Knowledge about knowledge


Understanding the nature of knowledge is key if you wish to work with it.

Knowledge is a complex subject, part sociology, part philosophy, part ethnography / anthropology, part learning..... We seek to surface the key distinctions and questions a person needs to ask to gain deeper meaning and understanding of this subject.

KnowingKnowledge is a key new book exploring how knowledge is changing.

DIKW
The role, relationships and usefulness of viewing knowledge (K) as a pyramid member sitting atop information (I) but under wisdom (W)

What is data or information to me, today may be 'knowledge' to another at a different time. We need to be aware of recursion and personal context when making these distinctions. Data is a measurement, Information is a message, Knowledge is a decision, wisdom is comprehending future effects.

Knowledge as an ecology
This is a rich & important metaphor; think communities, food webs, dependencies, gene flow, evolution, adaptation, exchanges, predation, climax, equilibrium, life cycle, awareness, learned response.....

Tacit vs. explict
These are end points along a continuum. In the center is implicit knowledge, something we know but cannot easily explicate.

Codified knowledge is information. When we interpret, enable, act and deliver then we are working with knowledge.

Individual vs. group knowledge
Knowing is a personal belief state, but knowledge has a social dimension that distinguishes it from competency. There must be a measure of social exchange and vetting to claim knowledge.

A person alone on an island discovers an edible plant - is that knowledge? No it only becomes knowledge when that belief is shared, vetted and accepted. Personal Knowledge is an oxymoron, all knowledge has a social component - personal competency, personal knowing, YES but that is a different animal.

Independent existence (objective) vs. belief
Does knowledge exisit outside of the knower? or is that just information?

Knowledge is created through gesture, exchange and dialog. It is a cultural artifact bounded by context. Knowledge does not have an independent existence or a direct correspondence to the physical world. My view, see Wilson, Stacey

Emergent vs. pre-existing
How does time and culture enter into the notion of knowledge? Does wisdom take care of the time dimension of knowledge? How can we best account for indigenous knowledge?

Knowledge as sense-making vs. knowledge as eternal truth
There is a practical, cultural, local and ephemeral quality to knowledge. Knowledge is 'what works', it needs to be reliable, useful, (risk reducing?), as simple as possible, and must add value. See Weick

Firestone's dialog on knowledge