Epistemology is the study of knowledge. Historically, three broad orientations exist:
- Objectivism – knowledge is external and knowable through experience and sensory perception (empericism) or through rational thought (rationalism)
- Pragmatism – knowledge is intepreted through a model or internal representation.
- Interpretivism – knowledge is constructed and internal.
Each model has value. Yet none are useful in all cases. In certain fields, learning/knowledge can be very much external and our learning is successful once we align our internal representation with reality. In other cases, knowledge is an internal, personally constructed “object”.
I recently encountered the concept of memetics as an additional view of knowledge: “A meme is a cognitive or behavioral pattern that can be transmitted from one individual to another one. Since the individual who transmitted the meme will continue to carry it, the transmission can be interpreted as a replication: a copy of the meme is made in the memory of another individual, making him or her into a carrier of the meme.”
Within the field of knowledge management, the holy grail is the ability to take internal (tacit) knowledge and make it external (explicit). This notion partly expresses my frustrations with many theories – wrong application for the wrong task. Often tacit knowledge is transferred viral-like through stories and shared experiences (pragmatic and interpretivist). Procedurally, how to operate a machine is transferred in an objectivist approach. Nothing is all – each for a proper concept and proper implementation.