- Last 7 days
The PKM space has gotten crazy, but mostly through bad practice, lack of history, and hype. There are a few valid points I see mirrored here, but on the whole this piece is broadly off base due to a lack of proper experience, practice and study. I definitely would recommend he take a paid course to fix the issue, but delve more deeply into recommended historical practices.
- Apr 2022
In this way the pressures of the multitude and diversity of authorita-tive opinion, already articulated in the previous century by Peter Abelard (1079–1142), were heightened by the development of reference books, from indexes and concordances that made originalia searchable and to the large compilations that excerpted and summarized from diverse sources.
Prior to the flourishing of reference materials, Peter Abelard (1079-1142) had articulated the idea of "the multitude and diversity of authoritative opinion" to be found in available material. How was one to decide which authority to believe in a time before the scientific method?
Even if the Speculum was copied only in parts, Vincent of Beauvais exposed the reader to multiple opinions on any topic he discussed. Neither the concordance nor the encyclo-pedic compendium resolved the textual difficulties or contradictions that they helped bring to light. Vincent explicitly left to the reader the task of reaching a final conclusion amid the diversity of authoritative opinions that might exist on a question: “I am not unaware of the fact that philosophers have said many contradictory things, especially about the nature of things. . . . I warn the reader, lest he perhaps be horrified, if he finds some contradictions of this kind among the names of diverse authors in many places of this work, especially since I have acted in this work not as an author, but as an excerptor, that I did not try to reduce the sayings of the philosophers to agreement but report what each said or wrote on each thing; leaving to the judgment of the reader to decide which opinion to prefer.”161
Interesting that Vincent of Beauvais indicates that there were discrepancies between the authors, but leaves it up to the reader to decide for themself.
What would the reader do in these cases in a culture before the scientific method and the coming scientific revolutions? Does this statement prefigure the beginning of a cultural shift?
Are there other examples of (earlier) writers encouraging the the comparison of two different excerpts from "expert" or authoritative sources to determine which should have precedence?
What other methods would have encouraged this sort of behavior?
A number of ancient compilations, like those of Pliny, Diogenes Laertius, and Stobaeus, were indeed valued as both sources and models in the Renaissance, and authors of miscellaneously arranged compila-tions invoked Aulus Gellius as the founder of that genre.
While there are ancient compilations by writers including Pliny, Diogenes Laertius, and Stobaeus, many authors in the Renaissance credited Aulus Gellius as the founder of the genre.
On leaf numbering in the Middle Ages, see Saenger (1996), 258, 275–76, and Stoneman (1999), 6. Saenger notes nonetheless that printing created the context in which leaf numbering flourished in both print and manuscript.
Leaf numbering was seen in the Middle Ages, but printing in the Renaissance greatly increased the number of books with page numbers.
- ars excerpendi
- Peter Abelard
- manuscript studies
- Aulus Gellius
- Diogenes Laertius
- information management
- book history
- scientific revolutions
- intellectual history
- scientific method
- reference books
- Vincent of Beauvais
- page numbers
- Mar 2022
this is george have you have you um found that there are people who are natural thinkers like this uh the zettlecaston type thinking the 01:15:45 bottom-up thinking whatever you want to call it have you studied great thinkers and looked at their patterns and seen that they do that or is it all over the place 01:16:00 i i'm not an expert on i i know what i like in in terms of works um 01:16:13 i think there are similarities between the thinkers i read and i believe 01:16:26 they're often systematic and have found a way to deal with complexity to be able to put heterogeneous 01:16:40 ideas different ideas into a coherent theory system and i think the only way to do that 01:16:54 is by having some kind of external um brain or an equivalent of it
George is asking a good question here and one I've even asked myself, but doesn't seem to have spent any time looking at intellectual history.
Almost all great thinkers were not only significant writers as well, but most, at least in Western culture, kept significant notes of their work, had a commonplace book(s), waste books, sudelbücher, zettelkasten, etc.
Of course most were also fairly wealthy and had the free time to be able to do their work which also helped to tip the balance in their favor.
This hierarchical system ensures accuracy, rigour and competencyof information.
