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 'knowledge = to take
effective action' argument (as 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? How
can we speak of knowledge without addressing the issue of truth?
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 other 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 is NOT THE SAME AS
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, and 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 wrong-headed.
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 speak of as knowledge. 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
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:learning-org-
> email@example.com] On Behalf Of AM de Lange
> Sent: Tuesday, July 29, 2003 4:08 AM
> To: LearnOrg List
> Subject: Understanding 'The New Knowledge Management' LO30423
> Replying to LO30418 --
> Dear Organleaners,
> Alan Cotterell <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >I suggest we need to go back to first priciples and take
> >a closer look at the verb 'to know'.
> >In the bible 'adam knew eve' - I suggest this is a correct use
> >of the verb. Knowledge comes out of doing. I believe you
> >can have all the information in the world at your fingertips, yet
> >know nothing - like a baby in front of a computer.
> Greetings dear Alan,
> I think in the same direction as you, with a slight difference.
> is the cummulative outcome of learning. Learning itself comes through
> creating, the most profound act of doing. This creating is then
> in knowledge as the capacity to do.
> The word knowledge comes from the Saxon word "cnaw-lec". The suffix
> has become in modern English "-like". So knowledge meant "cnaw-like".
> what does this "cnaw" means? Fasten your mind's seat belt -- emerge!
> knowledge means "emerge-like", something novel which has appeared.
> entails a profound difference between knowledge and information.
> is an emergent phenomenon and can give rise to emergent phenomena. It
> impossible with information.
> I wish i knew something of Hebrew. Since i have taught myself some
> Greek (the language of the New Testament), i have become sceptic of
> With care and best wishes
> At de Lange <email@example.com>
> Snailmail: A M de Lange
> Gold Fields Computer Centre
> Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria
> Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa
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