How Do You Know What You Know?
Measuring vs. Guessing
“The man who thinks he knows something does not yet know as he ought to know.” (1 Corinthians 8:2)
Philosophers today debate what is "true". Plato believed in an ultimate Truth beyond the physical world. Modern science was based on the idea that
there is a truth to be discovered--independent of what the scientists want to believe. Einstein, with his Theory of Relativity, did not believe that truth is relative, but that the way we perceive
things can be relative. However, Schrodinger and Eisenburg (two philosophical scientists of the 20th century) did think that truth is relative. And modern
physics has shown that what we examine (at the sub-atomic level) affects what we see.
From those findings in the study of sub-atomic physics, many people today talk about relative truth: your truth and my truth. And how your truth may be different
from my truth and both real.
Whether you believe in an absolute truth or a relative truth, how you determine what you think is true affects what you see. Maybe that is "true" for you. And maybe
it doesn't matter if it is "true" in some absolute sence. But how do you know if what you see as true is really true or even if it reflects your clients' truth? How you perceive
the problems of your clients–and the solutions, may not fit either an ultimate reality or even the reality of your community.
The social sciences, especially sociology, psychology, and social psychology, have developed accurate, scientific ways to measure and discover what others are experiencing. You
can use the scientific tools available: accurate quantitative measures (surveys etc.) and qualitatitve measures (interviews and the like) and the use of representative
samples and modern statistics...
Or you can guess.