This is a problem when teaching and training, because the what the teacher can tell the student is only a part - often only a small part - of what needs to be learned. This is why practice is so important, especially in bodily and sensory activity like sports.
It is a problem when working together e.g. in business settings, e.g. politics. Decisions are made and should be justified. Yet only part of the rationale for them is put in writing. It is only the explicit part of the knowledge that can be used in justifying decisions, whereas the true, full justification remains tacit; indeed it is often the most important part that is tacit.
Some tacit knowledge is because it is pre-analytical ('physical'). Some is because of hidden agendas, but some is because it is intuitive knowledge. Some was known when we first learned a skill, but years later this has become 'internalized' and cannot be explained easily - though perhaps, if we try hard enough to remember back, we can explain it.
Tacit knowledge is poorly understood. Polanyi believed that 'true' tacit knowledge can never be explicated (put into concepts and words). Others, such as Nonaka & Takeuchi believe that at least some can be made explicit, and built a model of how this occurs in social settings. How can we explicate it - analytically, or by stories, or what? There is much confusion. How do we understand tacit knowledge?
|Aspect||Its meaning||Tacit knowing||Example||C/X?|
|Physical||Forces, energy, mass||
|Biotic/organic||Life, organism||How our bodies have grown||Muscles grow in response to exercise||No/No|
|Sensitive/psychic||Sensing, feeling, emotion||Pre-conceptual memory||Riding a bicycle||No/No|
|Analytical||Distinction, concepts, Abstraction, logic||
Maybe: Awareness of things, but without thinking about them |
Maybe: intuitive understanding
|Maybe: Watching the road while driving||Maybe/No|
|Formative||Deliberate shaping, Technology, skill, history)||Skills (conceptual or physical) that have been long learned and internalised||Doctor diagnosing problems of patients||Yes/No|
|Lingual||Symbolic signification||Proficiency in a language ?||Conversing, writing||Yes/Maybe|
|Social||Relationships, roles||Relating to other people whom we know||Doing what a person known to us expects, without our thinking about it||Yes/Yes|
|Economic||Frugality, resources; Management||Frugal habits and attitude in thought and action||Economy of words in a poem||Yes/Yes|
Harmonising our knowledge; |
Awareness of the whole, holistic attitude;
Intuition for harmony, fun, humour
During a heated debate, you sense a wider picture; |
Seeing the funny side of things.
|Juridical||'Due', appropriateness; Rights, responsibilities||Sense of appropriateness or justice built up over a long period||Judges in court often have this, but cannot explain it without much deliberation; authors also develop it.||Yes/Yes|
|Ethical||Attitude, Self-giving love||Feeling for, and practice of, self-giving goodness||True heroism has this, without being aware of it (as well as pistic courage)||Yes/Yes|
|Pistic/Faith||Faith, commitment, belief; Vision of who we are||Certainty and commitment||Genuine religious faith that leads willingness to go against self||Yes/Yes|
Note 1: 'C/X?' indicates whether tacit knowledge of this kind might be conceptualizable in thought and explicable in language. 'Yes' usually means 'Yes with difficulty'.
Note 2: These are all my initial informed guesses, there is a lot more, and I might have got completely the wrong slant. So, think about it.
This page is part of a collection that discusses possible and actual research using or into Herman Dooyeweerd's ideas, within The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Email questions or comments would be welcome.
Written on the Amiga and Protext.
You may use this material subject to conditions. Compiled by Andrew Basden.
Created: 6 September 2014. Last updated: