Understanding 'The New Knowledge Management' LO30444

From: Mark W. McElroy (mmcelroy@vermontel.net)
Date: 08/06/03

Replying to LO30423 --

Dear Alan and At:

I still very much disagree with the positions being taken here, mostly
because of your failure to deal with the truth versus falsity issue.
According to your 'knowledge = capacity to act' or 'to take effective
action' (as is so often cited in OL circles), false knowledge, or falsity,
is just as likely to "emerge" and be taken for knowledge as true knowledge
is. All of this talk of learning and emergence seems inalienably tied to
the assumption that the 'learning' and 'knowledge' experienced is
necessarily true. Where in your epistemology is the all-important
distinction between truth and falsity, and if nowhere, how can you have an
epistemology, much less a definition of 'knowledge,' without attending to
this question? If we cannot turn to notions of 'knowledge' in our quest
to differentiate truth from falsity, then what's the point of it all?

Next, knowledge is NOT the capacity for effective action. In order to
take effective action, one must also have (a) the desire or will to take
it, b) the power or authority to do so, and (c) the means or resources
required. Without these three things, all of the true knowledge in the
world will get us nowhere. Thus, knowledge CONTRIBUTES TO effective
action (i.e., true knowledge), but it NOT THE SAME AS action.

To help illustrate my point, imagine the same action taking place twice,
yet with different goals and intentions. If I close the door to keep out
the draft, then close it again the next day to keep out the dog, in what
sense is closing the door on both occasions the same expression of
knowledge? It is not. It is the same act, but the knowledge behind the
act is entirely different in each case. I find these notions of
conflating knowledge with action to be confused and just wrong.

Finally, knowledge held in objective form, such as in documents or
computer systems is clearly independent of action. A document is
incapable of acting, but it does contain claims and assertions that we can
decipher and understand. So when you conflate knowledge with action, you
necessarily preclude us from recognizing knowledge held in objective form.
This is a fatal flaw in your argument, I think, because how else are we to
share or communicate our knowledge with others if not in objective form,
such as in writing or through speech?


Mark W. McElroy
Macroinnovation Associates, LLC
(802) 436-2250

At deLange wrote:

>Greetings dear Alan,

>I think in the same direction as you, with a slight difference. Knowledge
>is the cummulative outcome of learning. Learning itself comes through
>creating, the most profound act of doing. This creating is then reflected
>in knowledge as the capacity to do.

>The word knowledge comes from the Saxon word "cnaw-lec". The suffix "lec"
>has become in modern English "-like". So knowledge meant "cnaw-like". So
>what does this "cnaw" means? Fasten your mind's seat belt -- emerge! So
>knowledge means "emerge-like", something novel which has appeared. This
>entails a profound difference between knowledge and information.
>Knowledge is an emergent phenomenon and can give rise to emergent
>phenomena. It is impossible with information.


"Mark W. McElroy" <mmcelroy@vermontel.net>

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