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Knowledge

Discussed in: Episode 5

It’s important to distinguish different kinds of knowledge:

  • Propositional knowledge (episteme): For example, knowing that energy and mass are equivalent or that Paris is the capital of France.
  • Procedural knowledge (techne): For example, knowing how to compose a symphony or how to throw a baseball perfectly. Often people who are capable of doing such things are unable to put this knowledge into a list of propositions. Moreover, one can’t learn how to be an expert pitcher by reading textbooks on baseball.
  • Perspectival knowledge (noesis): For example, knowing what it’s like to see Earth from the Moon or what it is like to be a human living in the post-World War Two Germany..
  • Participatory knowledge (gnosis): knowing by sharing a fundamental identity with something, a knowing by becoming, which also comes with a certain degree of imitation and internalisation. It’s the knowing you get by binding your identity to something and letting your identity being transformed in conjunction with how that thing is transforming. For example, knowing how to coordinate with your team to win the NBA Championship or how to be a parent by participating in parenthood or how you know a person you love. You don’t just have beliefs about a person you love, or some particular skill that allows you to “work” with them. You know them by how differently you know yourself and the world in knowing them.