Skip to content
Open Access Published by De Gruyter December 23, 2009

Practical Knowledge Versus Knowledge as Practice

  • István Danka
From the journal Human Affairs

Practical Knowledge Versus Knowledge as Practice

The main thesis of this essay is that practice is superior to a "theoretical vs. practical" distinction. In this sense, every sort of knowledge is essentially "practical"; so-called "theoretical" knowledge is an historically overemphasised borderline example of the practical. Based mostly on Wittgenstein's view, I shall gradually refine an opposition between theoretical and practical knowledge by analysing some related dualisms on an active, processual, communicative and applicative concept of knowledge. Then I will provide some arguments as to why knowledge as a practical matter in this sense should be seen as, both logically and temporally, prior to the distinction.


Apel, K.-O. Wittgenstein und Heidegger. Die Frage nach dem Sinn von Sein und der Sinnlosigkeitsverdacht gegen alle Metaphysik. Philosophische Rundschau 75, 56-94, 1967.Search in Google Scholar

Brandom, R.Tales of the Mighty Dead. Cambridge Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2002.Search in Google Scholar

Bloor, D. Ludwig Wittgenstein and Edmund Burke. In T. Demeter (Ed.). Essays on Wittgenstein and Austrian Philosophy. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004.Search in Google Scholar

Dreyfus, H.What Computers Can't Do: A Critique of Artificial Reason. New York: Harper & Row, 1979 (1st ed: 1972).Search in Google Scholar

Havelock, E.Preface to Plato. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1962.10.4159/9780674038431Search in Google Scholar

Murray, M. Heidegger and Ryle: Two Versions of Phenomenology. In M. Murray (Ed.). New Haven: Yale University Press, 1978.Search in Google Scholar

Nyíri, J. C.Tradition and Individuality. Dordrecht: Kluwer, 1992.10.1007/978-94-011-2660-1Search in Google Scholar

Rorty, R.Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979.Search in Google Scholar

Ryle, G.The Concept of Mind. London: Hutchinson's University Library, 1949.Search in Google Scholar

Schatzki, T. R. Introduction: Practice Theory. In T.R. Schatzki, K.K. Cetina, and E. von Savigny (Eds.). The Practice Turn in Contemporary Theory. London-New York: Routledge, 2001.Search in Google Scholar

Steup, M. The Analysis of Knowledge. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.). The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2006 Edition). URL = in Google Scholar

von Wright, G. H.Wittgenstein. Oxford: Blackwell, 1982.Search in Google Scholar

Wittgenstein, L.Nachlass. The Bergen Electronic Edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2009-12-23
Published in Print: 2009-12-1

This content is open access.

Downloaded on 1.3.2024 from
Scroll to top button