Personal Knowledge, Universal Knowledge

Spike Hall is thinking about Knowledge-making and distinguishes between personal knowledge and universal knowledge:

Take learning to ride a bike, for example; […] at the end the learner can do more […] and has, therefore, ‘made knowledge’. But it’s not knowlege-making in the universal sense. The universal sense applies when our new knowledge is also [provably, arguably] new for EVERYBODY. Claims for knowledge-making in the universal sense are addressed in the academic and scientific literature.

I suggest that this universal knowledge is a facet of what General Semanticists would call time-binding, the ability of human beings to learn from prior generations. He continues:

The pursuit of a bit of universal knowledge won’t be unlike the pursuit of personal knowledge; the quest, before it ends, will , however, be more rigorous. This would be so first because establishing its newness in a universal sense has one communicating, explaining, demonstrating to a broad audience. Those that are skeptical about its newness or it’s utility in the environment to which it will apply (remember the equilibrium between individual and environment) will have to be satisfied, through reading descriptions of the inventor’s efforts of study and research, first, and her/his communication/explanation of the artifact itself, second, that it is both useful and new.

…and goes on to wonder how weblogging relates to this

In my next entry I will reconstruct a nonweblogged knowledge-making experience and then I will speculate how the same effort might have been different with weblog mediation.

I’m going to speculate that the way weblogging could help this is as follows:

The obvious benefits of any online medium – wide visibility. The ease of update of a blog helps currency, the use of “recently updated” sites and syndication feeds helps visibility, the tendency of other bloggers to comment on things they have found also increases visibility.
Presenting antecedents and research
Again, any online medium offers (through hyperlinks) potentially easy access to prior art. The use of a frequently updated format such as a weblog has, by effectively publishing the research journal, potential to map out the process clearly and show where the new thoughts have been introduced.
Open dialogue
Through comments and trackbacks there is a visible record of discussion – challenge and response
Proactive application of technology to business

My interests include technology, personal knowledge management, social change