Hierarchical systems of knowledge in Indigenous cultures helps to ensure rigor, competency, and most importantly accuracy of knowledge passed down from generation to generation.
Wanta JampijinpaPatrick, a Warlpiri Elder, teaches that north corresponds to ‘Law’,south to ‘ceremony’, west to ‘language’ and east to ‘skin’. ‘Country’lies at the intersection of these directions, at the centre of thecompass: Westerners conceptualise it as ‘here’.
In Warlpiri, the cardinal directions of north, south, east and west associatively correspond with the ideas of "Law", "ceremony", "skin", and "language" respectively. The idea of "Country" lies at the center of these directions in a space that Westerners would describe as "here".
This directional set up underlines the value of each of the related concepts and provides pride of place to "Country" and one's being "in Country".
Compare these with the Japanese pattern of こ (ko), そ (so), あ (a), ど (do) which describe a location with respect to the speaker.
Western readers should notice here, that the author centers the name and position of the origin of this knowledge at the start of the sentence. While it is associated with him, it is also certainly associated with all his preceding ancestors and Elders who passed this information down.
One might suspect that this practice isn't as common with base-level cultural knowledge, but that it becomes more important at succeeding levels of intimate area-based restricted knowledge. Placing the origin of the knowledge here at a more basic level of knowledge may help to instruct Western readers slowly and more surely understand how this foreign culture works.
How closely does this practice generally look like the Western idea of citing one's sources which only evolved slowly over history and became more common with the flood of information in the 1500s?
Indigenous scholars conducting scientific research combine formalacademic training and a personal lived experience that bridgesIndigenous and Western ways of knowing. In the United States andCanada, this concept is called Etuaptmumk, meaning ‘Two-EyedSeeing’. Etuaptmumk comes from the Mi’kmaw language of easternCanada and Maine, and was developed by Elders Dr Albert Marshalland Murdina Marshall.
Developed by Elders Dr. Albert Marshall and Murdina Marshall, the Mi'kmaw word Etuaptmunk describes the concept of "Two-Eyed Seeing". It is based on the lived experience of Indigenous peoples who have the ability to see the world from both the Western and Indigenous perspectives with one eye on the strengths of each practice.
The idea behind Etuaptmunk is designed and geared toward Western thinkers who place additional value on the eyes and literacy. Perhaps a second analogy of "Two-Eared Hearing" might better center the orality techniques for the smaller number of people with lived experiences coming from the other direction?
These ideas seem somewhat similar to that of the third culture kid.
- cardinal directions
- history of information
- orality vs. literacy
- restricted knowledge
- third culture kids
- scientific revolutions
- intellectual history
- indigenous knowledge
- associative memory
- relative motion
- in Country
- information theory
Blair, Ann M. Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age. Yale University Press, 2010, https://yalebooks.yale.edu/book/9780300165395/too-much-know.
ISBN: 978-0-300-11251-1 (cloth) Library of Congress Control Number: 2010024663
- Feb 2022
How awesome looking is this? Note the regular online meetings/presentations and the backlog of videos on their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8Ng6px3fgc4Yjw-en1GcsA
Great find Aaron. Thanks for the ping.
I've gone back further than this for the commonplace and the florilegium which helped to influence their creation, though I've not delved into the specific invention or general use of indices in the space heavily. I suspected that they grew out of the tradition of using headwords, though I'm not sure that indices became more popular until the paper by John Locke in 1689 (in French) or 1706 (in English).
I'll put Dr. Duncan's book into the hopper and see what he's got to say on the topic.
For example, in the Phaedrus, one of Plato’s dialogues from the 4th century BCE, Socrates relates the myth of the king Thamus and the god Theuth. Theuth was the inventor of letters — the first technology of thinking!
Another of the abounding examples of people thinking that writing and literacy are the first technology of thinking.
The undertaking that begins on May 22, 1780, later to be called the Jose-phinian catalog , is extant in “ 205 small boxes ” in an airtight locker in the
Austrian National Library; it is widely, and often proudly, considered the first card catalog in library history.
