl Popper set the distinction betwen science and pseudo-sicence. Methods that only serve to confirm beliefs, are pseudo-science, and can be used to prove anything. It is easy to confirm any theory, if you are looking for confirmation. Instead, according to Popper, scientists should always strive to disprove theories. 
The only way of proving a theory true, is to try and repeatedly fail at proving it is false. There is always another way of proving a theory false. It may fail as all before, but still, there are other ways of proving it false. It is an endless sequence. It is possible to atempt and fail at proving a theory false n-times, but  there can allways be the n+1 atempt.
However, atempting to prove a theory true, we end up in the same situation. After proving it true n times, there is always atempt n+1, that may fail and prove the theory to be false.

In both cases, certanty of a theory is the mathematical limit of atempts of proving it. That means, we can only be very certain a theory is true or false.

In order to ensure complete certanty of a theory or statement, we can either:
  • Fail to prove it is false and succeed at proving it is true.
  • Fail to prove it is true and succeed at proving it is false.
Just failing to prove a statement is false, does not mean it is true. It only means that maybe it is not false.

  • Popper, K. (1963). Science as Falsification, [online] [accessed 25.5.2018]
  • Wikipedia contributors. (2018, May 25). Falsificationism. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 14:17, May 25, 2018, from  [accessed 25.5.2018]