Current debate: knowledge

What defines general knowledge? Is it comprised mainly of high culture elements such as the plays of Shakespeare, Rembrandt’s painting, Mozart’s music, the novels of E.M. Forster, and the poems of Dylan Thomas? Does it entail historical knowledge about kings, wars, and crises? Or is knowledge about popular culture such as films, television shows, and pop music a prerequisite as well? And what about natural science? How does correlate with the concept of general knowledge?

It is an open question. Many have purposely tried to exclude science from the term general knowledge. We believe that to be a mistake, and that it has some very unfortunate consequences. Partly, you retain an artificial concept of the term general knowledge which does not consider the constant and mutual inspiration between art, literature, politics, and science. And also, you miss out on a fantastic and exiting element concerning all science: that our scientific knowledge is a product of people in specific situations responding to specific challenges in specific contexts. Scientific knowledge is always a product of a specific time in history. If we wish to understand how scientific knowledge arises, we must understand the historical and cultural contexts behind it.

Here you can read a series of entries which all discuss the question of science and general knowledge based on Darwin and evolution.

The editors