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Experiential knowledge is knowledge gained through experience, as opposed to a priori (before experience) knowledge: it can also be contrasted both with propositional (textbook) knowledge, and with practical knowledge.[1]

Experiential knowledge is cognate to Michael Polanyi's personal knowledge, as well as to Bertrand Russell's contrast of Knowledge by Acquaintance and by Description.[2]

A priori[edit]

In the philosophy of mind, the phrase often refers to knowledge that can only be acquired through experience, such as, for example, the knowledge of what it is like to see colours, which could not be explained to someone born blind: the necessity of experiential knowledge becomes clear if one was asked to explain to a blind person a color like blue.

The question of a priori knowledge might be formulated as: can Adam or Eve know what water feels like on their skin prior to touching it for the first time[citation needed]?

Religion[edit]

Zen emphasises the importance of the experiential element in religious experience,[3] as opposed to what it sees as the trap of conceptualization:[4] as D. T. Suzuki put it, “fire. Mere talking of it will not make the mouth burn”.[5]

Experiential knowledge has also been used in the philosophy of religion as an argument against God's omniscience, questioning whether God could genuinely know everything, since he (supposedly) cannot know what it is like to sin.[6] On the other hand, that God is omniscient squarely lays the foundation of experiential knowledge, lies at its roots and acts as the cornerstone of its theory: In the beginning. It would be impossible for God to relate to a mortal human being with only finite knowledge and capabilities to understand the concept of being God and being omniscient. Therefore, it could be argued that it is the epitome of experiential knowledge.

Ecology[edit]

Writer Barry Lopez writes about experiential knowledge and how it relates back to the environment,[7] arguing that without experiencing nature, one cannot fully "know" and understand the relationships within ecosystems.

Therapy[edit]

Carl Rogers stressed the importance of experiential knowledge both for the therapist formulating his or her theories, and for the client in therapy[8] - both things with which most counsellors would agree.[9]

As defined by Dr. Thomasina Borkman (Emeritus Professor of Sociology, George Mason University) experiential knowledge is the cornerstone of therapy in self-help groups,[10] as opposed to both lay (general) and professional knowledge. Sharing in such groups is the narration of significant life experiences in a process through which the knowledge derived thereof is validated by the group and transformed into a corpus that becomes their fundamental resource and product.

Neville Symington has argued that one of the central features of the narcissist is a shying away from experiential knowledge, in favour of adopting wholesale a ready-made way of living drawn from other people's experience.[11]

Culture[edit]

Helen Vendler has characterised Seamus Heaney's art as, in one respect, recording an experiential learning curve: “we are earthworms of the earth, and all that / has gone through us is what will be our trace”.[12]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Philip Burnard, Counselling Skills for Health Professionals (2005) p. 64
  2. ^ Bertrand Russell, Mysticism and Logic (1954) Ch. 5
  3. ^ Dadid K. Reynolds, The Quiet Therapies (1982) p. 95
  4. ^ C. Cheng-Chi, The Practice of Zen (1951) p. 71
  5. ^ Quoted in Reynolds, p. 95
  6. ^ experiential knowledge
  7. ^ Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams (1999)
  8. ^ Carl Rogers, On Becoming a Person (1961) p. 184 and p. 103
  9. ^ Burnard, p. 64-5 and p. 78
  10. ^ K. Humphries, Circles of Recovery (2003) p. 15
  11. ^ N. Symington, Narcissism (1993) p. 88
  12. ^ Heaney, quoted in H. Bloom ed., Seamus Heaney (1986) p. 174

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Experiential_knowledge — Please support Wikipedia.
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662 news items

 
TheStreet.com
Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:22:24 -0800

Economies around the world have been manipulated by a group of academic economists with no or very little first-hand experience in the real world economy and little experiential knowledge of the inner-workings of private sector businesses. Obviously ...

Huffington Post

Huffington Post
Wed, 10 Feb 2016 05:41:15 -0800

However, crucially, your interactions with all of these individuals throughout your life will impart experiential knowledge upon you. This knowledge will come in all forms -- from learning new skills and improving your storytelling, to learning how to ...

MuslimVillage.com (press release) (blog)

MuslimVillage.com (press release) (blog)
Sat, 13 Feb 2016 05:18:45 -0800

This type of divine love occurs with an epiphany upon the beloved, the fruit of which is manifest in this world due to the divine witnessing and vision that occurs in the imaginal7 realm; or it occurs with other things also, as an effusion of ...

The Independent | SUindependent.com

The Independent | SUindependent.com
Mon, 08 Feb 2016 06:03:45 -0800

... student development theory with practical knowledge and experience in her work with local nonprofits, school districts, government agencies, local municipalities, residents, and businesses in a way that enhanced her experiential knowledge of ...
 
AllAfrica.com
Sat, 06 Feb 2016 01:45:00 -0800

... is true, I believe certain things and core roles of journalists will never be taken away -- until, of course, robots develop a perfectly human-like mind with the ability not only to analyse, interpret and forecast but also develop and use ...

University of Virginia

University of Virginia
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 12:37:30 -0800

... an opinion on the harvest of marine mammals, the advantages and disadvantages of various harvesting methods, and I've been able to get to know more people in the environmental sciences department and gain some experiential knowledge from people ...

TriValley Central

TriValley Central
Wed, 20 Jan 2016 00:11:36 -0800

Having experiential knowledge of what dialysis patients go through motivated Stella to help others. “The treatments are very difficult on your body,” she said. “After each treatment you feel like your energy has been drained. Sometimes you feel nausea ...

The Times of Israel

The Times of Israel
Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:58:52 -0800

The Eastern religions and some of the esoteric traditions really focus their understanding of the Godhead on experiential knowledge. That also happened in Judaism originally. Meditation offered an experience of God, of the spiritual realm of oneness ...
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