Russell’s and Whitehead’s Knowledge Theories in Philosophy

Subject: Philosophy
Pages: 3
Words: 604
Reading time:
2 min

In Russell’s argument, knowledge is acquired through the various scientific stages. First of all, these stages involve observation of the significant facts or events that are vital for memory purposes. Then it follows the process of building a hypothesis about the facts just observed. If at all a hypothesis becomes true, then it provides an elaboration or even an explanation of what was observed. The third stage he points out in his scientific method is the deduction of important information from the hypothesis and the observation. Testing or verification of facts in a scientific method is carried out through observation. Both facts and hypotheses exist within the general format of scientific knowledge. They cannot be found in isolation. According to Russell, knowledge by acquaintance comes about as a result of being in direct cognition with that particular object that we are supposed to have knowledge about.

This cognitive relation comes about from the presentation point of view. This acquaintance is a fundamental cognitive process in all human beings, and it forms the basis for all the experiences that form knowledge. He also argues that objects which are not real cannot be found in the process of acquaintance. He points out that all those things which do not exist in the physical state by acquaintance can come to our knowledge by way of description. Therefore in knowledge, acquaintances come first, then it is followed by the description of what is not in the physical. This is what should form the ladder of knowledge in human beings. Knowledge by description is very important for the sake of human beings going what is beyond their experience. This follows then that we can gain knowledge of things we have not experienced by are in our description circles.

Whitehead tended to differ from Russell in his theory of knowledge. Whitehead argued that knowledge should be conceptualized in terms of an event rather than an entity. He claimed that in reality and process, there must be the aspect of continuity whereby events have to follow one another in a consistent way so as to form knowledge. He argued that science is deluded in the sense that there is nothing like atoms. Electrons or molecules. Therefore, he argued his philosophy from a theological point of view whereby there is only the existence of only one entity that is responsible for our knowledge and without of which human knowledge would not be there.

In my view, I would be in support of Russell’s argument of knowledge through acquisition and description. This is because the processes involved in the scientific method are valid and exists within the cognitive structures of the human. Besides this, it is important to note that knowledge that has been acquired scientifically can be subjected to verification which becomes essential as far as providing proof is concerned. Knowledge acquired through the scientific process is systematic, unlike what Whitehead believed in the single entity that is responsible for knowledge and does not provide adequate proof basing on the various sources of that particular knowledge.

A good foundation of knowledge should be based on adequate experiences within the environment, which can acquaint us with all the knowledge. At the same time, we also need to cater for or account for the knowledge we acquire that is not found in the experience part of the whole issue. By this knowledge would have been given a holistic approach and thus adequate to form a basic foundation of itself.