Ways of knowing as a conceptual lens for reading text

Read this essay on the themes present in Annie Dillard’s Pigrim at Tinker Creek. As you read, notice how the writer:

  • uses examples from the text in her essay
  • explains the examples
  • connects examples to the main idea of her essay

Bring your notes to class on 19 September for a discussion.

Leave a comment on September 16 by 9.00 pm: Of all the ways of knowing, which one do you trust most and why?

16 comments

  1. Of all the ways of knowing, I believe that reasoning is the most trustable way. There are many definitions of the term reason but we all use it when we make our own decisions. And most of the time we instinctively reason ourselves to make the best choice. For instance, if I wanted to know a cheap restaurant near my home, I would’ve the choices of walking into the street and actually search for the cheap restaurant or simply asking my friends to recommend me one restaurant. I would not choose the first choice because humans try to think logically and form the most efficient judgement. This is called reasoning. If we don’t justify our own actions, then we won’t be able to know the correct and appropriate information that we wanted.

  2. I think from the all the way of knowing I would, probably trust reasoning the most because, reasoning is most accurate and sensible than other ways of knowing. Other ways of knowing some time might not be correct for example for perceive. People all around the world has their own way of perceiving things which means we are actually getting a perspective of other people not knowing if it is correct or not. However , for reasoning it might not be always be correct but, It always tries to make the best sense and best at persuading us.

  3. There are many ways of knowing and understanding. In my opinion, i consider “reason” as the most trustworthy. Simply because reason is the most reasonable, it makes the most sense. Everything happens for a reason. Why did you do that? Why did i do this? All these questions has a reason behind them.You are not unreasonable if you think something is not true. Compared to the other ways like emotion, reason is logic, reason tells you the cause of the emotion. Without reason, there would be no justice, no government, the world would be chaos. Reason is the root of choice-making and reason makes people be open to changing their mind.

  4. Out of the four ways of knowing I believe that perception is the most important. Why I believe so is because how we perceive situations and types of communication (visuals, text, speech, sound, language, film, numbers, letters, symbols, colors, emotion, and body language) can dictate our actions. Perception is a powerful tool that can be changed, molded, delivered and is what we sometimes use to act on when making decisions. How we perceive things can alter our perspective. The way I perceive a situation or a type of communication would be different to how you would perceive the same situation or the same type of communication. Perception targets who we are and our past experiences; it forms what we see and what we label a situation or a type of communication as. Although the others are important, how we perceive a situation has an effect on the action that is carried through afterwards.

  5. This question, at first glance, would seem simple to answer for me (the answer being reason).
    And yet, there are things that seem to defy the laws of reason, so it isn’t that simple.
    I feel that there is no ‘best’ way of knowing; as for the way that i trust the most, I’d have to say reason.

    Reason allows one to work out the mechanics of a system in a way that other people can understand too.
    The clearest form of reasoning would be mathematics. No matter where you live, 1+1=2 is always true.
    This is a form of reasoning because you are saying that if you have 1 and add another 1 to it, it will be 2.

    I trust reasoning because it is, if i dare say, a constant. You should always be able to work out the mechanics of a
    logical system and no matter who you are, you should get the same as the person next to you and the stranger across you. Thus,
    reasoning is a constant because there is a solid, set solution.

    1. Things that seems to defy the laws of reason, example:
      Let x=y. Then

      x – y + y = y

      x – y + y y
      ———– = —
      x-y x-y

      y y
      1 + — = —
      x-y x-y

      1 = 0

      Is this reasonable?

  6. Of all the ways of knowing, I trust perception the most as I believe in what I see or feel. I feel like every category is in this category for example ‘reason’ as I see that this is correct I perceive it as that way. Science also work that way as when we prove something and think that this is correct everyone will perceive it that way. I do not believe in what I don’t see or wasn’t proven for example religion. You act according to what you perceive and based on the reason that you think is correct.

  7. There is a difference between a good TV show and a bad TV show. A bad TV show feed us information. A good TV show feed us information, and reward those who take their time carefully chewing. You can learn about everything, see everything, and feel everything, but all that information on everything is pointless if it didn’t do anything. That is why I believe in logic and reasoning. All that information sitting around can conflict each other, lying around in a mess of knowledge until someone comes along and use the voice of reason to clean it up and organize it. Gaining knowledge is not enough, one must use the power of logic to decide what is real, what is fake, and what can be broken down and reassembled to get new information. The only thing that cannot be proven wrong is a piece of actual fact, proven to death by more than sufficient evidence thanks to the power of logic and reasoning.

