What Is Empirical Knowledge Philosophy Essay

Posteriori knowledge, or empirical knowledge is propositional knowledge obtained by experience or sensorial information. Posteriori knowledge is a

Communication basically affects how you live your life and how are you going to interact with the people around you. With a good communication skill, you will have positive and powerful perspective relationships with people you are working with, with your family and with your friends. At the same time, communication also has the power to destroy or build those relationships. (White, 2010)

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According to Robbins, “To effectively communicate, we must appreciate the world around us, and accept that all of us are different and learn how to understand as this is the guide to our communication with others. (Robbins, 2010)

Communication Malfunction

Distraction – this happens when the recipient of the message is not carefully listening to what the sender has been talking to or explaining (Taylor, 2010). It totally concludes that you don’t understand anything about what the conversation is. Losing the concentration of your responsibilities and tasks could lead you to lose your job as well. It implies that you are not that capable or suitable in this job. This usually happens in hotels or restaurants.

In hotel side, for example in Housekeeping, your Executive Housekeeper tells/explains you what your roles and responsibilities are but then, you’re filled with family problems. You don’t carefully listen to what your Executive Housekeeper has been teaching you. This kind of situation may result inaccurate information and the Front Office department will be affected as well.

Misrepresentation – most common this one happens in the Human Resource department. They are the one who is hiring people that they know who can do the job well. But there were times they were mistaken by false information given by the people who applies the job (Taylor, 2010).

For example, in a resume, people give exaggerated information of themselves so they could be hired by the company. But in the end, they will find out that it was just merely puff the things put in the resume.

Emotions – this one also very common in F&B department. To give an example, a guest ate in the restaurant. He is not very satisfies with the food that he has taken. He then calls a staff and scolded him all the way. After the incident, the staff walks over to his manager crying. This explains that no matter what the guest does to us, we are hospitality people. We must know how to handle people around us. And let the emotion affect your job. If you let it affect you, it will not just ruin your day, but of course it will also destroy the whole restaurant operation.

Rumours/grapevine – this one always happen. Everywhere and in every department of a hotel or company. It means employees spreading different kinds of things which are unlikely true. This kind of things happens when a staff doesn’t like his fellow staff, so he will start to say bad things about him. This will affect the relationship of an employee to other employees. This may also result to a job not well-done. Because of the uneasiness to each other. When this happens, things will not able to run smoothly. Data from departments and guests may not be accurate or may have discrepancies.

Solutions to the Communication Malfunctions

Take concentration of what you are doing. Learn how to do effective listening. It means not just only listen, but also try to understand what the sender of the message try to tell you. Don’t assume that you already know everything. If you don’t understand, you can ask questions. So it will be better for you and not have a hard time to figure out what they sender of the message want to tell you. Need to ask for a clarification when needed or if possible.

Try to be truthful or sincere to what you are doing. If you want to apply a job, write on your resume only things you have done, and things you can do and prove to the company. Don’t anyhow put something which is not true and not appropriate. Because putting all things which are very untrue can cause you trouble in the future. Because, what you put on the resume, the Human Resource Manager will trust you. So you must prove it. You will never know it can also be the reason to lose your job. Applicants should inform very directly what they want to achieve in their future job. Be remembered, just try to be short simple and concise of the contents of your resume.

Don’t take it seriously when your manager or a customer has scolded you. It doesn’t mean it will be the end. This only will give you the opportunity to improve yourself. For the manager or leader of the company, try to build up on the employee self confidence. So they will be strong enough to handle different kinds of situation. Have an open communication with them. A manager must always receive guests’ comments or feedbacks wholeheartedly.

Learn how to respect one another. We all know that in a working place, there may be different kinds of staff with different culture or background. Don’t criticize them; instead learn how to understand them, so you will be all comfortable in the working place. Don’t be so judgmental. Just be open-minded and talk about each other’s problem.

Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism

Ethnocentrism means having bad or false misunderstandings about other people’s culture. (Culbertson, 2010) These kinds of people often criticizes other people’s belief and norms, and is thinking that their culture is the most superior one. Based on Charon, he defined ethnocentrism as the “perception of others through the lens”. (Charon, 2007) It means, look to the culture of others, and then straightaway judge them, without knowing what their background is. People who have ethnocentric thinking often take one’s culture that is different from them as the lowest. And then have negative perception about them.

