Liquid Knowledge Executive Summary
July 10, 2002
ABSTRACT: Liquid Knowledge is an original expression of applied philosophy, principally axio-epistemology, the foundation of which is a contemporary adaptation of ancient thought. As a form of applied philosophy, the purpose of Liquid Knowledge is to improve the quality of human communication throughout the digital information technology transformation of world society. Liquid Knowledge, if effective, should contribute widely to human endeavors. Early indications suggest significant benefit from its application to education, business, the professions, and the military.
The purpose of Liquid Knowledge is to improve the quality of human communication (and thus productive action) precisely when electronic digital media connect us more widely, more universally, and more quickly than seems possible for humanity to manage or comprehend.
It has been said that we have grown from agricultural to manufacturing to information eras. "Information" is too narrow: we are in and challenged by the era of knowledge transfer.
The strength of Liquid Knowledge is its essential simplicity and its universal applicability. That simplicity and universality is the basis for its effectiveness and the surprising range of fields (see below) to which Liquid Knowledge contributes.
In essence: Liquid Knowledge is characterized by the image that human knowledge is like a liquid which consists of the inseparable mixture of two other liquids: the liquid of information and the liquid of value or importance. Liquid Knowledge is these two stirred together. The beverage of chocolate milk exists only when the milk is mixed with chocolate syrup. Until that mixture, there is no chocolate milk; only milk and syrup. Similarly, unless information and values are inseparably combined like two liquids, we do not have human knowledge with which to work.
Within the last decade just as electronic digital media swooped into our personal and business lives, thinkers in several disciplines declared the existence of a field "Knowledge Management" and announced that Knowledge Management would dispose of the issues which Liquid Knowledge is designed to address.
Unfortunately, Knowledge Management, in its current and foreseeable form, will not likely succeed because it fails to establish a clear, central foundation. Rather, Knowledge Management has generated a large and growing literature and a mania of activity all comprising interesting but isolated ideas of varying utility.
Knowledge Management, at its foundation, divides knowledge into two kinds: explicit and tacit. Explicit knowledge is more like information and tacit knowledge is more difficult, perhaps impossible, to define (sometimes described as how one "knows" how to ride a bicycle). These Knowledge Management foundations grow from well-intentioned, but incomplete study of their intended scope and context. (For a specific epistemological discussion of the stages of this well-intended but incomplete growth, see Harrison’s Liquid Knowledge: Human Values in Knowledge Management.)
Yet, these Knowledge Management foundations are fatally flawed. They have the benefit of simplicity (though not the simplicity needed for the purpose) but they have no universal scope. Although the design of the great pyramids is simple, the physical foundation is immense. Current Knowledge Management seeks to build a great Egyptian scale pyramid on a foundation the size of a postage stamp.
In sharp contrast, the foundation of Liquid Knowledge is both simple and vast.* Liquid Knowledge has conceptual simplicity with a fluid character capable, we believe, of improving meaningful knowledge transfer precisely as electronic digital media continue their astonishing frequently overwhelming unfolding.
A concluding introductory note: the synopsis here has been about today and the future. Please know, again with regard to the integrity of Liquid Knowledge for its stated purpose, that the use of imagery, like that at the heart of Liquid Knowledge, derives directly from Plato, and, much more importantly, the very imagery used in Liquid Knowledge (both in synopsis and specific application) is loyal to and deliberately inspired by and based upon Plato’s axio-epistemological process. (See Plato, "Meno" and Republic.)*
Theory is good, but practice makes perfect. From this point, we will focus on areas of application for Liquid Knowledge, and the claims hereinabove can and should be judged by the practical results Liquid Knowledge achieves.
Even before Liquid Knowledge celebrates its first birthday, we find it insists upon application in the following four major areas of human knowledge transfer.
Professions (Law/Medicine …)
*See Supplement To Liquid Knowledge Executive Summary Below.
Supplement to Liquid Knowledge Executive Summary
July 10, 2002
I hope that, someday, Liquid Knowledge will justify a thorough philosophical examination leading to a systematic recitation. Presently, however, practical tasks take priority, so the following supplement of Liquid Knowledge philosophical foundations is brief and axiomatic.