2008-01-03

The dominance of the explicit knowledge

Many people admire explicit perception based on explicit and formal knowledge because arguments and facts based on this kind of knowledge are commonly known as hard facts. This kind of knowledge is based on the boolean algebra so that its truth value is fully determined by just two values: true and false (and "tertium non datur"). Therefore explicit knowledge have the nature of inviolability because a (apparently true) fact can be -- according to the theory of epistemology -- at least certainly disproven. The notion "fact" is also a typical term of the explicit knowledge set because it is the synonym for a true argument. In fact all engineering science is based on mathematics which bares the idea of formal knowledge resp. truth. Today engineering science is the leading force in economy and therefore also in the educational system. People are trained to admire explicit resp. formal knowledge already in schools and universities because this is the kind of knowledge which is the base of engineering science which is required by the GDP growth based capitalistic economy.

Typical for explicit knowledge is its formality: Something is true/false just because of a explicit/formal definition. This formal/explicit definition is basically a calculus which contains a number of premises which determine this calculus. Premises are claims which -- per definition -- cannot be proven or disproven. The entire mathematics is based on such calculus systems which are determined by a static set of premises which allow a fixed (maybe also infinite?) number of conclusions. Many people think that every consequence drawn on the basis of these premises is a new perception. Indeed it is just a conclusion which is valid just within the given calculus. Furthermore this conclusion is not a new perception but only a possible element of the pseudo-perception set of the given calculus. Let me explain this claim by an example: A is smaller than B and B is smaller than C (formal syntax: A < B < C) is a transitivity with the following formal notation:
aRb, bRc
Based on this statement I can draw the conclusion that
A is smaller than C.
But is it really a new perception? In fact this conclusion is already a part of the given statement and not a perception because the notion of "R" (relation) and its catenation determine the drawn consequence and also its truth. So the drawn consequence is not a conclusion but a truth per definition.

The main statement in the above argumentation is that explicit knowledge is not as almighty and perception bearing as it supposed to be.


The antipole to explicit knowledge is determined by implicit knowledge which also known as "tacit knowledge". This kind of knowledge is the main research area of humanities like sociology, psychology and some linguistic research areas. Of course also humanities contain explicit knowledge just as applied physics contain implicit knowledge.