Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Techne is one of those words that I think are incredibly useful as a concept if we all know and agree what it means, but it too often requires some sort of explanation of what exactly the person using it does mean. Case in point (PDF):
These assumptions beg an important, yet understudied, question: how do terrorists actually acquire the information and expertise they need to carry out acts of political violence? The answer, this study shows, depends on the type of knowledge being acquired. Abstract technical knowledge, or techne, lends itself to codification in knowledge-based artifacts and can be readily taught through formal instruction. While techne is important to terrorists, it is not their only, or even their most important, source of knowledge. Terrorists also rely on experiential knowledge and cunning intelligence, in a word mētis, to develop the practical expertise that allows them to perform violent acts in local settings. Mētis helps account for the resilience of “Islamist terrorism” since the war on terror began seven years ago.

1 comment:

Miss Self-Important said...

"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?

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