Epistemology – relating to the theory of knowledge, with regard to methods, validity and scope, and the distinction between justified belief and opinion. 

 

Is the truth out there round the next bend?

Finding information in this day and age is easy, but:-

·      Weighting its value/ veracity

·      Interrogating information

·      Analysing it

·      Drawing conclusions

·      Overlaying it neatly and logically into your praxis is not easy, and very hard to do in an elegant fashion.

What did I learn about epistemology?

Above all else I am compelled to agree with Alexander Pope's poem, An Essay on Criticism, composed in 1709. Pope wrote “A little learning is a dangerous thing; drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: there shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, and drinking largely sobers us again.

 

I have spent a considerable amount of time considering epistemology and have found a lecture by Dr David James of Cardiff university particularly helpful (see appendix in folder for full notes).  He likens research to an ice-berg where the 10% seen is method, (what you end up with) just underneath is methodology (the debate about the choices made about method and design the whens and the hows)

In the depth and even harder to see is ontology – the debate about being.

And part of every research project is epistemology, what is knowable and what is worth knowing – any view of the relationship between theory and practice implies an epistemological position. Everything we do is rooted in theory, there is also underlying system shaping thought and practice. We have our paradigm and Weltanschauung. The position from which you speak, the way you characteristically see the world as a result of all the other things.

So, when writing up my project report I am happy to take a largely epistemological stance.

 

However, I am struggling to see my praxis as being mainly concerned with epistemology.  It seems too grand a term for my ambling around finding things. I sort out information in various taxonomies, however what I find is not converted into valuable knowledge. I unearth

·       Information

·       Discarded artefacts

·       Disjunctive sights

·       Snippets of conversation

·       Imagined narratives

·       Travel as an illusion – I can only see the world through my own eyes, whatever I find or engage with, the common denominator is my proclivity to see what I commonly see (the odd, the eccentric, the amusing, decay, rubbish, the accidently discarded) By and large I see what I am neurologically programmed to see.

 

My work might be considered to be an inventory of recorded information. It is not an organised system as such but more akin to a pile of paper which the viewer is free to pick over or ignore at will, anything shown can be processed as the viewer best prefers, the range of reactions could be  - ignore, read the work and ignore, partially retain the information or most lovely of all an immersion in the information and a desire to share journeys or memories or time with me.  As I intend to be the tourist information officer for most of the show’s duration what I intend to do is extend an invitation to share my world and if possible learn something of the viewer’s world by direct engagement and observation.  The work is intended to be a show and tell in exchange for more stories.

 

My work might be considered to be an inventory of recorded information. It is not an organised system as such but more akin to a pile of paper which the viewer is free to pick over or ignore at will, anything shown can be processed as the viewer best prefers, the range of reactions could be  - ignore, read the work and ignore, partially retain the information or most lovely of all an immersion in the information and a desire to share journeys or memories or time with me.  As I intend to be the tourist information officer for most of the show’s duration what I intend to do is extend an invitation to share my world and if possible learn something of the viewer’s world by direct engagement and observation.  The work is intended to be a show and tell in exchange for more stories.