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- Henry David Thoreau
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"To know or not to know? That is the question."


There are five basic categories of knowledge, two of fundamental reliability, two of less reliability, and one of more tenuous reliability.

1) IntrinsicIntrinsic knowledge is a kind of "hard wired" or intuitive knowledge that can still be further developed as time goes on.  Intrinsic knowledge shows up in rationality and the application of logic, allows us to know how to learn.  Intrinsic knowledge is internal, and is the most reliable or trustworthy knowledge that we have.

2) Sensory  Sensory knowledge is simple perception which comes directly from the five senses that we don't normally question.  Sensory knowledge is personal, dependent upon intrinsic knowledge, and takes a minimum of interpretation.

3) EvidentialEvidential knowledge is composed of personally experienced evidence which implies conclusions reached beyond a reasonable doubt.  With this type of knowledge we sense or address the evidence directly but not the thing itself, and this knowledge is less reliable than that based on experience because it overwhelmingly relies upon interpretation. Evidential knowledge has an external source, and is significantly less reliable than intrinsic or sensory knowledge.

4) ExperientialExperiential knowledge is composed of perhaps prolonged personal life experiences that have come in a series of learning situations.  It is always a personal mix of beliefs and other knowledge that takes a maximum of interpretation, yet it can be the most meaningful knowledge that we have.  The validity of this knowledge is conditional on the validity of the personal interpretation.

5) ConsentualConsentual knowledge is composed of knowledge that others have shared that we consent to hold because we trust (rightly or wrongly) in the person or source passing on this externally derived knowledge.  Often the consent is given based purely on the lack of any reason not to trust and should always be held with skepticism.  Consentual knowledge can be broken down further into three meaningful categories:

a.  That based on other's intrinsic, sensual, evidential, and experiential knowledge and interpretation.

b.  That based on other's consentual knowledge.

c.   That based on other's beliefs, opinions, estimations, imaginations, misinterpretations, fantasies, falsities, misunderstandings, neuroses, and psychoses.

Consentual knowledge is the most prevalent and voluminous knowledge that we have but is the least reliable.


There are five basic categories of proposed positions, again presented in descending reliability.

1)  Proven:  Conceptual constructs of realities that have adequate supporting facts and foundation, have not been falsified or disconfirmed, and have also been supported by all relevant observations or demonstrations so that it is more reasonable to accept the proposition than to not accept it.

2)  Probable:  Conceptual constructs of realities that have substantial supporting facts and foundation, have not been falsified or disconfirmed, and have also been supported by enough observations or demonstrations where it is reasonable to accept the proposition tentatively or as probable.

3)  Potential:  Conceptual constructs of realities that have less than substantial supporting facts and foundation, have not been falsified or disconfirmed, and have been supported by some observations or demonstrations where it is reasonable to entertain the proposition as potentially true but not to accept it.

4)  Pretentious:  Rather arbitrary conceptual constructs of realities that assume facts and foundation not in evidence and have neither been confirmed nor have been supported by enough observations or demonstrations to where it is neither seemingly productive nor reasonable to accept or entertain the proposition.

5)  Preposterous:  Conceptual constructs that violate other better supported concepts, that have flimsy or little to no foundation in facts and evidence, have not been supported with observations or demonstrations, or violate sound epistemological or metaphysical principles.

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