Keywords - Chapter 7: Knowledge and Learning

Analysing critically – evaluating critically your own and other people’s perspectives, interests and motives.

Analysing functionally – analysing logical connections, cause and effect, structure and function.

Applying appropriately – applying insights to real-world situations and testing their validity.

Applying creatively – making an intervention in the world that is innovative and creative.

Canonical truths – the idea that the highest forms of human culture and knowledge are to be found in bodies of knowledge, theories and great texts – the best of what has been thought and said.

Committed knowledge – ways of knowing that clearly present themselves as more powerful, effective and correct in their outcomes in comparison with others; for example, religious truths, empirical truths, psychological truths, rationalist truths and canonical truths.

Conceptualising by naming – developing categories and defining terms.

Conceptualising with theory – putting the key terms together into theories and making generalisations.

Cultural relativism – the idea that knowledge is created in a cultural context, and that because no culture can regard itself as any better than any other, no knowledge can be regarded as superior.

Empirical truths – the idea that the truth of the world can be obtained through systematic observation, experimentation and verification of ‘facts’.

Epistemological relativism – the idea that everyone’s way of knowing, and other people’s, is just a matter of perspective, and that no one way of knowing is necessarily any better than any other.

Experiencing the known – reflecting on one’s own experiences, interests and perspectives.

Experiencing the new – observing the unfamiliar, immersing oneself in new situations, and reading and recording new facts and data.

Knowledge – the mental stuff inside your head, and a lot more outside. The mental stuff consists of memories of experience and thinking activities that make sense of these experiences. Knowledge is also outside your head – the stuff of your sensuous experience of your body in the world, and knowledge that is at the ready as you need it. The knowledge in your head would be nothing without its connections with what is outside your head. Knowledge, then, is everywhere.

Knowledge repertoires – the idea that you can do a variety of things to know, or use a variety of knowledge processes. Some mixes of different knowledge processes may be more appropriate for some areas of knowledge or sites of learning than others. The more knowledge processes you use in a particular task of knowing or learning, the more reliable and trustworthy the knowledge is likely to be. And whatever the mix, the knowledge maker or learner can demonstrate their knowing and learning more convincingly when they can justify their methods. For example: experiencing the known, experiencing the new, conceptualisingby naming, conceptualising with theory, analysing functionally, analysing critically, applying appropriately or applying creatively.

Postmodernism – a theory that questions whether any knowledge systems should view themselves as superior, including the Western ‘Enlightenment’ and scientific rationality. The voices of marginalised groups and the popular culture of the mass media culture, for instance, may be equally valid as sources of knowledge.

Rationalist truths – the idea that human reason makes sense of the world.

Religious truths – the idea that absolute and ultimate truth derives from a supreme being who created the universe, governs its course and sets ethical parameters for humans. Religious truth is revealed through religious texts, prophets and priests.

Science – the deeper kinds of knowing that are more reliable and trustworthy because they have involved greater focus and methodical effort than everyday, casual or commonsense knowing in the lifeworld.