Knowledge (from Middle English knowlechen, to acknowledge) is "what exists when a person knows something. This is known through experience or association" and "acquaintance with or understanding of a science, art, or technique." Another definition of note is "the circumstance or condition of apprehending truth or fact through reasoning." It is compared with synonyms "learning", "erudition," and "scholarship" as applying to "facts or ideas acquired by study, investigation, observation, or experience."[1][2]

Liberapedia provides a record of a small part of human knowledge. A lack of knowledge is known as ignorance. Conservapedia provides an excellent record of human ignorance, and, despite its ironic name, so does A Storehouse of Knowledge.

Omniscience is the state of knowing everything.

Philosophy of knowledge

The study of knowledge is known as epistemology. As it pertains to knowledge, epistemology is concerned with the sources and limitations of knowledge. Epistemology is also the study of justification for beliefs. Evidentialism is a philosophy asserting that whether or not a belief is justified is dependent upon the evidence supporting it.

Empiricism, the fundamental philosophy behind science, holds that knowledge can only be gained by use of the senses. Rationalism is a philosophy of understanding the world based on reason and logic that relies partly on a priori truths, innate knowledge, and intuition but empiricism can be applied as well. As a philosophy, skepticism is a methodology based on the assumption of doubt, and it is a part of the scientific method.

Christian apologetics is a philosophy that attempts a systematic and rational defense of Christian beliefs, primarily the existence of God. Many of its arguments employ logical fallacies or wrong assumptions. Some redefine reason and change the nature of knowledge itself.

Kinds of knowledge

Common knowledge

Common knowledge is that which is known among members of a group to be mutually known by all members. Note that it is not sufficient to be merely mutually known, but it must be known to be mutually known. Common knowledge becomes significant in social interactions and despite its rather obvious nature was not articulated as a phenomenon until the 20th Century.

Scientific knowledge

Scientific knowledge is that which is accepted by the scientific community as having been acquired through use of the scientific method. The system of acquiring knowledge through use of the scientific method is called science. Science has allowed us to create technology that makes life easier. However, there are obviously still gaps in our ability to explain natural phenomena scientifically. God of the gaps describes the unnecessary use of God as the cause for phenomena that scientific knowledge has not yet explained.

Sources of knowledge

Sources are dictated by the philosophy used and the kind of knowledge desired. The Bible is not a good source of scientific knowledge, for example. Much scientific knowledge is, however, gained through experience. This includes perception, especially through experimentation and observation, memory of past experience, and, to acquire self-knowledge, introspection.

Another significant source of scientific knowledge is reason, which uses logic and, to some degree, intuition. Inductive reasoning, emphasized by modern science, starts with effects and infers causes. Deductive reasoning starts with assumptions and derives outcomes.

Sources of non-scientific "knowledge" include revelation, meditation, and esoteric or secret knowledge. According to one myth, knowledge can be gotten by eating an apple from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.


  1. "knowledge" Merriam-Webster OnLine Dictionary. 2010.
  2. "Definition of knowledge in English"Oxford English Dictionary

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