Understanding 'The New Knowledge Management' LO30461

From: Mark W. McElroy (mmcelroy@vermontel.net)
Date: 08/10/03

Replying to LO30451 --

Dear Ross:

Thanks for chiming in on this. On your first point, the problem I've
always had with context being the supposed differentiator between
information and knowledge is that information, too, is rife with context.
I know of no information that is context free. So this distinction, I
think, doesn't hold up.

That said, I do agree that different contexts arouse different beliefs and
claims, and that context matters enormously in terms of what we take to be
information and knowledge. But that is not to say that because of the
role context plays in arousing information or knowledge, that the action
that follows from such arousals should be seen as THE SAME AS information
or knowledge. A belief is not the same as an action taken separately in
accordance with the belief. Indeed, in some cases we may take actions in
contradiction to our beliefs, if only to intentionally confuse others or
to lie.

On your second point, I agree that context is crucial in determining what
should pass as true or false. But it is also true that our assessments of
context may, themselves, be false. So context is no guarantor or truth,
and it certainly is NOT THE SAME AS truth or action. Context is just
another type of belief or claim we have about the world.

I also agree that context plays a role in the choices we make about what
is true for us. For that reason, I also agree that what passes for truth
for me may not pass for truth for you. And the fact that we may disagree
doesn't conern me at all, because I also know that neither of us can ever
know the truth with certainty. The best we can do is to hold ourselves
accountable for the positions we hold, and context-related beliefs and
claims are an important tool in such endeavors.


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

> Two items came to mind when reading your comment. First is the contextual
> nature of knowledge. I believe it is the need for context that enables
> action, which is what I believe stands behind the leap from information to
> knowledge. Closing the door requires the context of being cold or not
> wanting the dog in to understand the link between action and why the
> action took place. The second item that occurred to me centered on
> falsity and how it is determined. Doesn't this also require some
> understanding of context and secondly, an understanding of the beliefs and
> assumptions behind the judgment made when determining truth or falsity?
> Otherwise, you might end up with a difference of opinion on the validity
> of any action taken by someone else. Just a couple thoughts that occurred
> to me.
> Ross


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

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