Friday, February 6, 2009

PL 18/09: The image of knowledge

Filed under: LATINA — plinius @ 1:51 am

school-of-athensIn the past knowledge resided in persons. Socrates wrote nothing – as far as we know. Plato criticised writing – but wrote a lot, anyhow.

Consistency be damned …

From Aristotle (384-322 BC) to Tim Berners-Lee (1955-) knowledge mostly resided in books. Our picture or image of knowledge is a monograph – or a bookshelf – or a library.

The Library of Congress is supposed to have about thirty million different books – while British Library comes second at twenty-five million. Wow!

Knowledge on the web

Today, we increasingly associate knowledge with the web rather than with books. This means that we become much more aware of

  1. the dispersed or distributed nature of knowledge
  2. the tentative or transient nature of knowledge
  3. the personal and interpersonal nature of knowledge.

Knowledge is not a possession, but a relationship, a practice and a performance.

Links are the currency of the web – and people are entry points.


Plato’s inconsistency – criticising writing in writing – is a central topic in Derrida‘s main book – Of Grammatology.


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