Subjectivity – Cop Out or Catch-22 ?

Catch 22 or The Ultimate Cop-Out ?
I am clearly proceeding in an unashamedly unscientific way.
Effectively, I already know I am right and am seeking not so much supporting evidence, as meaningful, useful, implementable ways of expressing what is needed. I’d like to think I’d notice if I came across significant counter evidence. What was that about western arrogance ? I have to say, however, that every experience (new or existing) re-inforces the central hypothesis, neatly summarised in the Nonaka / Chun Wei Choo quotation below. Interestingly, even staunch defenders of the scientific method, and the preservation of doubt (such as Feynman), leave us the escape route that such method is not necessarily applicable to human / social sciences (sic). Knowledge Modelling appears to be one such subjective subject. Ethnographic / behavioural studies are much closer to the truth. (Walsham / Myers et al.)

Clive Holtham’s KM Pages

Another Knowledge Management and Organisational Learning Link
Clive Holtham’s KM links page. Also Clive’s home page at CUBS.
Broad and varied range of links included – though no links to original material. Interesting Creativity stuff in addition to usual KM. Can find no reference to his earlier Warp & Weft concepts of Data / Info / Knowledge / Wisdom.
Interesting link to Intelligent Learning Organisation by Chun Wei Choo. The link from Holtham is an old one – to a draft of what is now a book in its third edition. Worth following-up Negative Entropy = Information also Information Processes / Organisational Behaviour / Organisational Learning / Decision Making and the Meaning of Life ! I think this guy has got it. All the right ingredients and a sense of humour – unbeatable. Quote from Nonaka, quoted by Chun Wei Choo in his Digital Libraries Singapore Conference paper based on Chapter 8 of his Intelligent Learning Organisation book.

The centerpiece …. is the recognition that creating new knowledge is not simply a matter of “processing” objective information. Rather, it depends on tapping the tacit and often highly subjective insights, intuitions, and hunches of individual employees and making those insights available for testing and use by the company as a whole. The key to this process is personal commitment, the employees’ sense of identity with the enterprise and its mission. Mobilizing that commitment and embodying tacit knowledge in actual technologies and products require ….. A company is not a machine but a living organism. Much like an individual, it can have a collective sense of identity and fundamental purpose. This is the organizational equivalent of self-knowledge – a shared understanding of what the company stands for, where it is going, what kind of world it wants to live in, and, most important, how to make that world a reality. … In the knowledge-creating [learning organisation] company, inventing new knowledge is not a specialized activity – the province of the R&D department or marketing or strategic planning. It is a way of behaving, indeed a way of being, in which everyone is a knowledge worker …..
(Nonaka) UnQuote [my bold emphasis]

In other words it reinforces the fact that Enterprise Information Models need a subjective / non-classical basis if they are to be any use.

[Historical Note – Spotted and introduced myself to Clive Holtham at a “PRIMA” conference in London 5 or 6 years ago, where the import of his “soft” paper appeared to go unrecognised in an alien “hard” engineering field in the Process Industries. Looks like he’s moved on to bigger and better things.]

Jorn’s Early AI Memoirs

Early AI History according to RobotWisdom
These are Jorn’s memoirs from the Institute of Learning Sciences at Northwestern University, from which he was fired in 1992. For “AI” in RobotWisdom read Knowledge Modelling, with a human / behavioural slant. Reminded to re-read by the Arthur Andersen / Roger Schank Virtual Learning reference in the New York Metro on the Andersen / Enron fallout. (The story, by JJCramer of, also for the Auditor / Consultant scam content.)

Interesting too, ironic actually, given my empathy for Jorn’s line of thinking, and his falling-out with Schank / ILS, that Schank’s company should be called “Socratic Arts“. It’s yet another classical vs non-classical reasoning battle. No problem with Schank’s Virtual Learning approach – Heuristic, with low-risk “space to fail” simulator environment – basic common sense as used for decades in high-health-and-safety-risk industries. His success stories in selling simulator packages is like any application software success – Provided the application domain is reasonably clearly defined, a classical-rational information model will suffice. This appears to be more a matter of (engagingly / efficiently / effectively) “teaching” something that is already known, rather than learning new knowledge. Excellent training strategy, but pretty limited for “learning organisation” aspirations. (Interesting independant summary / commentary on Virtual Learing from JJJKasvi, Helsinki University of Technology – interesting source of other KM material.)

Same issue with Chris Gray’s stuff (JIMS Cambridge) on organisational learning ?
Same confusion between “education” and “knowledge” ?

