Knowledge in practice

Abstract : In traditional Anglo-American philosophy knowledge is understood as a static, linguistic representation of the world. This means that knowledge is understood to be necessarily propositional: Knowledge is 'knowledge that'. In consequence, the everyday concepts of 'knowing how' and 'knowing what' (often also referred to as a 'knowledge of') exemplified in sentences like "He knows how to drive a car" and "She knows what red looks like", respectively, are either neglected or subsumed under the category of 'knowledge that'. The aim of this paper is to show the problematic nature of analyses based on this presupposed primacy of linguistic knowledge and I shall argue that the knowledge we possess in practice apart from 'knowledge that' includes 'knowing how' ('practical knowledge') and 'knowing what' (or 'experience', as I shall also term this notion). These three kinds of knowledge form a synthetic unity which I shall call 'knowledge in practice' and which, I shall claim, can be characterised as a perspective that makes aspects of a situation stand out as relevant and important. The paper will be structured into three main parts: First, to focus attention on the subject matter I shall give some examples of 'knowledge in practice'. Next, I shall try to extract some philosophical implications of these examples for the concept of knowledge, and lastly, I shall consider the role the body plays in the acquisition of 'knowledge in practice'. I shall end the paper with a few concluding remarks that sum up the main points of the argument.
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Nina Bonderup Dohn. Knowledge in practice. Network for Non-Scholastic Learning, Working Papers, No.1, Aarhus Universitet, 2000, Århus, Denmark. ⟨hal-00190360⟩

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