Plato and the Internet: Liberating Knowledge From Our Heads.
In, Philosophy of Engineering: Volume 1 of a the Proceedings of a Series of Seminars Held at the Royal Academy of Engineering, London,
Royal Academy of Engineering, .
My aim in this paper is to look at corporate knowledge engineering and see what it tells us about the philosophy of knowledge. The question I am asking is whether there is anything specific in engineering that could change our understanding of what or how we know. I am interested less in generating a theory of the relationship, rather more in raising a set of questions which I hope will stimulate a dialogue between the disciplines of knowledge and engineering. The distinguished computer scientist Edsger Dijkstra, once said that “Computer science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes”, and in that spirit I want to argue that epistemology is no more about people than astronomy is about telescopes. This paper is in five sections. To begin with, I will provide a caricature of the philosophy of knowledge. Second, I want to look at where traditional epistemology fails to connect with people’s actual problems concerning knowledge. Third, I will look at the situation in reverse and think about who - or what - is the knowing subject and what epistemology would look like if actual practical problems were its starting point. Next will come a brief digression on knowledge technologies, before some tentatively-expressed (but no less firmly held) conclusions about the relationship between engineering and philosophy.
Actions (login required)