  8. Out of all possible ways of knowing, I do believe reasoning is the most trustable way of knowing. There are many different types of people in this world, therefore, there are vast amount of different ideas about certain things. For example, Hindus will never show disrespect to cows, however, other religions, in general, can eat the cows. The different ideas can create a disagreement between groups of people. However, reasoning is a stable fact through out the world. People cannot disagree with something that they have all agreed to be true. Once an idea is believed by every person on earth, there will be no disagreement about the topic

  9. To choose one of the four ways of knowing, personally I trust reasoning but perception as well. Between Perception and reasoning, I believe they are quite identical as well as quite reliable. Truthfully though, I prefer perception as a reliable source of knowing due to the fact that your perception will still remain true even in unfamiliar situations, unlike reasoning which everyone’s different. Through our sense perception, or “Instincts,” it makes varieties of forms in which we can “know,” such as if you were looking for a place in a foreign country or if you were judging if you should take the left or right lane in the lunch queue. Though reasoning is also a very reliable way of knowing, often our reasoning may not be logical or accurate to fit in the situation and you would need to have experience in the past to act upon a judgement. By using your perception on a situation, your information is delivered immediately and is usually straightforward or perhaps even simple, in which for me is the most reliable way of knowing.

  10. The way of knowing that I trust the most would probably be language because without it then there will not be perception, nor emotions and reasons. Language is a tool to communicate, to show and to expression oneself or ideas, which means that to be able to see the other ways of knowing such as, perceptions, emotions or reasons there must language. Language also makes it easier for us to understand the author and his or her intentions. To be able to express the other ways of knowing properly, like perception you need examples and language is what help you provide all of the examples. It is like a door to the ideas and concepts and understanding of the true meaning the author wanted to express to the readers. Even by telling you about my thoughts on the ways of knowing I am using language. It would be possible without language to make you understand me. That is why for me language is the way of knowing I trust most.

  11. Among the four ways of knowing, I have to say I trust reason the most. Other ways of knowing are also good, but I can see others ways are not quite stable. Perception can change as the time changed and experience gained. For example: I might think vegetables are some sort of monster when I was young, but as time changes I learn that it’s good for my health and I should love them. Emotions are changing all the time; it doesn’t need time to change. For example: I might wake up one day and feel like I don’t want to have breakfast, but I might wake up another day and feel like I will starve if I don’t have breakfast. Reason is the thing that barely changes because it’s formed up with facts, so it’s quite hard to change. This is the reason why I trust reason the most.

  12. Out of all the ways of knowing, for me the most trustable would be language. Because without language, their would be no perception, reasoning and emotion. I say this because where do you get your perception? Language. Where do you reach your reasoning? And also where do you get your emotion? From language. Language is a tool that can be used in many variety’s, such as literature, and communication. We are able to learn through these many ways to help us have a better understanding on certain topics, such as dystopian literature. In literature, without language, how would we know what the authors are trying to portray, their emotions, their perception, and their reasoning. This is why language is so important, because without it we would not be able to, for example, understand literature.

  13. I believe that every way/method of knowing contributes in ‘knowing’ in their own different and unique ways, but if I really were to choose the one way that I trust most, it would have to be “reason”. Reason is logical – it justifies and explains a person’s actions and makes us understand why the world works the way it does, and so on. Most important of all, it’s rational. If people defended their beliefs with “because I said so,” I’m quite certain it will do no good, because it will just do the opposite of what it’s intending to do – it will make the listener back away from the speaker’s idea even further because it hasn’t been explained with reason, but instead, forced upon with arrogance and authority. Not only so, reason has laws. It has boundaries that makes it trustable. For example, would you rather believe a physicist who has reasonings to why the Earth is round, or a fifth grader who says the Earth is flat because it just is? I believe it’s rather universal, considering how math or science is accepted all around the world. I think reason cleans up the mess of what-could-be-true and points out what-is-true, and its justifications help give people a common point of view on a topic, too.

    -Oum

  14. Of all the ways of knowing, I trust in reasoning and proven facts. The reason behind this is because this is what we “know” and currently “see”. What is created by other things when we know something are illusions. What we think of the things in our view, even if people say “Oh I did put other’s ideas into accounting for my statement”. It is still bias in a way of thought and concluding on what it actually is in YOUR mind. Not what actually is out there. But yes, true that in a way it is what we define knowing is, reasoning is the most accurate idea in our current society. We make connections through reasonings and justify what ideas come out in the conclusion. When making reasonings we put everything involved into our ideas where experience, judgement, comparisions and mostly logic connects and form a more solid and much more firm idea making it less bias and less blinded than most of the other ways.

  15. I often question religions, what are the evidences they have to justify what they’re teaching to the believers. Even though I’m a Buddhist, I only stay true to what makes sense to me. For example, I believe in their teaching that patience is a element required for achievements.. Like how religion can be uses to indoctrinate people, perception can means illusion, languages can excludes people, emotions can make people blind, and reasoning are sometimes misleaded. There is indeed no perfect way of knowing, but i personally trust reasoning. I feel that the outcome is accurate with on with enough evidences, and will minimizes how bias humans are. Reasoning lies within science and statistics, and they give a whole or a big part of a topic through experiments or cencus.

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