About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Epistemology, knowledge and culture.

George Siemens commented on an article about knowledge and epistemology "changing". He questioned the entire idea of "collective knowledge" saying that what the article discussed was more information than knowledge and that he did not really believe in the idea of knowledge being created collectively,

I have heard his arguments before. However, I feel that having been immersed in a foreign culture (including having to speak the language every day) and moving between these cultures, that there is no doubt that knowledge is created collectively. Does this mean the individual is left out of the equation? No. However, what is hegemony except the result of collective knowledge that individuals are not aware of until they are introduced to ideas outside of their own cultural understanding?

Many times, an idea will come to mind in French, Spanish, and even German and Dutch (two languages I am not fluent in, but I have been immersed in through work and student exchanges). One example is the idea of "resumee" in French. There is not a good translation of the concept, however, I find myself telling students to resumee their papers at times. Although translated as summary, the word carries more meaning towards writing an abstract in which there are some judgments and conclusions drawn which a regular summary would not include. These cultural assumptions are collectively developed as a why of knowing without having to explain (tacit knowledge).

It is important to acknowledge both the individual and the culture (group) and the bilateral influence. Each individual will understand the collective knowledge differently depending on their experience, but the culture is not stagnant (despite the culture police that try to make it so) and is affected by individuals.


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Kia Ora V.

I must agree with you here. I did considerable research in the field of oganometallic chemistry, decades ago, when there was little done in the field I worked on. My research advisors (I had serveral) were forever pointing me to reviews and reports that others had written.

One review in particular, known as The Carrington Report, contained such a wealth of knowledge - did I say knowledge? - that the review itself became iconic. I use this purely as an example.

Now I don't go along with iconisising, especially of chunks of knowledge. But there was no doubt that Carrington's Report was amassed from a huge collective - his list of references was a publication in itself for it ran into chapters.

So I'm not sure about Siemens' comment nor where he's coming from with this.

Ka kite
from Middle-earth

V Yonkers said...

Just from the conferences I have participated in and George"s blog, I know that he looks at knowledge creation as a means of linking those that "know". In other words, he feels that knowledge as much knowing how to find the information as much as having the knowledge to use it.

I just can"t seem to accept that. I liked your example as I think the process of writing is more than the finished product, but rather the group knowledge that is created.