The word “conceptual” is often used interchangeably with “knowledge,” but that’s not always the case.
A new book by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign professor of philosophy Robert Nisbet has laid out a new way to understand concepts: by comparing them with real-world examples.
The book, titled “The Conceptualization of Knowledge,” draws on Nisbeth’s recent book “The Mind of Knowledge: Why We Need to Know More.”
“We often think of conceptual knowledge as being something like a person’s mind.
But that is a bit misleading,” Nisby said.
“It’s more like knowing the way to find a place in a maze.
The way we get there is by thinking about how to find the right place.”
For example, we often think about a maze as a problem.
But Nisbets book is about conceptual knowledge.
Its purpose is to show that “concept” is a different thing from “knowledge.”
“The way we know is by being able to imagine what we know,” Nesby said in a statement.
“We use that knowledge to find what we want, and we don’t have to use a dictionary to find it.
This book shows how conceptual knowledge is like the way we find places.
It shows how we are able to solve problems using the same kind of knowledge that we use to solve them.”
What’s at stake in this argument?
Nisbet’s book argues that “knowledge” has an essential and distinct difference from “concept.”
Its primary purpose is “the understanding of things as they really are,” he said.
“Knowledge is the understanding of a thing as it really is.”
The word “knowledge”, on the other hand, is a neutral term for “what we think.”
But the distinction between knowledge and conceptual knowledge isn’t entirely clear.
Nisby has made a distinction between two kinds of knowledge: conceptual knowledge and “actual knowledge,” which he defined as knowing “things as they actually are.”
This is because actual knowledge “is an actual knowledge of the actual world,” and conceptual, or “conceptical,” knowledge is “an actual knowledge about things as we think they really should be.”
A person with conceptual knowledge might say, “My dog is a cat.”
Or a person with actual knowledge might write, “There are four dogs in my yard.”
These two kinds are distinct, Nisbin told ABC News, because there is “a difference between knowing and thinking” about something.
The distinction is important because if you want to understand how to know something, you have to figure out how to get there.
So Nisbit argues, “conceptional knowledge is a key tool to understanding the problem.”
How does this work?
The key to conceptual knowledge, Nesbet argues, is to use “conceptually” to mean “what I think I know about.”
That’s because a person “knows something, not what I actually know.”
This concept, Nisaby said, “is what you would expect from the idea of conceptual understanding.”
“I call it the concept of conceptual awareness,” he explained.
“That’s the thing that I call the understanding that you have of what you know.”
How can we use conceptual knowledge to solve our problems?
The first thing to understand is that conceptual knowledge can’t be applied to every problem.
But the book argues, conceptual knowledge could be used to help people solve problems.
“It is an important tool for understanding how to solve real problems,” Nisabys book states.
Nisbeits book also argues that, if we want to know how to create meaning, we need to know what it is to “make sense.”
Nisbin says this is where concepts come in.
“The notion of meaning is the idea that there is some meaning to a situation,” he explains.
“The concept of meaning can be useful in the sense of understanding how you can make sense of something.”
But Nisabin also argues it can be “wasted on the creation of meaningless meanings.”
“It can also lead to the creation, or the propagation, of meaningless meaning,” he told ABCNews.com.
“That’s when it gets to the other problem of what we need, which is to be able to know the meaning of things.”
What are the other implications of conceptual and real knowledge?
“Real knowledge is an understanding of the world in a way that’s true,” Nisibets said.
“But the concept that you need is a way of knowing things as things are.”
Nisaby argues that what you need to “know” something is “what you actually know about it.”
But “what the problem is is how do you get to the right answer to the problem?”
“That is the conceptual problem