Research - The Facets of Philosophy

The Facets of Philosophy

By Nils Randrup

The objective of all research is knowledge, but few researchers include an explicit discussion of the nature of knowledge. In research, knowledge is traditionally studied from the epistemological perspectivewhich focus on describing knowledge’s nature, sources and limits, and deal with distinguishing justified belief from opinion. Just because you have an opinion about something does not mean that your opinion is justified. Or in other words just because you think you know does not mean that you actually know or that your knowledge is justified. Your knowledge is worth more if its justified that if it is “just” an opinion. However, opinions can be the initiator of scientific study, and so lead to justified knowledge. So opinions are considered truths if they can be justified. However, there can exist many truths and when there are mutually exclusive we then have a conflict of knowledge and a scientific dilemma.

In addition, knowledge can be discussed from other perspectives in terms of what knowledge actually is (metaphysics) as well as why we want to know and the values of knowledge (Axiology). So what we know in a philosophical sense is not just restricted to the study of knowledge but also the study of what the nature of knowledge is and the study of our value systems. So from a philosophical perspective, knowledge is a larger universe as outlined in the “Facets of Philosophy” model which basically states that knowledge has 3 areas of study; What we know, how we know it, and why we know:

According to the classification of philosophy by the Facets model, Philosophy is the study of reality (metaphysics), knowledge (epistemology) and value (Axiology). Metaphysics explains the nature of reality through study of what is and the nature of being (Ontology), what the meaning of life is (teleology), and what the nature and origin of the cosmos/universe is (Cosmology/Natural Theology). Epistemology explains what the nature of knowledge is and how we come to know through “scientific” inquiry based on observations and factual data, (Phenomenology/Empiricism), logical thinking (Rationalism), background knowledge and historical/evolutionary perspectives (Historicism) as well as information about motives (goals, values and consequences) for both stakeholders and the object of the study (Pragmatism) . Axiology explains what is of value and values we should live by through the study of what is good and evil, right and wrong (Ethics), power and how we should live together (Sociology/Politology), and what art, beauty, and good taste is (Aesthetics)[1].  So according to philosophers, knowledge can be described as a paradigm of knowledge. It is build with logic and language, and include a metaphysical, epistemological and axiological perspectives.


For more informtion about facets of philosophy see "Philosophy of Collaboration", Randrup/Briggs/Druckenmiller, HICSS 2016

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