Solid Knowledge: Notes on the Nature of Knowledge Embedded in Designed Artefacts

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Anders Brix


The great icons of industrial and architectural design are cornerstones of our material culture. They are referred to again and again in education, research, and cultural debate, and as such they have become nodal points of human discourse. The knowledge embedded in such artefacts has often been referred to as “silent knowledge”. Drawing on the one hand on an analysis of the elements of the design process and, on the other, on a simple model for knowledge construction as such, taken from the world of scientific research, this article discusses the nature of such silent knowledge. It is argued that the structure of any new knowledge contribution is the same regardless of field, be it art, philosophy, or science, whereas the phenomena involved are different.

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