Thursday, November 19, 2009

More on Techne

Miss Self-Important writes:
"Abstract technical knowledge"? Is that like how I totally know how to change a flat tire in theory, but require people with actual knowledge to rescue me in practice?

That seems to be how he's using it.  Or rather knowledge that one can pass to another about how to do stuff as compared with knowledge that must be gained by experience.  I'm actually not very happy with his distinction or explanation, and Kenney has used it in other papers on terrorism.  Seems to be a go-to in his bag of intellectual tricks or he's really obsessed with it.  My guess actually, is that he's writing for the government and many of the government weenies are impressed with Greek words and think he must know what he's talking about because he's using these esoteric terms.  But it seems that simply saying theoretical learning versus experiential learning would be far simpler.  Nevertheless, his paper does offer some insights.

Yet, I'm far more interested in, and perhaps by consequence come across more often,  the distinction between techne, which in this case means something akin to "mechanical and practical arts" or "craft and craftsmanship", and poiesis, which in this case means "art," but is better understood as some metaphysical level of creation, in that the beauty of poetry is a metaphysical creation.  However, this distinction isn't terribly useful in the context of terrorism because, as I've been saying, it's a fundamentally materialist endeavor.

Then again, maybe my understanding of Techne is off.

1 comment:

Withywindle said...

Speaking as someone who has used the word techne and pretended to know something about it ... the word does actually call for a Skinnerian approach of tracing out what precisely has been meant by it by different people at different times. Ditto poiesis. Ditto, I suppose, most Greek philosophical vocabulary, especially when tortured by fiendish Germans.

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