Shared knowledge has been known to shape personal knowledge in various areas of knowledge. Throughout our life as individuals, we strive to harness different forms of knowledge. We acquire information from distinct sources in our community and society and then try to interpret them using our knowledge matrix and ways of knowing such as reason, language, and intuition. Knowledge can, therefore, be divided into two distinct groups, personal and shared knowledge. Personal knowledge is the knowledge that acquired through personal involvement and individual experience. On the other hand, shared knowledge is the knowledge that is conveyed to a community or group. Shared knowledge has for a long time been the knowledge we believe to be the collective truth in the community. Personal knowledge can be distinguished from shared knowledge in that it resonates from individual experiences, which do not reflect or mirror the rest of the community. Society however often influences some of our perspectives and thus can be seen to shape our knowledge. Therefore, it is essential to determine whether it is possible for an individual to distinguish between personal and shared knowledge.
In this paper, I will examine how shared knowledge shapes personal knowledge with reference to natural science and arts through reason and perception as ways of knowledge.
In natural science, shared knowledge often shapes personal knowledge in many distinct ways. One of them is when the characteristic that scientists have in common affects the way and method they interpret common knowledge. One of these aspects presents itself in the form of scientific theories. Scientific theories have been influential in shaping the way experts explain different aspects of science and have helped them hypothesize further individual theories and formulas. A good example that supports this claim is Albert Einstein’s E=M2 (Rosenstick 312). This formula is common knowledge among most scientists and has shaped their personal views of the world. As a result, most of these scientists have been able to utilize and improve areas that depended on this formula.
On the counterclaim, it can also be argued that personal knowledge also can shape shared knowledge. For example in the situation whereby an individual scientist deviates from the standard method used by his fellow experts to perform a particular experiment. By using ways of knowing such as intuition, he applies his knowledge to generate results that have a similar conclusion to his peers who in turn used the standard methods. In the end, this scientist will influence his peers, as they will have to decipher whether his method is a more appropriate way to generate results.
Shared knowledge in Arts can be described as an artist’s cultural background, which includes his race and community (Everts). On the other hand, personal knowledge in the arts is the personal manner or process that artists interpret the shared knowledge available to the community. One of the ways that shared knowledge shapes personal knowledge in this discipline is the manner in which the cultural background of a specific artist influences their artistry and the way they produce it. Shared knowledge in the Arts is however not confined to artists who share a similar cultural background or race. An example that supports this claim is the art of mixing colors. Artists who come from different countries such as Japan and Spain will eventually share the same knowledge when it comes to mixing colors. The shared knowledge, in this case, is the ability to realize that if you mix certain colors, they result in a specific color. This thus shapes their knowledge in the way they use a specific color in their artistry. By applying ways of knowing such as the sense of perception, their knowledge of mixing colors will influence how they apply this specific color in their paintings.
On the counterclaim, it is also right to surmise that personal knowledge can shape shared knowledge. Personal knowledge in arts is when an individual conveys his feelings and experiences through his medium. This personal knowledge can shape the shared knowledge by influencing how other artists mimic this unique personal style. Pablo Picasso is an artist who ideally exemplifies this claim. For the early parts of the 20th Century, Picasso was referred to, as an innovator, and he possessed a unique and entirely original style. As time progressed, Picasso personified the Cubism style, which served as a significant building block for most of the modern art movement (Jones). Therefore, his knowledge shaped the shared knowledge in the art community.
In conclusion, the shared knowledge in natural science which represents what scientists have in common, in one way or the other shapes the way the individual experts interpret this common knowledge. As shown in the study, scientists are presented with shared knowledge in the form of scientific theories. However, the way they interpret this scientific theory using their personal experiences is different and shows how shared knowledge shapes personal knowledge. On the other hand, in arts, the shared knowledge is represented by the cultural background of a specific artist, which influences his personal view of art, which in this case can be considered personal knowledge. Therefore, the shared knowledge helps the expert to produce his art and its art itself.
Everts, Marijke. A Space Between Cultures. Identity in Contemporary Art. 5 October 2014. 25 January 2018
Jones, Jonathan. The joy of cubism. 26 April 2010. 26 January 2018
Rosenstick, Sarita. “On Einstein algebras and relativistic spacetimes.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics 52.1 (2015): 309-316.