Nursing’s Ways of Knowing and Theories of Knowledge
Since the dawn of modern nursing in Florence Nightingale’s day, nurses have sought to understand the art and science of nursing. A good place to start in our quest to understand nursing is to begin with a concept called ways of knowing (Alligood, 2014). These phenomena are not unique to nursing; all disciplines and all beings are informed by ways of knowing.
Ways of knowing contribute to our mastery of nursing practice; while theories of knowledge (Epistomology, Ontology and Axiology), hold philosophical tenants about what knowledge is and how our beliefs about it direct our scientific inquiries (research). Nurse theorist, Carper (1978) identified four fundamental patterns of knowing in nursing. She described these patterns (or ways of knowing) as (a) empirics, (b) aesthetics, (c) ethics, and (d) personal knowing.
• Axiology is the philosophical study of value. Studies within the philosophy of axiology examine ethical dilemmas and questions.
In nursing practice, nurses search for knowledge within the various philosophies of knowledge. For example, empirical information is important to know facts, numbers, trends and processes. Nurses also seek knowledge of ontology when reading qualitative studies and inquiring about a client’s experience and personal meaning. Nurses also inquire within the philosophy of axiology to address ethical dilemmas. Carper, however, described another pattern called personal knowing. Take this information in hand and consider it as you build your discussion and interactions in the threads this week.
See if you can correctly place the Theories of Knowledge in the exercise below.
Theories of Knowledge
Ways of KnowingTheories of Knowledge
Drag and drop the terms related to different Theories of Knowledge.