[OPE] intermission: value of knowledge

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Thu Nov 19 2009 - 03:30:47 EST

Hi Dogan,

The distinction between knowledge and information is exceptionally important
for the transformation of intellectual property into a tradeable commodity.

Namely, knowledge can exist only within human bodies, and requires conscious
awareness, i.e. a knower.

Information is something that can be lodged in some kind of recording
device, in a social relation, or in the human body.

By the time that we confuse knowledge with information, however, we have
reified knowledge by substituting an object for the knowing subject.

But not only that, we cannot understand on this basis the forms in which
intellectual property is turned into a commodity, or the politics of
knowledge - because we have confused object and subject.

There is nowadays a large literature on the "knowledge economy" but most of
it is rubbish, because it is written by academics who have never been
outside a stuffy lecture hall.

You begin to understand about knowledge and information only when you have a
lot of experience of how knowledge and information is actually used in the
workforce. Personally, I have worked not only as teacher, but as translator,
statistician, library officer and archivist/documentalist and I can say that
experience has changed my whole idea about the topic.

Philosophers invent conceptual distinctions as quickly as I cut a slice of
bread, with no real consequence.

But you begin to learn about conceptual distinctions only when those
distinctions practically matter and have real effects on people. In that
case, "how you cut your slice of bread" really does matter, and it can make
the difference between eating and not eating.


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Received on Thu Nov 19 03:33:35 2009

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