Now going to Cultural Relativism, it can be described as the polar opposite of ethnocentrism (Rosado, 1994). It explains that in cultural relativism, one respects each other culture. There is no one that is superior and that all can be an equal individual. These kinds of people believe that there are different types of people who came from different background and that they must try to understand each other’s belief and actions. Why they do these and why they do that.

Difference of staff that is Ethnocentric and has Culture Relativism



Thinks that he/she is the superior among the group because of his culture and beliefs

Believes that every person has different kinds of culture but then all should be equal

Has the power to rule or command someone who he thinks is inferior to him/her

Often a submissive type of person, and thus becomes a follower of a ethnocentric person

Often thinks wrong assumptions and perceptions towards his/her fellow staffs

Figures out and tries to make a better relationship with fellow staffs

A person who is very vocal and straightforward. But sometimes too excessive, can cause social problems

Often a shy type of person. A person who does not open frequently, one who keeps the problem to himself and tries to solve it on his own.

As a General Manager of the organization, I would try my very best to team up people who are ethnocentric and people who has cultural relativism. It does get my attention to know that there are different types of people who are having these kinds of beliefs. But for me, no matter who you are, no matter what you are, I will treat everyone equally. I will teach them how to respect one another. I want a working place where everyone will treat each other and work with one another as a family. I know that we can’t prevent some problems to occur. But I will tell them to be open-minded. Give me suggestions and feedback. With this, we can have better communication. I won’t let anyone be the superior and one is the inferior. It may be in the position, but not in the dignity of the person. We are all in one the same country, a multi-racial country, so whether you came from different background or culture, we will all learn how to work individually and in groups. I also expect my staff to be able to have mutual understanding with each other, do the job hand in hand so it will finish faster, and most important thing is don’t do to others, what you don’t want them to do unto you. I, as the General Manager also care for the staff welfare. I want to build with them self-confidence and self-esteem. I want them to be comfortable in their job, and I want them to love their job. I want them to think that every day is a new day to learn and improve. I want to let them know that their beliefs or cultural thinking should not affect each other in a negative way, but in a positive way. I want them to learn from each other. And in the end all will be in a happy working place where everyone treats each other with respect and loves one another as a family.

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Geert Hofstede 5 Cultural Dimensions

Power Distance – this one means having a basic problem based on a status of a human being. One may be determine as a superior and one could be an inferior. (Hofstede, 2001) This states that the one being superior has all the power to rule over small groups of people. For example, the General Manger of the Marina Bay Sands, when his staff sees him, all of them will show respect. But if a bell boy or a simple housekeeper, I think there would be a different way of respect that will be shown to her. Now this shows that whatever position you may have in the hotel, may it be a low or high position, we should treat each other equally. We are all human beings and that everybody has the rights to accept proper respect and acknowledgement. One should not feel down even if they are in a low position. As long as they do their jobs properly and with dignity, they should be treated the same way a manager would be treated.

Uncertainty Avoidance Index – this one refers on how we accept things that will or might happen in the near future (Hofstede, 2001). We know that these things may have risks and have levels of stress, but we still try to adopt it in the society. To give an example: terrorism is very well-known to third-world countries or places that are always crowded and is very well-known to tourists. But do hotels close down? No. it is because, no matter what will happen, they will still continue to operate. Because if not, they will not have revenue. The hotels have taken the risk even though they know that there’s a possibility that terrorism attack will be there. Instead of thinking of negative things, these countries tries their very best to promote the place and not looking to the bad part of it, but instead showing the beauty of the place, by its nature and natural resources. Tourists will not care whether terrorism will be there. But they will see it in a positive way and look in a different kind of point of view.

Individualism – this refers how an individual interacts with a group of people (Hofstede, 2001). It is how people will express themselves to other people. They will let the people around them to tell them what are their own rights and beliefs. Individualism shows how to fulfill their own task first before completing a task within a group. A person gives importance to things he can do alone as an individual. For example, F&B Manager asks his staff to give comment cards to guest as group of two per station, but then he ask every staff also to do table touch with the guest which meaning to talk to guest about how they feel about the food or service. In individualism, a person will do the second task first, before doing the first task that was given by their manager. It is because the individual thinks that the second task is more important and is more likely to finish faster rather than giving out comment cards which he can also do for the rest of the day during working hours.

