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Knowledge: Lore, Practice, Engineering, Systemics

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
This is another segment from David Hays (1995) The Evolution of Technology Through Four Cognitive Ranks, New York, Metagram Press. It is section 2.3.1 from Chapter 2, “Ranks, Revolutions, and Paideias.” Hays provides a brief sketch of the different kinds of knowledge characteristic of each cognitive rank.
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I love tools, as you would expect of a writer on technology. My computer monitor stopped working while I was writing the first draft of Chapter 1, and I replaced it instantly because I cannot write without it. But I love thought, and the cognitive tools of thought, even more. The changes in technology from rank to rank are wide and deep; they seem inexplicable without changes in thinking.

For the kinds of thought that produce the technologies of the four ranks, for what I called know-how, Benzon and I have these names:

Rank 1 Lore
Rank 2 Practice
Rank 3 Engineering
Rank 4 Systemics
(Fig 2.1 shows some characteristics of lore, practice, engineering, and systemics, rank by rank. The content of the figure is speculative and a little more technical than the main narrative.)
Figure 2.1 – Characteristics of the Ranks

Rank 1


Thinking is analogous to action.   Child learns from parent by example.   Skills belong to families.   An innovation is an intuitive leap.

Rank 1.2

Ideas from one craft applied in another.

Knowledge: Lore, practice, engineering, systemicsKnowledge: Lore, practice, engineering, systemics

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