When Tacit is Not Tacit Enough: A Heideggerian Critique of Collins’ “Tacit” Knowledge


Some of the problems that Harry Collins has faced in his general framework for theorizing tacit and explicit knowledge are, I will argue, due to an inadequate formulation of the problem. It is this inadequacy that has led to pseudo-problems regarding the ‘tacit’ in general. What-is-more, the vehicle for his theory as objectified in ‘strings’ is symptomatic of the problem that his division of tacit and explicit faces. I will argue that the philosophy of Martin Heidegger will give us adequate conceptual tools to re-think Collins’ general framework, to help us understand the origins of these problems, and possibly indicate a way to solve them. To which ends I suggest that either the tacit Collins has in mind is either not truly tacit or it is not tacit enough.

Keywords: tacit knowledge, fundamental ontology, present and ready-at-hand, Harry Collins, Martin Heidegger

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