Sieving Electrons – Classification with Emergent Patterns

Sieving Electrons ?
Classification, literally meaning fitering by pass / no-pass screening or sieving.
Even Pirsig (Lila) talks about classification in a strictly (classical) binary fashion, when a thought struck me. There is surely some parallel between emergent “quantum computing” QuBits being non-binary / dualist, and the wave / particle duality experienced when “sieving” (classifying) electrons through a diffraction slit. Non-binary Classification could be a key concept, or is it just a linguistic coincidence. You may have heard it here first ?

One of a million (well probably more like 200) thoughts fired-off whilst reading about 50 pages of Lila last night, before running into an unexpected quantity of sake at Magdelen. (At this rate I’ll have about 4 pages of notes per page of Lila, and it should take about 2 months just to read it – I may as well re-write the book in my own words – but could it be any improvement on the awesome original – could it really be even better than ZMM ? – beginning to look that way.)

Another thought.
Many a true word, spoken in jest – discuss.
Hardly surprising, in a world which is rationally pre-conditioned and politically correct, you cannot “seriously” say what really needs to be communicated, so you resort to black humour or say nothing. No wonder rhetoric, metaphor and the novel are important vehicles of communication. (And court jesters no doubt – research)

Reading Matter Update

Been Reading / Re-Reading ….
Still haven’t got my bibliography fully up and running, but have been reading, re-reading and annotating furiously recently, so I’m just capturing the books involved in the process. Spookily again – Pirsig’s Lila focussed in the early passages on the authors battle to capture many diverse thoughts in a card index system, when he didn’t really know what case / argument he was trying to construct – a flexible way of cataloguing and linking “thoughts” which are clearly linked by gut-feel relevance and importance, but no coherent thread. Exactly where I am now. I’m trying an XML database approach, for capturing Mind-Map / Fuzzy Cognitive Map content, rather than a pile of index cards, but who knows I may find the lo-tech solution the better option !

Don’t bother reading this entry – it’s just a brain dump in need of organisation.

Douglas Adams – re-reading everything, partcularly Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and Long Dark Teatime of the Soul, together with his H2G2 web-site stuff and his commentaries on people and technology for the BBC.
John Z Delorean / J Patrick Wright – re-reading On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors.
T E Lawrence – re-reading Seven Pillars of Wisdom (for the 6th time ! – this time capturing annotation.)
Franz Kafka – recently read for the first time Metamorphosis and Aeroplanes at Brescia, and starting The Trial, The Judgement and The Penal Colony
Friedrich Nietzsche – Thus Spake Zarathustra recently part-read for the first time. After reading the superb contemporary notes by Anthony M Ludovici – Will go back to some of Nietzsche’s earlier works before attempting to complete – difficult biblical style, but nevertheless compelling thought.
Bart Kosko – Fuzzy Thinking – mentioned below.
Ian Stewart – Does God Play Dice – mentined below.
John Maddox – What Remains to be Discovered – re-reading
Richard Feynman – just finished The Pleasure of Finding Things Out and The Meaning of it All. Will probably have to read more and also Murray Gell-Mann.
Charles Handy – just re-read Inside Organisations and The Age of Unreason, looking at The Gods of Management and others. Dionysus keeps recurring – a bad penny like Poincarre – only joking perhaps. TRM must research / read more Poincarre.
Tom Peters – scan re-read ISOE and also Thriving on Chaos.
Frederick Bodmer – re-reading The Loom of Language.
Nils Brunsson – re-reading The Irrational Organisation.
Jostein Gaardner – Sophie’s World, re-reading, previously incomplete. Not a patch on Pirsig, but similar intent to couch history of philosophy in a novel. Just not as compelling or as driven by a clear objective (ie too objective “scientific” ! ?)
Eugene Herrigel – only part read Zen in the Art of Archery, must re-start and complete. Too literally about Zen (unlike ZATAOMM, so educational on that subject, but not my main thread I fear.) Presumably inspired Pirsig’s title though ?
Lao Tsu – part read Tao Te Ching. Obligatory background poem on Zen Tao (“the way” of Zen Buddhist philosophy).
Michael Talbot – re-reading Mysticism and the New Physics the first book I read that made explicit link between these subjects, apart from allegorical / fictional.
Dave Edmonds / John Eidenow – read Wittgenstein’s Poker. Excelllent biographical backround on Wittgenstein and Popper and other contemporaries, as well as introduction to philosophy and history of philosophy – source of many references to follow-up.
Jim Powell – Post-Modernism for Beginners – although communication is key, main threads are art, architecture and the media, and the need to seek meaning on multiple levels simultaneously – entertaining summary and history, and a source of more serious references on Modernists, Late Modernists and Post Modernists. (All French – nearly.)
Ilya Prigogine – The End of Certainty. – Disappointing, given the guy’s credentials and the title – seems mainly a packaging of Chaos and Complexity. Will need to re-read once I’ve followed some of the references further.
Graham Priest – Introduction to Non-Classical Logic – gets deep and mathematically formal and tough very quickly – but some good insight as to what is involved.
Werner Heisenberg – The Physical Principles of Quantum Theory. Everyone quotes his uncertainty principle, I thought I better read the original source stuff.
Martin Rees – Just Six Numbers
Hans Walser – The Golden Ratio
John Gribben / Kate Charlesworth – A Cartoon History of Time. Refreshes parts the other book cannot reach. Fun but informative.
Friedrich Durrenmatt – Die Physiker / The Physicists – reading the original German (now accompanied by English translation.)
And surprisingly, many more.

