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An individual’s knowledge about cats may come from many different places. The basics for someone’s knowledge about cats may have started when they were a child. If they had a bad experience with a cat then they might claim to “know” that all cats are mean. This could make them believe that cats are mean even though they only had one experience. If they had a cat of their own and loved it very much then they might claim to “know” that cats are lovable creatures. Another example of us constructing our knowledge of cats is by how we choose our religion. If I decide to worship cats then to me I “know” that cats are holy.
This also brings up the debate that religion is not only a personal choice but also a type of definition. If my religion tells me that cats are holy then that is acquired knowledge and then I am simply recognizing it to be knowledge. Other definitions about cats are scientific experiments that people on them. If cats are proven to have a certain disease then people could say the cats carry disease and be making a valid knowledge claim.
This shows that knowledge about cats is neither totally constructed by us nor completely acquired. You can never know everything about cats because experiences, new discoveries, and different emotions can cause you to “know” something new about them. It shows that depending on the experiences we have and how we perceive information can affect what we think we know about cats. What I know about cats maybe be different from someone else. This is not necessarily because I know more or less than someone else does but I might have a different perception of the cats than someone else does.
Sometimes people have a bad experience once and then use that experience to block out any other knowledge. No matter how irrational that may be, people can convince themselves that because they had a bad experience, it means all cats are bad. When this happens, people can forget to look at all the ways of knowing something. They could stop believing in their religion or deny scientifically proven facts. In this regard we choose what our knowledge is, even if there is more information that could be considered. It also works in the opposite direction. People could choose to be completely scientific about cats and block out any knowledge having to do with emotion or experiences having to do with cats.
Either of these ways of thinking changes what people think they know but it also shows how by talking to someone about cats does not necessarily give you facts about cats. It only gives you the perception of cats from the other person. Unfortunately, most information about cats comes from either something people have written or from inside someone’s head. Therefor it is up to us to decide what we believe to be knowledge and what to be opinion.