Reading An Introduction to Connective Knowledge By Stephen Downes.
(This picture is part of a painting from Rembrand, “philosopher”)
“You probably grew up learning that there are two major types of knowledge: qualitative and quantitative.” (I did not in all this years of philosophy, maybe this is a difference in culture? a Wikipedia article on the subject is not existing) My guess after reading some more of the post: it is about counting and describing)
“Emergence is interpretation applied to connections.” Emergence is what comes into being when things are connected.
“Our interpretations of connections … distinct from the actual set of interactions that may exist in the world.” Downes sees a gap between knowledge and <das Ding an sich>
“Inference is, broadly speaking, the manipulation of these bits of knowledge, in the abstract, to produce new bits of knowledge.” This way of generating new knowledge is rather suspect. I would not always use knowledge for this ‘infererenced’ stuff, I would suggest <hypotheses>.
“Some connections are more salient (most noticeable or important) than others. Inference is the observation of salient similarities among thoughts and perceptions.” Salient is dependent on situation, personal circumstances and history.
“A scale-free network ….. some entities in the network have a much higher degree of connectedness than others.”
“Where structures of connections (ie., networks) differ from sets of observations or measurements is that there is in principle no external entity to which we can appeal in order to check our understanding” Is this different from the impossibility or difficulties to check our perceptions? “What is needed is to attain a middle point, where full connectivity is achieved, but where inpulses in the network ebb and flow, where impulses generated by phenomena are checked against not one but a multitide of competing and even contradictory impulses.”
The last sentences of the article are:
” History is replete with examples of the mind of one man, or one group in power, distorting the mechanisms of media to their own ends.
The examples range from very large to very small, from the rise of totalitarianism to the propagation of genocide to gender sterotypes, mass media marketing, and propaganda. Practitioners vary from dictators to slave owners to misogynists. The history of repression walks hand in hand with the history of the distortion of connective knowledge.
The purpose of this paper is not to provide truth, but to point the way toward the correction of these errors, both in ourselves and in our society. To show that, through attention to the underlying framework informing social and public knowledge, we can find a new renaissance, not perfection, but perhaps, a world less filled with ignorance and superstition.
Freedom begins with living free, in sharing freely, in celebrating each other, and in letting others, too, to live free. Freedom begins when we understand of our own biases and our own prejudices; by embracing autonomy and diversity, interaction and openness, we break through the darkness, into the light.”