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Propositional Knowledge

Introduction to Propositional Knowledge

When knowledge is declared or expressed in a characteristic form of indicative propositions then it is called as descriptive or declarative knowledge. For completing a particular task or assignment in the field of project management, the researcher requires certain knowledge which provides an insight in all the aspects. When knowledge of “know-how” is produced in a descriptive format then it is referred as propositional knowledge. It is quite fascinating to explore the possibilities of intelligence or knowledge when backed by truth provides a defensible way or not.

The theories which deal with methods and validity of knowledge, followed by its scope is known as epistemology. There are different types of knowledge amongst which propositional knowledge holds a major inclination. The other variations of knowledge.

Propositional Knowledge include personal and procedural

Propositional Knowledge

Personal knowledge is referred to as acquiring intellectual information through acquaintance and procedural knowledge is based completely on the process or technique with which a task or activity can be accomplished. On the other hand, propositional knowledge is completely different. It refers to the knowledge which depicts specific claims. For instance, I know that concerned project will be completed in two months. Knowledge basically reflects the understanding ability of a person. It can also be considered as the measure of being aware regarding a topic or subject. The individual that has personal knowledge is said to have propositional knowledge in some form. However, the vice versa situation is not necessary to exist. Several philosophers and researchers have depicted that all the three types of knowledge are interlinked and major epistemology has clear depiction of propositional knowledge.

Difficulties in the perspective and examples

It is often claimed that propositional knowledge majorly consists of true beliefs which are further supported with respective justifications. Great philosophers have classified propositional knowledge as the kind of ability which provides claims regarding proficiency in a subject. For instance, the project management is a strategic tool which involves all the attributes related with a project irrespective of the area of application. The planning tool requires concerned manager to be able to separate activities according to their priorities and then place them in the time scale.

If a person claims that Gantt chart depicts the time scale of a project. Then it definitely refers to a propositional knowledge of the person. Considering another example: when a person states that he is aware about the objectives of plan then that person is actually claiming to posses propositional knowledge.

True beliefs can be stated as truths only when they are supported or backed by appropriate evidences. These become a proof that the concerned fact or truth does exists and the fact stated by concerned individual holds certain type of validity. Epistemology is considered as an important part of the series based on philosophy. Great thinkers like Aristotle, Buddha, Plato, Kant, etc. had their philosophies in the epistemology. It can be considered as the study or research which comprises of justifications and knowledge that are aligned with rational beliefs. Any sort of knowledge can be considered as the same with validity and reliability in consideration, when there is justification, truth and belief. Scope of knowledge is also depicted through this understanding.

A great difference can be experienced between knowing a concept and having an understanding of the operation or technique which needs to be followed. Furthermore, knowledge is also considered to be known through some relation or metaphorical capabilities. The conceptual knowledge can be utilised in application only when it is supported by certain type of justification. Similar can be considered as the case of propositional knowledge. If a person makes certain claims, then it can be contemplated as truth with help of respective justifications or proofs.

Foundational-ism is one of the philosophical thesis which portrays the structuring of justification. One can understand this concept with help of the following example. If a person states that there is use of only internet based or online resources for the concerned project. Then it determines that the person justifiably believes that only online resources will be useful and no other source shall be required in the entire execution. The foundational justification of knowledge cannot be standardised proof but it justified in a sense that concerned fact does exists in the propositional form. Sufficient amount of valid reasons are required for developing a belief of propositional knowledge. There are two more theoretical concepts which can be considered for defying the statement that “knowledge comprises a true belief backed by a justification”. These include internalism-externalism.

Internalism consists of the factors which are limited to the internal attributes of a person. On the other hand, externalism provides that justification for knowledge is completely based on the external and additional components which are experienced by the individual. This is quite a conflicting scenario. Often knowledge and belief are considered to be same. Belief can be stated as one's faith in a subject or element irrespective of the fact whether it is backed by truth and justification. However, knowledge is a valid factual data always supported by appropriate justifications. When difficulties arise in this perspective then the issues are considered to be Gettier cases and Gettier problems (Hintikka, 2016). Despite of the fact that these require subsequent discussions in context of true belief and knowledge, but internal aspects of the person are expressed to be sufficient in justifying the knowledge.

The major consequence which is experienced in the perspective acquired is the acquisition of belief. The claim made by one person may or may not be acceptable to other individual. For instance, projects hold many things at stake. The propositional knowledge turns out to be insufficient when decisions on budget, resources and time management have to be taken. If internalism is considered to be the only base on judging the decisions and knowledge then definitely conflicts might arise. Gettier problems will be addressed by the entire team. However, externalism depicts that knowledge is a particular thing which is justified in its own way. Additionally, if there is a requirement of justification then internal factors cannot be contemplated solely.

This is a sort of epistemological issue which can be clarified with help of an amalgamation of the internal and external factors. When investigating the application of these concepts in project management, it is best suited to deal with facts that have justification so that they can be classified as propositional knowledge. It not only strengthens the view point of respective person but supports wide range application of the acquired knowledge and respective claims.


Philosophical judgements are always contemplated to be non-justifiable and self-sufficient. Epistemology though provides clear ideas about the truth and beliefs which are composed in propositional knowledge. It is inferred from the above understandings that propositional knowledge is a sort of claim which is made by the speaker. This knowledge is a true belief which is internally known to the person who possesses it but is also supported by valid justification. Although it is quite difficult to have a belief on a belief which is formed by the internal factors of an individual but this foundation has been due to existence of valid justification somewhere in the conscious. Hence, the clarification of propositional knowledge as a justified true belief is not so clear but very much valid when project management field is contemplated.


  • Anderson, J.,Epistemology. The International Encyclopedia of Communication Theory and Philosophy.
  • Gerken, M., Internalism and externalism in the epistemology of testimony. Philosophy and phenomenological research.
  • Hintikka, J., Epistemology without Knowledge and without Belief. In Readings in Formal Epistemology. Springer International Publishing.
  • Houwer, J. D., A propositional model of implicit evaluation. Social and Personality Psychology Compass.
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