All Life Is Problem Solving

Joe Firestone’s Blog on Knowledge and Knowledge Management

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I’m Joe Firestone and this is my blog on all things knowledge, knowledge processing, and knowledge management. I named it “All Life Is Problem Solving” after the title of a book by Karl Popper because I think Popper had it right when he viewed the essential characteristic of life as problem solving, otherwise known as the process of making new knowledge when old knowledge won’t work in changed circumstances. In Popper’s view, life stays alive by problem solving and generating knowledge, that is, by learning. This applies to the Amoeba and To Einstein alike. It is true of the humblest creatures and also of human beings. It is also true of human collectives, of our groups, our communities, our organization, and our societies. It is not true that our collectives must “grow or die.” But it is true that they must adapt or die, and this fact places “knowledge,” its creation, its integration (diffusion, distribution, communication), its successes and failures, and also its management at the center of human existence.

This blog, again is about knowledge, its processing, and its management. By knowledge processing I mean seeking, recognizing, and formulating problems, creating, discovering, or producing new knowledge, integrating that knowledge. But I don’t mean merely using knowledge in decision making and acting. Everyone is always doing that and its routine use in deciding and acting is no concern to Knowledge Management, or this blog. (On the scope of Knowledge Management, see my book with Mark W, McElroy, Key Issues in the New Knowledge Management.)

On the other hand all things knowledge, knowledge processing and knowledge management are of interest here at whatever level of life or society they exist. Sometimes I’ll be talking about work in biology and neural science, sometimes about things like the body-mind problem, and about ontology and epistemology. Sometimes I’ll be talking about individual level KM, and even though I’ll most frequently focus at the organizational level of human behavior. Occasionally, I’ll be commenting on these matters at the level of whole societies.

Even though most of Knowledge Management today concerns itself mostly with factual and descriptive matters and with how things work. I believe that knowledge also exists in the areas of Value, Ethical, and Normative Theory. It’s been a long-term interest of mine to develop the foundations of objectivist value inquiry. This stuff has nothing to do with Ayn Rand, whom I’ve always considered a quack, rather than a legitimate philosopher. But it does have to with the application of evolutionary epistemology to the realm of human value knowledge.

Other areas of my interest you’ll find comments on here, include complex adaptive systems theory, IT applications in KM (I’m the author of Enterprise Information Portals and Knowledge Management), risk reduction and management focused on reducing the risk of error (I’m the author of a book called Knowledge Management and Risk), and occasionally politics (I’m a Ph.D. in Comparative Politics and International Relations), when I think that my work in KM has something to say about it. I hope that all this diversity is of interest and even speaks to you.

A formal brief bio is here.

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