Finding the meaning of knowledge

Somehow deep down we all know what knowledge means but it costs us a lot to explain it in a simple straightforward manner. Even “a justified true belief”, one of the most popular definitions, is rather complex when you start to think of the components that led to it. This only reflects the undeniable complex nature of knowledge.

Even if we go up to someone and ask them for their definition of knowledge, they will look up and think for awhile. Very few are actually able to explain it without hesitating and maybe 4 out of 10 answers will be similar. Truth is, everyone defines it in a very particular way. If you don’t believe it just ask the nearest group of people and see what they have to say.

For professionals in the fields of research and development, knowledge management, innovation, talent development, etc this is very important since it is directly related to the essence of what they are supposed to do. Even school children nowadays are taught theory of knowledge because it’s considered vital for them to design their own learning path.

Now that we are reaching the end of another year, I wonder if it is the right time to open up the question again. I am sure that our understanding of knowledge has evolved in some way since the rise of social networks and the evolution of communication methods (specially amongst the younger generation) have changed the way we develop and transfer knowledge.

Let us take a moment to reflect about this and finally share our definition for knowledge. I will collect all definitions in order to analyze them, pick up patterns from various groups and finally share the results with you all. since this post is likely to be shared on various pages such as linkedin forums, I will take the liberty of copying any contribution and place them in this blog so that anyone can see them in just one place.

Remember that there is no right or wrong answer. Just contribute with your experience and forget about early theories. I can assure you that the results will change our current perception on knowledge. There are also no limits regarding who can participate. All views are welcomed and will be received with the upmost appreciation.

In order to kick off, let me share my definition of knowledge:


©Jose Carlos Tenorio Favero

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9 responses to “Finding the meaning of knowledge

  1. First contribution comes from Johnell Henery, archives specialist from Guyana:

    Knowledge is a collection of information and skills acquired through our interaction and formal education that can be used for our own personal benefits or to share with others for a defined purpose. It is therefore tacit or explicit by nature.

  2. From James Wolfe, Senior Systems Engineer (USA):

    A definition developed in my KMI class was “Understanding through experience and sharing.” (I think that’s close). What’s key to KMs, of course, is the ‘sharing’ part. But then, we need to be able to define ‘understanding’.

  3. I like the definition of the Oxford dictionary, starting with:
    facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education
    …since it also includes ‘skills’, where these are not included in the ‘true justified belief’ of Plato

  4. Here’s my take on this: Knowledge is the convergence of internally processed sensory experiences. Everything an individual has seen, heard, tasted, smelled, and felt – including emotional reactions to these stimulii – comes together in one’s consciousness to create personal knowledge. One’s ability to communicate from the well of one’s personal knowledge-base is what gives us the capacity to progress collectively. Thus, the communal sharing of knowledge, and our commensurate ability to analyze, compare, correlate, and build on our personal and communal knowledge-bases is at the heart of the human drive for discovery.

  5. First , i want you to know that information can be in different shapes : Data ; Information or knowledge
    Second , instead of giving you the definition of knowledge i ll tell you how it is created :
    well to creat knowledge , humain brain collects daily very diffrent types of information from his envirement then in order to understand it ; humain brain gives a shape to this infomation through his experiences ”his know how ;his know do; his know be ;his skills …etc ” so it turns to knowledge 🙂

  6. From Celia Briceno, IT specialist, Belize

    knowledge is a list of information that has been gathered through an individuals life, be it by reading or life experiences; your own or others. it is a sequence of occurrences that allows you as individuals to make decisions based on personal or other references.

  7. From Md Santo, KM consultant, Indonesia

    Knowledge is the output of knowing tools or knowing element, evolved as emergent property, having consciousness as their attribute and measured with Knowledge Value (KV) measurement inside complexity

    See the complete answer here>

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