The first card catalogue in library history, later known as the Josephinian catalog, began on May 22, 1780 in the Austrian National Library.
Iwonder how long it will take until the advantages of Luhmann’s slip-box and work routines become equally obvious to everyone. But bythen, everyone will already have known it all along the way.
Ahrens focuses almost exclusively on Niklas Luhmann in his book How to Take Smart Notes. Sadly he misses that many others used not only the zettelkasten but other closely similar techniques including the commonplace book as a means of knowledge gathering and productivity.
There are thousands of productive researchers and writers who have broadly used many of these techniques to great advantage. In fact, it's almost hard to find famous writers or thinkers in the early Renaissance or since who did not use these systems.
Certainly Luhmann's system was one of the most refined of the group and his success is heavily underlined by his gargantuan output, but by not highlight other users of these systems, we're missing a lot more of the power of these systems.
- Jan 2022
<small><cite class='h-cite via'>ᔥ <span class='p-author h-card'>Anne Ganzert</span> in (1) Anne Ganzert on Twitter: "@ChrisAldrich @gipperfish @jdconnor @vaultofculture This is early 17th century right? Nice! I always considered Aby Warburg my favorite „early adopter“ but this sounds great. One clear Warburg benefit: the Mnemosyne Atlas is still around and even digitized 👏🏻" / Twitter (<time class='dt-published'>01/16/2022 12:54:03</time>)</cite></small>
- Dec 2021
Historians are aware of all this. Yet the overwhelming majority stillconclude that even when European authors explicitly say they areborrowing ideas, concepts and arguments from indigenous thinkers,one should not take them seriously. It’s all just supposed to be somekind of misunderstanding, fabrication, or at best a naive projection ofpre-existing European ideas. American intellectuals, when theyappear in European accounts, are assumed to be mererepresentatives of some Western archetype of the ‘noble savage’ orsock-puppets, used as plausible alibis to an author who mightotherwise get into trouble for presenting subversive ideas (deism, forexample, or rational materialism, or unconventional views onmarriage).11
Just as Western historians erase indigenous ideas as misunderstandings or fabrications or outright appropriation of those ideas as pre-existing ideas in European culture, is it possible that we do the same thing with orality and memory? Are medievalists seeing mnemotechniques of the time and not properly interpreting them by not seeing them in their original contexts and practices?
The idea of talking rocks, as an example, is dismissed as lunacy, crazy, or some new-age hokum, but in reality it's at the far end of the spectrum. It's so unknowable for Western audiences that it's wholly dismissed rather than embraced, extended, and erased.
What does the spectrum of potentially appropriated ideas look like? What causes their adoption or not, particularly in cases of otherwise cultural heterodoxy?
I think it may have been the British Library interview in which Wengrow says something like, you know, no one ever challenges a new conservative book and says, so and so has just offered a neoliberal perspective on X. But when an anarchist says something, people are sure to spend most of their time remarking on his politics. I think it's relevant that G&W call out Pinker's cherry-picking of Ötzi the ice man. They counter this with the Romito 2 specimen, but they insist that it is no more conclusive than Ötzi. So how does a challenging new interpretation gain ground in the face of an entrenched dominant narrative?
This sentiment is very similar to one in a recent lecture series I'd started listening to: The Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida #.
Lawrence Cahoone specifically pointed out that he would be highlighting the revolutionary (and also consequently the most famous) writers because they were the ones over history that created the most change in their field of thought.
How does the novel and the different manage to break through?
How does this relate to the broad thesis of Thomas S. Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions?
The comment Wengrow makes about "remarking on [an anarchist's] politics" as a means of attacking their ideas is quite similar to the sort of attacks that are commonly made on women. When female politicians make relevant remarks and points, mainstream culture goes to standbys about their voice or appearance: "She's 'shrill'", or "She doesn't look very good in that dress." They attack anything but the idea itself.
Jacob Leupold, Theatrum machinarum. Theatrum arithmetico-geometricum, Das ist: Schau-Platz der Rechnen- und Meß-Kunst, vol. 7 (Leipzig, 1727)
Reference that discusses calculating machines and information processors.
critical edition of Harrison’s manuscript: Thomas Harrison, The Ark of Studies, ed. Alberto Cevolini (Turnhout, 2017)
Commonplaces were no longer repositories of redundancy, but devices for storing knowledge expansion.