So many notes, so little order or organisation – Aaaaggghhh !!!

Collecting KM Links

Knowledge Management Links
A whole host of interesting KM theory and related links resulting from a Google search.
Interesting essays, with similar synchronicity between geometry and east / west, subjective / objective knowledge views, plus the Golden Mean Dicussion Group.
e-Biz KM organisation founded by Yogesh Malhotra. Many citations from e-Biz Gurus, major Consultancies and Educational Institutions.
A Knowledge Representation Conference in Toulouse, April 2002. Pepers requested.
A presentation by Andre Soto of ASME concering rational, subjective, transactional, process and cultural knowledge views. Background sought.
Some really formal stuff about knowledge representation using graph symbology for propositional and predicate calculus by Dr Dickson Lukose, Uni of New England.
1997 Paper on “Belief Update in Multi-Agent Systems” by Tad Kellogg and Piotr J. Gmytrasiewicz, Uni of Texas at Arlington. Involves some interesting stuff on Bayesian analysis.
Using Explicit Ontologies in KBS Development, by G. van Heijst A.Th. Schreiber B.J. Wielinga, Uni of Amsterdam.
Remedial Genius by Derek Cabrera. Self promotional web-site focussing on “Knowledge Age Organisations”
Quote : The Association for Integrative Studies serves as an organized voice and a national source of information on integrative and interdisciplinary approaches to the discovery, transmission and application of knowledge. Unquote. Some good links. Stangley hosted by the “Miami Unix Collective” !
1995 Bibliography of Knowledge in Organizations, By Laurence Prusak and Suzanne Connolly, Ernst & Young LLP. Hosted at Bo Newman’s “Knowledge Management Forum” – last updated in 2000.
Information Does Not Equal Knowledge: Theorizing the Political Economy of Virtuality, by Marcus Breen, Uni of North Carolina. Some interesting polical correctness aspects of why information does not equal knowledge.
1996 Information Behaviour : An Interdisciplinary Perspective.A report to the British Library Research & Innovation Centre on a review of the literature, by Professor Tom Wilson and Christina Walsh, of Sheffield Uni, UK.
Abstract of Dimensions in Epistemic Logic : Substantive Rationality and Backward Induction by Joseph Halpern. Hosted by The Danish Network for Philosophical Logic and its Applications. Next conference Oct / Nov 2002.
Rational Philosophy for the Spiritual Quest. Somewhat Jungian perspectives on the whacky web site of Andrew Stanworth. Includes paper on “The Fundamental Particles of Information Processing”. Query Quantum Computing. (Contact made and correspondence on this subject June 2002)
Personal web-site of Sean Gould, Engineer and Amateur Philosopher (like me!). Has published “New Model of Evolution” and is part of the Darwin Web Ring. Also has some interesting philosophical content.
A precis of The Rationality of Metaphor: An Analysis Based on the Philosophy of Language and Communication Theory, by Bernhard Debatin. Ooh good ! now have an external link from model to “metaphor” too. (See metaphor, analogy, model, reality thread.)
Learning and capability stuff and much more by Stan Lester. Private research consultant in Taunton, UK
Broken Link ! Who is R B Jones ?
Reason, Revolution, Relativism, and Reactionaries, by Dr. Charles Ess, Drury Uni. Overtly “religious”, but some key threads on excessive rationality in western dualism.