Grasp-It is exactly what it says it is: a tool for making knowledge easier to grasp.
See an example of what you can do with the Grasp-it tool.
To be more precise, Grasp-It is a semantic system that makes knowledge on a given topic more accessible. It does this by structuring the knowledge, reducing it to a stack of simple statements and then visualizing the semantic links between them.
The absence of such semantic guidance in standard source material such as reports and articles is what often limits our advancement from information to understanding.
Grasp-It removes this limiting factor.
There is a vast amount of information around us on a huge number of topics, not least thanks to the internet. But it is often difficult or even impossible for ordinary people to grasp all this information and to turn it into true knowledge and understanding. That's for two reasons:
- In so many books, newspapers, articles, websites, articles, blogs, speeches and other source-material the distinction between opinions, facts and assumptions is not always made clear or is even deliberately obfuscated.
- The logical links – the semantic conjunctions – between statements of these three types are hardly ever made explicit.
Facts, opinions and assumptions are all important for an intelligent and informed discussion of any topic. Opinions and assumptions are no less useful nor valuable than facts. The important thing is to know which is which and how they interact.
Imagine that you know an expert in a certain field, whether it’s medicine, astronomy or even nuclear physics. This expert can tell you that A, B, and C are indisputable facts, whereas D, E, and F are opinions and G is an assumption. You also learn from the expert that B is an example of A, D is supported by C, and G is the basis for F. But if you are new to the field, you won’t know all this, even if you’ve managed to find A, B, C, D, E, F & G in the first place.
The logical, semantic conjunctions between these facts, opinions and assumptions – such as “but”, “if”, “because”, “unless”, “although”, “provided that”, “in spite of” , “in contrast to” – are rarely made explicit and clear even within a single text document. With material originating from different sources – eg, following an internet search – the situation is even worse. That’s why people often don’t truly grasp the topic they’re studying.
What do you know about climate change, for example?
A lot has been written about climate change and you may have realized that even experts do not fully agree on everything there is to say. So why bother and not just wait until the dispute is settled?
In fact, there is no reason why experts should agree on everything. Logically, they only have to agree on the facts. Their opinions and the assumptions on which they are based may well differ. It is key to be able to tell one from the other and then to see why opinions differ. They may, for example, be based on different assumptions. Simple as that once you see it. All this Grasp-It helps you to achieve.
After all, when knowledge in uncertain, experts should avoid pressures to over-simplify their advice. Scientists often foolishly spend much time trying to negotiate a single interpretation when faced with uncertainties, especially unmeasurable uncertainties which cannot sensibly be averaged. All this Grasp-It helps you to avoid.