Rethinking Knowledge Management

Volume 12 of the series Information Science and Knowledge Management pp 331-348

Knowing and Indexical Psychology

  • Ronald E. DayAffiliated withSchool of Library and Information Science, Indiana University

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This chapter has two parts. The first part critiques mentalism in cognitive psychology and Knowledge Management theory’s basis in mentalism. The second part proposes a reading of indexical psychology as an alternative to mentalism. The purpose of the chapter is to reposition our understanding of psychological events, including personal knowledge expressions, from a mysticism of private minds and their public representations to a conception of human agency constructing person and self through cultural forms and in social situations. Such an analysis leads to a breakdown of the “inner” and “outer” dichotomy which has formed the basis for much of psychological theory and for Knowledge Management theory (the latter in terms of a dichotomized notion of private knowledge and public mediums for that knowledge’s representation). The view proposed here is that psychological research, including research into knowing acts, must begin with the understanding of persons and their selves as dynamically constructed by learning and by experience. In this way, this analysis also is associated with what is sometimes referred to as “activity theory.”