How to Know Things

Part of the Art of Learning Series

(The audio quality and camera angle of this video is not very good. I cover much of the same ground in the final talk, “How to Know Things Again,” which may be more enjoyable to watch.)

You can’t just believe what you are told. Knowledge is a deep craft, maintained through the application of philosophical, rhetorical, and literary skills. Knowledgeable people don’t just hold correct opinions, they have reasons for doing so. They can distinguish good from bad questions, share a sense of humor, and passionately disagree with each other. They don’t just think and say that they know something; they write it down. All of these capacities require years, not just of learning, but of discipline. Like any art, you develop it through practice.

(Click to see large image)

See also: “How to Know Things”“How to Make Up Your Mind“, “How to Speak Your Mind”, and “How to Write Prose”

Here’s the 2021 version of the talk:

And here are my (lightly retouched) drawings from that one.