"In this sort of predicament, always ask yourself: How did we learn
the meaning of this word ("good", for instance)? From what sort of
examples? In what language-games? Then it will be easier for you to
see that the word must have a family of meanings." -Wittgenstein, in
There is a tendency with these kind of complex words with many ways of using them, to jump in looking for some kind of noumena to it, some kind of essence. To think, can we do with the word in practice what we intuit or assume we are doing with it, and so as you do to hold up contradictions or inconsistencies, and declare it meaningless. But language in practice is different, we use the word to tell us useful things, it has functions in communication, and we readily understand what competant use of the word looks like. Another classic example:
"What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to
explain it to him who asks, I do not know."
It is very common to identify a hierarchy, like say the DIKW pyramid
I think of the military phrasing, that intelligence is information plus assessment. There is a process of sorting and organising, and then situating yourself towards information, in generating knowledge from it.
I like Vervake's terms, of salience landscape, and organising what we know so that we can get cognitive grip on what we know. Discussed here: Wisdom and John Vervaeke's awakening from the meaning crises?
Identifying the points where we can influence events, how they can have positive or negative impacts on us, is critical. We build models of the world and events, fitting together the informayiin or observations we have to improve them, whuch we can relate to induction and Bayesian reasoning. We look for errors and false predictions to distinguish between models, and we look for midels that could in principle be falsified, but we also have to acknowledge in this demain the models do not come from induction, they come from insights, they are limited to what we can imagine being the case.
It's widely acknowledged cosmological models have been dhaped by our highest technology, like looms and quern stones for Ancient Greeks and Vikings, aquaducts shaping the medical theory of humours, a clockwork or steam angine universe, or now the flow of information in the computer age. Our knowledge is limited by what models we can imagine. Newton's theory gave true knowledge, except in the presence of strong gravitational fields and high speeds, so later we had a special case, or were using limited or unjustified assumptions, that obscured a more general and usually more complex picture. Cartwright makes the case all models are wrong, are only valid in so as the premises, the guiding assumptionsare correct, and we always seek simplifying ones that give models that are more tractable or have other benefits, over direct unmediated experiences. Discussed here Thought experiments and empiricism
I think understanding what meaning is, is crucial to identifying and organising what knowledge is, and for that we have to look at the social generation of language and the Private Language Argument: According to the major theories of concepts, where do meanings come from?
Otherwise we slip into substance dualism, the idea words have meaning seperately to our use of them. I argue even mathenatics relies on intersubjectivity, here: The Unreasonable Ineffectiveness of Mathematics in most sciences