Knowledge and Information LO30723

From: Mark W. McElroy (
Date: 10/17/03

Replying to LO30700 --

Hello D.P.:

Thank you for joining us. I welcome the addition of 'action' to the
discussion. I believe that the infinitive 'to know' points to what is
indeed a type of action. It specifically is a mental act. But this is
not to say that 'to know' is the same thing as 'knowledge.' To wit, if you
accept the view, as I do, that knowledge can exist outside of minds, there
are many instances of knowledge in which there are no actors present to

And as I have said before, I view all action as knowledge in use. But not
all knowledge is expressed by action. Think of it this way: not all of
our knowledge is always expressed in action all of the time, and yet we
still arguably have it. And certainly the types of knowledge held outside
our minds and bodies is not expressed in action, since there are no actors
there to act in many such cases.


Mark wrote:

> Dear Mark, Hal, and other readers,
> I wonder whether the questions of 'What knowledge is' (or for that matter,
> 'What action is') were ever meant to be answered in a final and conclusive
> sense! But, through the ages, these have remained with us as focal points
> for discussion, producing steady variety in our appreciation of our own
> engagement with life, world, and language.
> Since the Hal-Mark debate has focused so much on 'knowledge', could I,
> with your permission, invite 'action' to join us on the stage. There is a
> lot of deep reflection on action, so much so that the topic remains open
> to ever new interpretations. It starts with recognising different types of
> action. For example: In one reckoning, preparing a football field is not
> the same type of action as playing football (on that field), which in turn
> is not the same type of action as watching the game! One major distinction
> between them is with respect to the effects they leave. Preparing the
> field leaves a 'prepared field' -- anyone can play on it, and do other
> things too! Playing the game leaves the scores, which have a particular
> meaning in particular communities. Watching the game leaves the spectators
> with many stories they tell each other!
[...snip by your host...]


"Mark W. McElroy" <>

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