We will write a custom Essay on Logical Analysis specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Knowledge and understanding are two ways through which humans gain information and experiences about life. By gaining information and experiences, a person accumulates wealth of knowledge, while understanding enhances rational utilization of information and experiences.
Hence, it suffices to say that knowledge is necessary because people require information and experiences for them to utilize their lives and environment optimally for the benefit of humanity. Likewise, understanding is essential for people to formulate theories and concepts about their lives and environment. Thus, by definition, knowledge is the amount of theoretical information and empirical skills that one gains through education and experiences of life.
In contrast, understanding is the ability of a person to conceptualize information and experiences rationally. Since both knowledge and understanding are important in learning, philosophers have differed as to which is the preferable way of learning or thinking. Therefore, based on the reading, thinking, and writing, this essay argues that the preferable form of critical thinking is the understanding because it allows people to conceptualize things rationally.
Understanding is the preferable way of thinking because it helps people to rationalize and conceptualize what they perceive in their environment. In the Allegory of the Cave, Socrates describes how the prisoners have knowledge about what they see yet they do not understand how shadows appear on the wall (Cohen 1).
Since prisoners have lived in the cave for a long time, they have gained enough information and experiences about shadows that they see on the wall. Despite the fact that they have enough knowledge about their cave, they are unable to differentiate real images from shadows because they do not understand how that how they occur. Hence, lack of understanding makes the prisoners unable to conceptualize what they see on the walls.
Although the prisoners can identify activities that the shadows on the wall perform, they do not understand how puppeteers generate them. The prisoners can identify activities that shadows perform such as walking across the wall, carrying luggage, and doing construction (Cohen 1). The prisoners are right in identifying the activities for they have knowledge; however, they do not understand that they perceive shadows as real images.
According to Socrates, the prisoners have knowledge about different forms of human activities because they can attribute all images that they see on the wall to certain objects or activities. Through experience, the prisoners have learned that the images on the wall depict people when performing different activities. However, they fail to understand that they perceive shadows of real activities taking place behind the scenes.
David Foster Wallace
According to Wallace, knowledge does not provide an effective way of learning or critical thinking because it increases ignorance and delusion (8). For one to gain knowledge, one must collect information and derive meaning from it. Hence, the process of reading and deriving information eventually results in confusion and ambiguity.
Too much knowledge without understanding of how it occurs increases ignorance and delusion. In essence, knowledge does not support critical thinking because one collects massive information, which ultimately confuses and increases ignorance. Essentially, the process of gaining knowledge is a passive one because one literally takes face value of the available information without considering whether it is real or imaginary.
The amount of knowledge that people have gained over a long period signifies the extent of their ignorance since they rely on information without necessarily reflecting on its importance. Wallace also asserts that getting informed and increasing literacy enhance stupidity as they make one to over-rely on the information (8).
In spite of the fact that knowledge enhances the intellectual capacity of the people, it deprives them of the ability to think critically about the information that they have amassed. Contrastingly, understanding enables people to use their basic knowledge about a given phenomenon in conceptualizing ideas and theories. Thus, understanding is the preferable form of critical thinking and learning.
Education as Maturity
Knowledge gained through education enables people to mature and comprehend the essence of life. In the Education as Maturity, Overstreet states that a born baby is very ignorant, but he/she has an innate knowledge of suckling breasts (38). The innate knowledge emanates from the fact that a baby feels hungry and understands that suckling is a way of satisfying the hunger.
Moreover, without knowledge, a baby can also register discomfort when exposed to temperature conditions such as cold or hot. This means that babies understand the environment and make appropriate responses for them to survive, despite having the limited knowledge possible.
Since the creation of humanity, knowledge has increased tremendously because new fields of knowledge have emerged across centuries. In modern society, although different fields of knowledge exist, it is impossible for a person to be an expert in all the fields.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Specialization is relevant as it differentiates people according to their knowledge; however, understanding is necessary for people to appreciate the importance of knowledge in various fields. One can be a rocket scientist, but understands life as a gardener. In this perspective, education enables both the rocket scientist and gardener to mature in their perception of different fields of knowledge. Therefore, understanding is essential for one to comprehend different fields of knowledge.
The Matrix is a movie that depicts how people with knowledge live under an illusionary world where they exist in a simulated computer matrix. The computer matrix creates illusions that confuse and prevent people from perceiving the reality. Neo is the main character in the movie as he transitioned from the illusionary world to the real world.
In the movie, Neo is a computer hacker who has lived under illusionary world despite having such an enormous knowledge of computer programming. The knowledge of computer programming did not help Neo to understand that computer matrix was an illusion created by immense computer system. Hence, Neo lacked understanding for he failed to conceptualize that the matrix system was an illusion.
However, when Neo swallowed the red pill, he exited the illusionary world and entered into the real world where he realized that the computer matrix system is an illusion. Before swallowing the red pill, Neo thought that the illusionary world of the matrix system was the real world.
Consequently, after realizing that the matrix is an illusion, Neo began to learn many things about the real world. Therefore, the Matrix is a fictional movie that depicts illusion and reality as variables that are dependent on the understanding of a person. From this movie, it is evident that understanding is the preferable way of critical thinking and conceptualizing reality.
Understanding is the preferable form critical thinking as it permits people to conceptualize what is happening in their lives and environment. The Allegory of the Cave effectively illustrates how prisoners have gained knowledge about their cave, yet they do not understand that they live under a delusion.
Additionally, other philosophers argue that too much knowledge and literacy deprives people of their critical thinking ability, and thus decrease their understanding. Therefore, understanding promotes critical thinking and enhances conceptualization of knowledge.
Cohen, Marc. The Alegory of the Cave. 2006. Web. http://faculty.washington.edu/smcohen/320/cave.htm
Overstreet, Harry. “Ideals and problems: Education as Maturity.”A College Treasury: Prose, Fiction, Drama, Poetry. Eds. Paul Jorgen and Frederick Shroyer. California: The University of California, 1956. 38-39. Print.
Wallace, David. Decideration 2007: Special Report. 2007. Web. http://neugierig.org/content/dfw/bestamerican.pdf