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Greg McVerry

Responses on XMCA listserv on question of Implicit and Explicit Knowledge

6 min read

In reply to My convulted stream

Hi Greg,

This question and distinction originally interested me when I was trying to work out what intuition is. "Implicit" hides a variety of meanings and sense, whereas explicit is narrower in range and can be connoted with sign, and hence this aspect can be linked with Vygotsky.  To the extent that I have studied Peirce, his object and interpretant seem to have agreement too.

From wikipedia: "Tolman also promoted the concept known as latent learning first coined by Blodgett (1929)"
Polanyi (1958) referred to tacit knowledge quite extensively.  There were a number of other authors that I read contemporary with Polanyi.

P. I. Zinchenko's (1939) study on voluntary and involuntary learning gives experimental accounts of these two different methods of learning.


On the hunt

Keith Johnson, one of the professors on my MA at University of Essex,used the distinction between implicit and explicit on the one hand, and the J.R. Anderson model of DECPRO, PRODEC on the other. He didn't say anything about conditional knowledge, but from Anderson I gather it's something to do with the passive reception/active production distinction (that we Halllidayans reject). 
I never heard him use both of them together, in a matrix, so that there was implicit and explicit declarative knowledge, implicit and explicit procedural knowledge, and implicit and explicit conditional knowledge. But Keith was very GRAMMATICAL. It seems to me that if you apply it to PHONOLOGY, there isn't any reason we can't talk about implicit and explicit declarative knowledge (knowing THAT a sound is a /d/ and not a /t/ implicitly and being able to express that idea in phonological terms) and it is also possible to talk about implicit and explicit procedural knowledge (knowing HOW to distinguish them without thinking about it, and knowing HOW they are distinguished by the movements of the articulators). I don't see any reason in principle why you couldn't do the same thing with conditional knowledge either, although I'm not really sure that all these distinctions are relevant to teaching. 
All of this, and a lot more, in his 19i96 book Skill Learning and Language Teaching (Blackwell).
David KelloggSangmyung University

New Article: Han Hee Jeung & David Kellogg (2019): A story without SELF: Vygotsky’s
pedology, Bruner’s constructivism and Halliday’s construalism in understanding narratives byKorean children, Language and Education, DOI: 10.1080/09500782.2019.1582663To link to this article:
Some e-prints available at:
All of this is in his 1996 book Skill Learning and Language Teaching (Blackwell). Greg,
I'm not sure about implicit *knowledge*, but the earliest studies on implicit *learning* were conducted by Arthur Reber in the 1960s. I had the good fortune of being a graduate student at CUNY Graduate Center in Developmental Psychology in the 1980s when Arthur was there as a visiting scholar. He was studying implicit learning of *grammar* by adults and children. What struck me about the phenomenon (then and now) is that subjects in experiments are unaware that they are engaged in implicit learning - and when asked to think about the task they are performing while they are learning to infer patterns implicitly, their performance deteriorates significantly. It would seem that implicit and explicit learning are activities that conflict with each other.

This info may not be at all relevant to your question, but I thought I should mention it.
Cheers,PeterI think you'd need to qualify that statement, Peter, for it to be correct.
The use of the phrase "involuntary" in P. I. Zinchenko's work pertains to "without volition" rather than "against one's volition".

mike cole

Jun 14, 2019, 1:05 PM (3 days ago)

The same distinction can be found usefully in the work of Giyoo Hatano which you might find useful,Greg. A distinction is found in Wright's book on Envisioning Real Utopias between ideologyand culture.
Odd query:  Earth worms have an enormous effect on their environments and hence ours. Earth worms could not do this if they did not have "wiggle room." Would you attribute thetunnels and soil transformation of earth worms to them "having" agency? 

