Knowledge as Epistemology

The Epistemology of Knowledge and the Knowledge Process Cycle will be published in JKM in 2008, which follows up on a paper in JKM in 2006. The concern of these papers, and the current paper for ICICKM 2007 is on clarifying the epistemology of knowledge so that we can understand how the (very) different aspects of knowledge are produced, which in turn should help us to manage knowledge, and to report on intellectual assests more effectively.

An interesting application of the Knowledge Process Cycle, see below, (extracted from the paper for ICICKM 2007) is to the genealogy of knowledge in 'Europe' or the 'West' over the past 4-5 hundred years. OK, so its broad brush stroke, but it could be useful.

The Knowledge Process Cycle


'The KPC is a series of phases which, epistemologically, occur in the following sequence, although most of the arrows should be bi-directional, and there are many interactions between and across the 'cycle':

1. Exp: Experience
2. Data: requires language and semiotics
3. A-F: Ante-formal knowledge and information, which requires culture - its includes knowledge and informaiton which has not-yet been formalised, but is nevertheless circulated, particularly via social software.
4. Formal: Formal knowledge and information: formalised and commodified procedures (e.g. the algorithms of natural science) and formalised contextual analyses (e.g. social sciences). This is knowledge as commodity par excellence.
5. Strategic Knowledge: requires design and strategy, and is the fit between formalised procedures and contextual analyses, which is the basis for the capacity for effective action.
6. CoP: Communities of practice, which require alliances.

Genealogy of the 'European' Knowledge Process Cycle

The KPC evolves differently in each society . This is an overview of some of the key developments in the 'European' or 'Western' PKC. It would be different in other cultures, and it would be different depending on how you define the cultural and epistemological boundaries of 'Europe' which is a very slippery concept - 'Mediterrainian' would probably be more interesting, but even that's might be very difficult to define, and 'Eurasian' doesnt help much at all.


Phase 0

Faith and religion pervade much of the cycle. Data and formal information are in their infancy.


Phase 1

Data and formal information (and knowledge) really come to dominate. Ante-formal information and knowledge recedes, faith remains relevant to experience, and probably in a political sense to Strategic Knowledge as well.


Phase 2

Formal information and data dominate, and become very closely aligned. Ante-formal information receded further. Communities of Practice (secular alliances) start to emerge, and faith takes on a separate existence of its own - to 'regroup'.


Phase 3

Ante-formal information, and more particularly ante-formal knowledge come into their own, via social software, ecologies of practice and Complex Adpative Networks become more prominent, and faith/secular ethics becomes important again, albeit in a new guise. The intersection between the different phases becomes pronounced (again, for the first time since Phase 0). Certina's 'micro-global' networks, and the way they are exploited as affordances by global-market and by religious fundamentalists, as well as by a host of 'social' Complex Adaptive Networks, or CANs, forms the basis for what is yet to follow, in the future.