The Practice of the Use of Computers

A paradoxical encounter between different traditions of knowledge
  • Bo Göranzon
Part of the Human-Computer Interaction Series book series (HCIS)


A quotation from Shakespeare’s play King Lear, ’I will teach you differences’, encapsulates the spirit of this paper. The distinction is introduced between three different categories of knowledge: i) propositional knowledge, ii) skill or practical knowledge and iii) knowledge of familiarity. In the present debate on ‘Information Society’, there is a clear tendency to overemphasise the theoretical knowledge at the expense of practical knowledge thereby completely ignoring the knowledge of familiarity. It is argued that different forms of theoretical knowledge are required for the design of current computer technology and the study of the practice of computer usage. The concept of dialogue and the concept of ‘To Follow a Rule’ are therefore fundamental to the understanding of the practice of computer usage.


dialogue French Age of Enlightenment to follow a rule essentially contested concepts propositional knowledge practical knowledge knowledge of familiarity epistemological error 


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© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2008

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  • Bo Göranzon

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