Shared Knowledge

1530 Words 7 Pages
Personal and shared knowledge differ in the quantity of individuals who posses this knowledge, as personal knowledge refers to the interpretation of knowledge by a single individual, whereas shared knowledge denotes the ownership of knowledge by a group of individuals. Shared knowledge can also be considered timeless as each generation may use the same shared knowledge, where as personal knowledge can only be used by an individual at a certain point in time. Because these two concepts share a zone of exchange, whereby one affects the other, the way in which shared knowledge can shape personal knowledge is an unavoidable and symbiotic relationship. This essay addresses the extent to which the above statement is valid with regard to History and …show more content…
Shared knowledge has always been and still is the foundation for knowledge to grow, as knowers never start from scratch. Instead knowers rely on the knowledge they are presented with to learn about certain topics, as they cannot obtain the same amount of information by themselves in a short period of time. History as an Area of Knowledge is unique in that it is theoretically impossible for individuals to acquire personal knowledge about a past that precedes them. Knowers simply read books and analyze artifacts to find out more about the past. Therefore, Language as a Way of Knowing is critical in the sense that it is only possible through books and other researched materials categorized as ‘fact’ that knowers can obtain knowledge about past events. However, potential bias may exist when studying only certain types of textbooks or artifacts from only certain regions that causes the ‘factual’ shared knowledge to shape personal knowledge. For example, during 1941-42 the Ensatzgruppen, the German killing units in charge of massacres, kept records of the number of Jews that were shot on the Eastern Front and buried in large pits (Rhodes 215). Without the detailed records, knowers in present time might never …show more content…
If an Area of Knowledge wishes to develop, its knowers must use the existing shared knowledge as a foundational level to build upon, therefore creating a paradigm. Specifically in Natural Sciences, knowers have built a foundation on previous research; this practice has become an intrinsic part of the scientific method. There is no option to ignore the work of others, which suggests that shared knowledge will shape an individuals’ personal knowledge if they wish to develop the area of knowledge and make new discoveries based on the previous knowledge acquired by past scientists. For example, Madame Curie was intrigued by the fact that Uranium compounds emitted rays that could fog a photographic plate, and thus began experimental work on Uranium compounds immediately. As a result of her experimentation she found the element radium, Ra. Scientists have built upon Madame Curie’s discovery to produce radon, a radioactive gas used to treat some types of cancer, consequently developing the natural sciences ("Research Breakthroughs (1897-1904)"). Scientists could not ignore Madame Curie’s experiments; instead, they had to use the knowledge acquired from her research to aid their own research in related fields, and develop the natural sciences through using previously published work. This cycle of research and discovery suggests that their work was

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