Development of the knowledge process

17.05.2020

Knowledge is a very broad concept, since it refers to everything that can be acquired regarding what reality is like and, in essence, everything is susceptible to being learned.

Although there are many things to learn and think about, every process in which new information is acquired has four parts, which are the elements of knowledge. Next we will see what they are and we will give examples of each one.

The main elements of knowledge

Before going further into its elements, it is necessary to comment a little on the idea of ​​knowledge, although its definition is somewhat complicated and depends on the philosophical perspective of each one. In fact, the philosophical branch that treats knowledge as an object of study and tries to give it definition is the Theory of Knowledge.

Broadly speaking, knowledge is a spontaneous and instinctive phenomenon, a mental, cultural and emotional process through which reality is reflected and reproduced in thought. This process starts from experiences, reasoning and learning, which can be captured with a greater or lesser degree of subjectivity by the subject who tries to assimilate them.

Regardless of the type of knowledge to be acquired, the following elements can be highlighted in any knowledge acquisition process: the subject, the object, the cognitive operation and mental thought or representation.

1. Subject

In every acquisition of knowledge there is a subject, that is, the person who captures information that constitutes reality, represented in the form of an object and, from it, carries out a cognitive operation to have an impression or thought about that object . In short, the subject is the one who knows new knowledge.

In a context of scientific research, the subjects who acquire new knowledge of the world are the scientists themselves. These researchers, through experiments and investigations, obtain results, which would be essentially the object of study. It is on the basis of these results that some conclusions are made, which help to configure science as we know it today.

Another, perhaps clearer, example would be imagining a biology class. In it, the cell is being taught as a didactic unit and the students who must assimilate the knowledge related to this topic are the students.

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2. Purpose

The object is what it is about knowing, be it a physical object, a person, an animal or an idea, or anything else that can be learned.

There is an interesting relationship between the subject, who learns, and the object, what is learned, since, when these two interact, they have very different effects on each other. While in most cases the object remains unchanged, the subject, by knowing this first, changes his internal world, since he acquires new knowledge.

However, it should be noted that there are certain exceptions. An example of this would be in many scientific investigations in which the participants, who would be the object of study, change their behavior when feeling watched by the researchers, who would be the subjects (not in the experimental sense) that acquire new knowledge.

It is here where we enter the idea of ​​objective knowledge and subjective knowledge, understanding this second as that knowledge acquired by the subject that differs from what the object of knowledge really is.

To understand it more clearly, regardless of what the object of knowledge is, the subject who tries to understand it may or may not grasp it in its entirety. The subjectivity of the subject is the abyss that exists between the knowledge that he has acquired and the real knowledge of the object. Really, reaching fully objective knowledge is very difficult.

Taking again the example of the biology class, the object as an element of knowledge would be the cell's own didactic unit and everything that is explained in it: parts, functions, cell types, cell reproduction ...

3. Cognitive operation

It is the act of knowing, a psychic processing that cannot be directly observed, necessary for the subject to know the object and have an impression of it.

It differs from thought in that cognitive operation is instantaneous, whereas thought, which would become the impression in the process of acquiring knowledge, lasts over time.

Although this operation is brief, the thought resulting from the action remains in the subject's knowledge for some time.

In the example of biology classes, cognitive operations would be the actions that students would take to assimilate the content, such as reading the textbook, listening and processing what the teacher explains.

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