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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]

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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41 news items

The Bray Online

The Bray Online
Sun, 19 Oct 2014 14:33:45 -0700

... the police force plans to offer Williams said, “We've already partnered with the criminal justice department to have interns work here in the police department so they can get real hands on experience and experiential knowledge from a police ...
 
Santa Barbara Independent
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:45:00 -0700

He has solid experiential knowledge of the operation and management systems needed to run successful restaurants, wine programs, and wholesale beverage operations. In 1996 Jay passed the prestigious Master Sommelier Exam in London, England, ...
 
University of Cincinnati
Wed, 15 Oct 2014 07:11:56 -0700

Students can use their experiential knowledge and apply it to coursework and co-op challenges. They may even discover a new research interest, much like Christian did in the nanolab. Lipa advises other undergraduate students who are interested in ...

Daily Northwestern

Daily Northwestern
Sun, 05 Oct 2014 22:39:10 -0700

Some upperclassmen who had been to this event in previous years said they had the experiential knowledge to navigate the streets more efficiently. “We had a strategical idea of which restaurants we could skip without disappointment, and then knocked ...

The Guardian

The Guardian
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 06:00:41 -0700

... Psychiatrist Association's diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM-5) is the global bible of psychiatry, with its ever-growing list of psychiatric categories, then Mad Matters, bringing together academic and experiential ...
 
Marketwired (press release)
Thu, 09 Oct 2014 05:56:15 -0700

Widely regarded as "the father of gamification," Paharia has a unique insight into the evolution of gamification as well deep experiential knowledge from his work with Fortune 2000 companies across verticals and geographies. Paharia is also the ...
 
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 08:39:39 -0700

And while the pervading mood of the evening was one of mischievous play--a tongue-in-cheek ode of optimism to self-expression and liberated sexual and gender identities--it was always grounded in the experiential knowledge that such freedom often ...
 
ScienceBlog.com (blog)
Sun, 05 Oct 2014 20:56:15 -0700

The deep experiential knowledge of the forests that Mavhunga explores in the book also applies to the tsetse fly, known for transmitting the African “sleeping sickness,” or trypanosomiasis. The tsetse fly inhabits low-lying areas, so vaShona and ...
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