Masculinity – this one refer to the relationship of men among women. Nowadays, men and women are being treated equally. But during those old times, men are being referred to as the one who has the power to dominate people around them especially women who are know to be the compassionate and the follower one. Women may be soft-spoken and soft-hearted. They were easily affected by things happening or related around them. Whereas, men are the ones who stay on top and is always be the leader. Like in big or small companies, owner or CEO’s are usually men, who came from a reputable background. Some also started with nothing but in the end, became successful and became rich. This is because men have a stronger personality to adapt things and to overcome different kinds of stress level.

Long-term Orientation – this one refers to what you will think and decide, is your decision only applies to present or also for the future? Who are the one who is going to have benefit from this goal and how to achieve these goals? Some of the values and norms associated with long-term orientation being thrifty and having perseverance to succeed in this challenge. For example in putting food products in the menu. These food products will have a long term relationship with the customers as they will always see it, and as time passes by they will have their own favorite and unique dish from the menu. A menu is not made for short-term orientation. Once a menu is made, it will always stay the same, just depends on the type of season, there may be times that a menu will change, but normally, it is just an appearance. And inside food items are always same. Sometimes a menu, is also updated if there are current promotions or something has being added to the menu.


contrast to priori knowledge, which is knowledge that is gained through the apprehension of innate ideas, intuition or pure reason. Debate has focused on analyzing the nature of knowledge and how it relates to similar notions such as truth, belief, and justification. It also deals with the means of production of knowledge, as well as skepticism about different knowledge claims. ‘The traditional analysis of empirical knowledge states that you know that P if and only if you have empirically justified true belief that P.’ [1]

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You don’t know why or have any idea of why reaction A follows situation B but you have seen it happen so many times that you know that is what is going to happen. I know how to drive a car in so far as I know that I use the accelerator to go and brake to stop and use the steering wheel to manoeuvre. I can get from A to B. In that respect I know how it functions in practice, but have little knowledge how cars actually work. Is it important to have knowledge of how things work? A person who knows how a car works doesn’t automatically know how to drive or may not be a better driver because of his particular knowledge. Many people and animals live quite a happy existence oblivious to knowledge or complicated thought process. I have gained knowledge over the last eighteen years without knowing about empirical knowledge.

The notion of innate ideas proposes that certain knowledge is present from birth. Empiricists would not want to deny that “all bachelors are unmarried” is a truth independent of experience, however they would deny that such a truth could be innate. For empiricists, the mind is a “blank slate”, Tabula Rasa. They believe that when we learn or experience things, it is as if the mind is being written on. Rationalists believe that the mind is similar to a computer, in which the hardware already has some functions, innate ideas, before the software, specific knowledge is loaded onto it.

John Locke believed that our experiences provided us with what he termed simple and complex ideas. A fine example of a simple idea may include the redness of a rose. We thereafter use these ideas in order to understand the world. An example Locke gives, is If someone burnt their hand on a flame but also on a extremely cold piece of ice, then one would form the conclusion that it is not heat that is responsible for the burns, but the difference in temperature. Thus, Locke thinks that the simple sensations and experiences for the basis for more abstract ideas.

Locke believed that knowledge could be of certain types depending on how ideas could be compared. Locke considered that the idea of black could be contrasted with that of white; and other ideas which share a common source, such as light and fire, which often go together. These ways of building up information, Locke thought are the main means by which we turn simple ideas into complex ones. Locke considered that there are three main types of knowledge. Intuitive, Demonstrative and Sensitive. Intuitive knowledge, “black is not white” is the most certain form of knowledge because it is the most difficult to doubt, and Locke argues that they are so obvious that we except them intuitively, as a priori. Demonstrative knowledge is when we begin to put simple ideas together and form complex ones, demonstrating something. Comparing the heat of the sun to the heat of a fire, one would be able to demonstrate that they are both made of similar substances. Locke argues that this form of knowledge is posteriori. Sensitive knowledge, Locke argues, is the most uncertain because it relies merely on the evidence of senses. If I look to see how many chairs there are in another room, I am relying on sensitive knowledge, which although considered a posteriori, can easily be mistaken

Rationalists argue by asking the question, that if one was to reject the idea that all of our knowledge comes from rational principles, how could we tell which of our perceptions are real or true? Locke’s answer to this lies in the existence of primary and secondary qualities that an object has. Applying this theory to a table, Locke considers the table’s primary qualities to be its size and shape, whereas the table’s secondary qualities are produced by powers in the object itself, which act on our senses to produce sensations and impressions. The colour, taste, and temperature of the table are all examples of a table’s secondary qualities.

