Sir Francis Bacon famously said that “knowledge
But what makes knowledge so powerful?
And what exactly is knowledge in the first
Knowledge is a theoretical or practical understanding
of the natural world around us.
It explains the observations that we see and
why things behave the way they do.
In addition, it allows us to predict the behavior
of phenomena in our world.
Both of which, are quite beneficial to our
and our ability to thrive in the world.
Knowledge is created from information.
It is essentially a collection of information
that has been organized to provide a consistent
and cohesive understanding of a specific topic.
From a more pragmatic standpoint, knowledge
is used to solve problems
within a specific domain.
Knowledge allows us to make decisions so that
we can take an action that leads us to a goal
of some kind.
For example, imagine that our doctor knows
that when a person’s body temperature rises
to 39°C, that they are likely fighting an
This relationship between an increase in body
temperature and the presence of an infection
is what we refer to as knowledge.
In the case of our example, our doctor would
use this knowledge to decide that we are most
likely fighting an infection.
As a result of this knowledge, they would
likely take the action of recommending that
we get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids,
and potentially get further testing if necessary.
Knowledge alone isn’t enough to solve problems.
In order to solve real-world problems, we
need to use knowledge in combination with
It’s this combination of existing knowledge
and new information that leads to a solution
to a problem.
For example, our doctor used a combination
of their existing medical knowledge and new
information about our current body tempurature
to decide that we were likely fighting an infection
and recommend a course of treatment.