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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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34 news items

 
Hesperia Star
Mon, 27 Oct 2014 12:30:00 -0700

To date, there has been very little meaningful consultation with local communities about where projects should go and even less integration of community values and experiential knowledge into decision making. The result has been that desert communities ...

The Epoch Times

The Epoch Times
Thu, 30 Oct 2014 02:56:15 -0700

While manning her booth at the Expo with a smile, information brochures, and years of experiential knowledge, she explained the benefits of exercising the Rollover funding option. “You can buy a franchise with the help of your 401K and still be debt free.

K-State Collegian

K-State Collegian
Thu, 23 Oct 2014 23:48:29 -0700

This is safer, more time-efficient and still gives students experiential knowledge. “I believe bringing livestock to campus is beneficial because some of the people in class don't have any livestock background so it helps them to learn more and allows ...
 
The Abington Journal
Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:34:19 -0700

“Under her leadership and valuable experiential knowledge, the Earth Camp students were immersed in learning about water and other important aspects of the environment, from aquatic macro-invertebrates, seine fishing, boat safety, the park's watershed, ...

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 ...
 
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 ...

MIT News

MIT News
Sun, 05 Oct 2014 21:00:35 -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 ...

The Guardian

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

I wish the article had given more detail on how the mad studies approach differs from previous thinking and how it avoids the experiential knowledge being over-ruled by the academic (not to mention by the pressure of reducing finances and lack of ...
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