Epistemology : ‘Understanding how we think’.
An example of 'different way's of thinking' was clearly indicated in a survey carried out by a leading Razor blade
manufacturer. They wanted to look into the frequency with which men and women
brought their product. Strangely, they found that in comparison, men replaced
razorblades far more often than women.
Further research revealed why. If a
woman gave herself a ‘nick’ while using a razor – she tended to think it was
because of her poor technique, so using the same blade, she would continue more
carefully. When a male managed to nick his skin, he blamed the razor ; it was
obviously blunt ! – so brought a new one.
We readily acknowledge these differences in ‘ways of thinking’ between male and female ; however they are minimal when compared to the differences in thought process between that of Asian and Western peoples. It is fair comment that few Western Investigative interviewers consider the difference in epistemology between races when going about their work.
One of the main aims of the C C i i T T seminar is to change that outlook !
I like to trace the ‘Beginnings
of Difference’ in East/West epistemology back to around 500 b.c. the era of
influential philosophers Aristotle whose Greek ideology remains the basis of
Western Epistemology, and his Asian counterpart Confucius, of whom around
3 billion people today can trace a cultural background to.
b.c. and Democratic rule was the form of Greek
The pursuit of knowledge and public debate regardless of social
standing were integral parts of the lifestyle. The
of the time, Homer stated that ‘Man is judged as much by his ability to
as by his ability as a
Pastimes included competing for
individual honor at Olympic
Sending children to school to learn the ways
of the world was something all parents strived to do. An epistemology of INDEPENDANCE ensued.
At the same time in China under Confucian rule, Harmony, togetherness of family and not questioning superiors were seen as attributes to strive for. Confrontation or competing
for individual glory was frowned upon, and thus an epistemology of INTER-DEPENDANCE was established, which still remains today.
With ‘globalization’ those tendencies may be eroding slightly, but it still is the basis of what leads to the main difference in Epistemology or outlook between our cultures today i.e. Independence v Inter-dependence.
Western parents ask their children what they want to do, to eat, wear etc. An Asian child is told what they will do or wear, as the parent is more knowledgeable, and so logically they feel their decision is best/accepted.This is a very brief/basic intro to Epistemology, and how it differs markedly between those of an Eastern and Western heritage.
In the multi-cultural societies in which we live today, it is become even more vital to have some understanding of both ; especially for those in enforcement fields.