book cover: Matteo Valleriani: The Structures of Practical Knowledge (2017)

M. Valleriani (ed.) The Structures of Practical Knowledge, Springer, 2017.

Project (2014-2017)

The Matrix and Structures of Practical Knowledge

The matrix is a stable structure of epistemic economy. It considers useful aspects of knowledge and spillover effects that enable knowledge produced in a specific context to be used in a different one. The matrix has both a cognitive and a social and material dimension, and links early modern science and its organization to the phenomenon of the Industrial Revolution, considered as a process made sustainable by the positive feedback between material and epistemic economy. The link between the early modern period and the Industrial Revolution is represented by the continuity of knowledge-intensive projects, which required explicit knowledge management and thus also ruling institutions and scientific academies. Examples of such knowledge-intensive enterprises are building projects, military campaigns, journeys of exploration, mining and shipbuilding enterprises, technological gardening, manufacturing, glass, paper, and book production, activities in the frame of metallurgy and brewing, and construction of machines and water supply systems.

The role played by the forms of codification of knowledge, and specifically of practical knowledge during the early modern period, in the framework of the process of formation of stable structures of knowledge is first being investigated. Through the working group “The Structures of Practical Knowledge” (Matteo Valleriani), a variety of research endeavors were compared in order to address questions related to a) the relation between management of knowledge and its codification, b) the mobility—both social and epistemic—of knowledge as depending on how it is codified and externalized, c) the formation of new knowledge systems as abstract systems able to link areas of previously separated knowledge. The results of this project were published in M. Valleriani (ed.) The Structures of Practical Knowledge, Springer, 2017.