Also, I believe Palermo and Weiner made this distinction in the late 70s.  I would check their classic textbook on cognitive psychology (if it’s still around.)  And, Polanyi addressed these issues too.  Best, ag


Artin Goncu, Ph.D

Professor, Emeritus

University of Illinois at Chicago

Can the earthworms consider the consequences of wiggiling this way or that and predicting the consequences of these choices or do they follow an almost programmatic biological following. If so is this agency and still learning in emodoed ways? 
I do keep a worm box those worms are more than cared for but not free? Are they missing agency?
----------I think I will disagree. Bits of explicit learning embedded into implicit events when you have explicit goals make a difference.
Meaning in the two spaces I am studying and people engage in explicit learning all the time. They need to make a gif or learn CSS. 
Yet other times folks muck about trying new things.
In each of these events people may have an overarching goal... As I type I am drawn to Dewey and Art and Experience. 
I do find embedding skills in a passion whrn I teach web development is key. Is Passion implicit learning or the most explicit imaginable?

Yes, when there is even flow, you feel entirely free, its our way or the highway. :-)And yes to dewey!


Kind of why I wish I did not have to name things. Just say they "learn" then we don't cut knowledge off to the world.
I am going to try to grab thos thread and concurrent threads on Twitter and try to mix them together 
Thank you to all, All the books in thread requested through my library. 


Vygotsky showed in his work on child development (Problem of Age, for example) that the will is not born free all at once, and is in fact never free absolutely. Hegel gives us an extended discourse on free will in The Philosophy of Right, beginning with the transformation of the 'natural will' into the 'free will' with the creatures who use culture to control their own activity. But is takes social transformation to take the will beyond a Spinozan/Stoic resignation.

Nature-given drives and culture-given norms do not cancel freedom of will absolutely, but I think it makes no sense to talk about "agency" or freedom of the will other than actions passing through consciousness, with or without conscious awareness. But of course, if you are an Althusserian or Foucauldian, "agency" is taken in the sense of being the unwitting agent transmitting a disease, under which meaning, the earthworm has as much agency as Napoleon.


Greg McVerry

@ArchaeologyFitz Here is an example of my theory development I tag and annotate my bookmarks: and these get folded into academic articles: we call it the common place book philosophy

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

"Southern believes that such an education can be transformative and empowering as well as practical. A curriculum based on this philosophy is a curriculum for a new generation! "

so we will use outdated methods of assessment that we know carry systemic racial bias" cuz you know

Greg McVerry

(AAC&U) sees liberal education as "a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a strong sense of value, ethics, and civic engagement."
Answer on bubble sheet to this, "all of the above" you can totes give an ethics test

Greg McVerry

But we are also building on the long tradition of @scsu studying the philosophy and ethics of learning and computers. We need to root the future of the web into our public institutions. Think more Public library more than Initial Public Offering.

Greg McVerry

@nitinthewiz This is entire philosophy of using the taxonomies versos the custom post types. Post types are them specific you will lose them if you switch. The post kinds use taxonomies more resilient.

Greg McVerry

@KayOddone I use Commonplace Book philosophy... set up main site at currently using @withknown. I have done the same with WordPress as does now.

Greg McVerry

Greg McVerry

Explaining the success of emerging technologies by innovation system functioning: the case of biomass digestion in Germany

(Freeman 1987, 1): ‘…Innovation Systems are networks of institutions, public or private, whose activities and interactions initiate, import, modify, and diffuse new technologies.’

The TIS is defined by Carlsson and Stanckiewicz (1991, 94) as: ‘a network or networks of agents interacting in a specific technology area under a particular institutional infrastructure to generate, diffuse, and utilise technology’.

  • Function 1: Entrepreneurial activities-sounds a little free market bias to me, could be creative activites
  • Function 2: Knowledge development (learning)-liking this concept of agentive apprenticeships
  • Function 3: Knowledge diffusion through networks-liking Affinity Spaces
  • Function 4: Guidance of the search-If you read the description this is mroe shared values
  • Function 5: Market formation
  • Function 6: Resource mobilisation
  • Function 7: Advocacy coalition (creation of legitimacy/counteract resistance of change)


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