With the invention of the index card and atomic, easily moveable information that can be permuted and re-ordered, the idea of commonplacing doesn't simply highlight and repeat the older wise sayings (sententiae), but allows them to become repositories of new and expanding information. We don't just excerpt anymore, but mix the older thoughts with newer thoughts. This evolution creates a Cambrian explosion of ideas that helps to fuel the information overload from the 16th century onward.
In §§ 4–5, I examine the socio-evolutionary circumstances under which a closed combinatory, such as the one triggered by the Llullian art, was replaced by an open-ended combinatory, such as the one triggered by a card index based on removable entries. In early modernity, improvement in abstraction compelled scholars to abandon the idea that the order of knowledge should mirror the order of nature. This development also implied giving up the use of space as a type of externalization and as the main rule for checking consis-tency.
F*ck! I've been scooped!
Apparently I'm not the only one who has noticed this, though I notice that he doesn't cite Frances A. Yates, which would have certainly been the place for having come up with this historical background (at least that's where I found it.)
The Llullian arts can be more easily practiced with ideas placed on moveable index cards than they might be with ideas stored in one's own memory. Thus the index card as a tool significantly decreases the overhead and provides an easier user interface for permuting one's ideas and combining them. This decrease in mental work appearing at a time of information overload also puts specific pressure on the older use of the art of memory to put it out of fashion.
Through an inner structure of recursive links and semantic pointers, a card index achieves a proper autonomy; it behaves as a ‘communication partner’ who can recommend unexpected associations among different ideas. I suggest that in this respect pre-adaptive advances took root in early modern Europe, and that this basic requisite for information pro-cessing machines was formulated largely by the keyword ‘order’.
aliases for "topical headings": headwords keywords tags categories
In § 3, I explain that to have a life of its own, a card index must be provid-ed with self-referential closure.
In order to become a free-standing tool, the card index needed to have self-referential closure.
This may have been one of the necessary steps for the early ideas behind computers. In addition to the idea of a clockwork universe, the index card may have been a step towards early efforts at creating the modern computer.
The main hypothesis is that in the use of a card index as a surprise generator, there is nothing particularly surpris-ing if one considers the evolution of knowledge management in early modern Europe.
This is what I have been arguing all along as I've been doing my research as well.
- Alberto Cevolini
- index cards
- Thomas Harrison
- topical headings
- information overload
- Llullian arts
- paper tools
- Raymond Lull
- Cambrian explosion
- tools for thought
- origins of the computer
- combinatorial creativity
- card catalogs
- want to read
- art of memory
- mechanical computing
- Frances A. Yates
- intellectual history
- note taking
- personal knowledge management
- commonplace books
- Oct 2021
Davies, A., Seaton, A., Tonooka, C., & White, J. (2021). Covid-19, online workshops, and the future of intellectual exchange. Rethinking History, 25(2), 224–241. https://doi.org/10.1080/13642529.2021.1934290
- carbon footprint
- online platform
- intellectual exchange
- British history
- virtual collaboration
- Aug 2021
The impactof such practices upon eighteenth-century visual and material culture is recounted in te Heesen, The World in a Box.
This reference appears to show some of the historical link between the method of loci in rhetoric with that of commonplacing ideas within books. The fact that the word box may suggest some relational link between commonplacing and zettelkasten.
- May 2021
Daniela K. Helbig teaches at the School for History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney. Her research areas are at the intersection of the history and philosophy of technology, and of intellectual history.
Pull up other works by Daniela K. Helbig to see what else might be interesting.
- Feb 2014
One cannot call the history of intellectual property a purely proletarian struggle. While ancient Roman laws afforded a form of copyright protection to authors, n14 the rise of Anglo-Saxon copyright was a saga of publishing interests attempting to protect a concentrated market and a central government attempting to apply a subtle form of censorship to the new technology of the printing press.
One cannot call the history of intellectual property a purely proletarian struggle.