Epistemological Assumptions

"These are assumptions about the grounds of knowledge -- about how one might begin to understand the world and communicate this as knowledge to fellow human beings. These assumptions entail ideas, for example, about what forms of knowledge can be obtained, and how one can sort out what is to be regarded as ‘true’ from what is to be regarded as ‘false.’ Indeed, this dichotomy of ‘true’ and ‘false’ itself presupposes a certain epistemological stance. It is predicated upon a view of the nature of knowledge itself: whether, for example, it is possible to identify and communicate the nature of knowledge as being hard, real and capable of being communicated in tangible form, or whether ‘knowledge’ is of a softer, more subjective, spiritual or even transcendental kind, based on experience and insight of a unique and essentially personal nature. The epistemological assumptions in these instances determine extreme positions on the issue of whether knowledge is something which can be acquired on the one hand, or is something which has to be personally experienced on the other" (Burrell and Morgan, pp. 2-3).

Burrell, G. and Morgan, G. Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis. London: Heineman, 1979.