Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 243–257 | Cite as

Toward an Epistemology of the Hand

  • Svend BrinkmannEmail author
  • Lene Tanggaard


Western philosophy has been greatly influenced by visual metaphors. Knowing something has commonly, yet implicitly, been conceptualized as seeing something clearly, learning has been framed as being visually exposed to something, and the mind has been understood as a ‘mirror of nature’. A whole ‘epistemology of the eye’ has been at work, which has had significant practical implications, not least in educational contexts. One way to characterize John Dewey’s pragmatism is to see it as an attempt to replace the epistemology of the eye with an epistemology of the hand. This article develops the epistemology of the hand on three levels: A level of embodiment and metaphors, of craftsmanship and social practices, and of schooling and education.


Epistemology Hand Pragmatism Dewey Craftsmanship Creativity 



We wish to thank two anonymous reviewers for generous comments that have helped improve the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication and PsychologyUniversity of AalborgAalborg ØDenmark

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