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Pragmatic epistemology: ways of knowing as ways of being

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A personal epistemology is more than a framework for knowing and understanding reality; epistemic assumptions cultivate corresponding behaviours and actions. In other words, an individual's way of knowing predisposes a way of being. This inquiry explores the lifeworld of epistemology experienced by 14 women in Malaysia. Based on constant comparative analysis of in-depth interviews with Malaysian women from various ethnic backgrounds, the paper proposes a personal model of self-in-practice that enacts an individual's pragmatic epistemology—the experience of epistemology in everyday life. Previous research identified ways of knowing as personal models of self; this study explores how these ways of knowing are demonstrated in the everyday lifeworld, or pragmatic epistemology. For the women in this study, pragmatic epistemology manifests itself two ways: everyday decision-making and emotional disposition. Thus, the personal model of self reflects both culture and cognition, resulting in behaviours and actions framed by personal epistemology.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: November 1, 2002

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