George Berkeley pointed out that if all we ever see are primary or secondary qualities, how do we know that substance really exists? Berkley believed that there may be no such thing are matter, a view called Idealism. Berkley thought that Locke and other philosophers had potentially opened the door to atheism and scepticism by this view of knowledge. Berkley attempted to show that rather than sensations of objects arising from powers in the object itself, the experiences were actually in the perceiver. Berkley argues that the object does not need to possess any powers with which it produces effects on our senses, because the object does not exist apart from our perception of it. Berkley adopts the sceptical argument that we do not see objects as they really are. Berkley’s main argument was intended to show that it is possible for something to exist without being perceived. Berkley argues that it we cannot imagine what the perception of something must be like, we cannot really say that it exists. Berkley uses the idea to attack the notion of substance or matter, for if all the qualities that we ascribe to it are either primary or secondary qualities, can we actually say that the substance itself exists?

David Hume disagreed with such philosophers as Descartes that the mind contained innate ideas. He also disagreed with the idea that we could be certain about anything outside our experience or the true nature of the world. Hume divided knowledge into what he termed “relations of ideas” and “matters of fact”. Relations of ideas are analytic truths or priori statements that we cannot conceive of being otherwise, such as the statement “2 + 2 = 4” and “All bachelors are unmarried”. Matters of fact, however can be falsified. The statement “The sun will rise tomorrow” is extremely likely, however it is not impossible that it will not.

considered the answer to this is to suggest the existence of what he calls primary and secondary qualities. Hume argues that all our knowledge of cause and effect came through habit. So, for instance, if we see the Sun rise it is not because it corresponds to some eternal and unchangeable law, but because we have seen it rise countless times – what he terms, “constant conjunction”. Therefore, the more we have experienced things, the more certain they will be.

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Theoretical and practical knowledge and understanding and experience are different types of knowledge. I think there is an important distinction between “knowing that” and “knowing how”. People knew that things fell down long before they “knew why” or there was an explanation of gravitation. Such knowledge was empirical. Most assumed knowledge or studies of things are known as theories. – Peoples ideas or take on things. Theory of evolution. Theory of relativity. Over time opinions are developed, they can be tested and become theories. Some theories become more certain and may become factual, but some remain doubtful or perceptions can alter, new light comes to ground that changes ones knowledge. Once it was thought that the earth was flat, and people could fall of the edge.

Edmund Gettier called into question the theory of knowledge and the traditional definition of knowledge. Gettier’s argument is that there are situations in which one’s belief may be justified and true, yet fail to count as knowledge. He contended that while justified belief in a true proposition is necessary for that proposition to be known, it is not sufficient. According to Gettier, there are certain circumstances in which one does not have knowledge, even when all of the above conditions are met. Gettier proposed two thought experiments, which have come to be known as “Gettier cases,” as counter examples to the classical account of knowledge. He argued it is possible to arrive at an assumption based on belief which is deemed justified, but happens to be true only by chance, because the outcome was predicted for the wrong reason and so can’t be classed to be knowledge.

Responses to Gettier have been varied. Usually, they have involved substantive attempts to provide a definition of knowledge different from the classical one, either by redefining knowledge as justified true belief with some additional fourth condition, or as something else altogether.

We are left a legacy of knowledge from those who have lived before us and thus accumulated knowledge over thousands of years. It would be impossible for any individual to experience all this knowledge ‘first hand’. I have learned that there is a difference between “knowing that” (facts and information) and “knowing how” (the ability to do something), because it is one thing to know what empirical knowledge is, but another to have the ability to convey this in an essay, to show this knowledge.

In conclusion from continued observation things should become obvious. For things to become factual I guess they should be observed by several people and the same conclusion be deducted. Should one believe or trust other people’s conclusion of events? Or is it necessary to observe and test theories oneself in order to form ones own

conclusions and gain knowledge. I’m not really sure there is one conclusion to be made. It is possible to judge some things for ourselves but not all things because we don’t have the means, time or inclination – it would take forever, or longer – ad infinitum. But is there such a thing as infinity anyway? One thing is certain – I will never find out.


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