David Hume was a Scottish Philosopher (1711-176) who gained fame and wealth as an essayist and historian. He spent a considerable amount of time discussing the non-intellectual aspects of human experience and the factors that create knowledge. His arguments were more in line with naturalist, pragmatists, and positivists. He believed that the relations of ideas and matters of fact are the greatest place to start a concept.
In his work, Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding the section Origin of Ideas is of significant interest. He believed that the senses are only representations of actual objects within the environment. There is a fundamental difference between experiencing and the reflection of experience. The experience and then the reflection lead to the formation of thoughts.
Impressions come from the senses. The senses of taste, sight, smell, hearing, and touch draw information from the environment in different ways. This information is used to make conclusions from the available data. Multiple conclusions can be used to construct larger and larger understandings of the environment. To have full understanding one must conceptually blend the conclusions to make stronger cognitive maps.
Rational thought is the process of understanding clearly, what the five senses are bringing forward. Those who have the ability to sense their environment more are able to draw greater amounts of information that leads to higher complexities of thought. This creates an accuracy that is rooted in rationality but beyond the sensory impressions of others.
Science is the testing of senses to ensure that the most information is drawn from the environment, a type of cause and effect. Validity increases when multiple people experience the same phenomenon and can describe that phenomenon in rational ways (i.e. we all know what the color red is). The problem is that this is a common experience but ignores the concept that red is more accurately based in the reflection of light (a non-common experience that is valid).
Learning and thought formation is a concept of awareness. Awareness is processes of helping other people construct various data to come to rational conclusions. If they do not understand the factors, cannot put them together, or are not willing to pay attention they cannot come to the same conclusions. Open mindedness is a frame of mind, meaning that one is open to different possibilities and makes rational judgments based upon the quantitative (rational) analysis of those possibilities.
What are your assumptions not based in fact that hold you back from understanding?