Knowledge Acquisition as a Memory Renewal Process

Philosophy Pathways (159) (2011)

Georgios Pentzaropoulos
University of Athens
Knowledge acquisition is a central subject in epistemology. We examine this subject by treating the human brain as a neural network with a two-level memory hierarchy. We are especially interested in the case where the short-term memory becomes full: this necessitates renewal of its content, which also involves the long-term memory. Our guides here are: (i) the notions of memory and perception from epistemology, and (ii) certain results from computer technology and information theory. We conclude that short-term memory has to be regularly renewed in order to keep its recent information. What is not needed immediately is stored in the long-term memory awaiting any subsequent recalls. This renewal process guarantees brain's responsiveness to intellectual challenges such as making decisions. Finally, we note that any knowledge gained is valuable only if the information from which it is derived reduces uncertainty.
Keywords Epistemology  Knowledge Acquisition  Computer Metaphor  Information  Stability
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