To what extent does it make sense to talk of knowledge in terms of ‘acquaintance’ and ‘description’?
This assignment, I will try and explain the two relevant undertones in knowledge, and to what extent I can use them to describe knowledge to.
The theory of Knowledge in terms of acquaintance and knowledge by description, was initially constructed by Bertrand Russell, who protested the word to ‘know’ in this context believing it to be unclear and ambiguous, and thought that the vagueness of the word know stemmed from the failure to distinguish between two different types of knowledge. He wanted to clear up that there are indeed different types of knowing and different types of knowledge, and began his criticisms due to equivocal nature of the word ‘know’, the two types being; knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description, because he believed if there wasn’t a clear distinction between these two, it would create unnecessary confusion in the English language.
After distinguishing two differentiating types of knowledge, the entire chapter of 5 of Russell's’ ‘Problems of Philosophy’ is entirely devoted to the knowledge of things, it is titled ‘Knowledge by acquaintance, and knowledge by description’.
The argument goes further than Russells work, it is a largely debated and commented on subject. Philosopher John Grote commented on other languages and their distinction between ‘to know’, for example Greek, Latin, French, German, Spanish all have different words for different contexts of the word in the context of ‘to know’.
William James, psychologist and philosopher of around the 19th Century, provided a developed view of this theory, I feel that when trying to learn the complexity’s of Russells development of the theory at hand, it is important to begin from where the idea came from;
‘I am acquainted with many people and things, which I know very little about, except their presence in the places where I have met them. I know the colour blue when I...