We are all consumers of knowledge. Some of us are distributors of knowledge. And few of us are producers of knowledge.
I was, by luck, could produce some knowledge on the subject of ancient Indian history. I could, again by luck, distribute some of it via my talks, blogs and books.
Naturally, these endeavors involved discussions, exchanges through emails and forums, arguments and disagreements. What I quickly realized was that much of the disagreement or confusion was not because something was not stated clearly, by either sides, but rather the confusion was because the stance of all individuals in the dispute was assumed to be the same as others. I quickly realized that this is never the case. However I lacked the framework to point it out during such disputes.
Recently, while I was working on another ambitious project, the framework fell into my lap, like a ripe fruit. The analogy of ripe fruit is apt because this is the framework, albeit unconsciously, I employed in my work for last 20+ years.
The framework is applicable to the production (& distribution) of knowledge and also to the consumption of knowledge.
I am presenting it for the benefit of my readers and also for the benefit of researchers (and consumers) in general, and for the benefit of Indic researchers (and consumers) in particular.
Here is part-1
Whenever I got into a dispute/argument/disagreement with respect to a specific evidence presented in support of a specific truth claim, while producing or consuming such knowledge, first question I always asked was:
IS THE EVIDENCE TESTABLE IN THE CONTEXT OF THE TRUTH CLAIM?
The second question I always asked was:
IS THE EVIDENCE PRESENTED INCLUDES ALL RELEVANT EVIDENCE OR IF IT IS PRESENTED IN A ARBITRARY OR SELECTIVE FASHION?
These two questions allowed me to create the foundation for my framework.
The first question allowed me to distinguish if the truth claim was based on the subjective evidence or objective evidence.
By objective evidence, I mean that anyone should be able to follow the procedure and be able to reach the same conclusion as the researcher who made the ‘truth claim’.
The second question allowed me to distinguish if the truth claim was based on some arbitrary or selective (convenient) evidence or if it was based on all relevant evidence (both supporting and conflicting).
This second question allowed me distinguish if the truth claim was based on misleading method of inductive reasoning (from one specific evidence to generalization) or rational method of deductive reasoning (Generalized principle tested against all relevant evidence, i.e. both corroborating and conflicting evidence).
In next part of this series, I will explain how this space of knowledge production/distribution or consumption can be classified into four different categories based on two aspects of knowledge production: (1) Testability and (2) Evidence.
To be continued….