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In refreshing challenge to the common presumption that knowing involves amassing information, this book offers an eight-step approach that begins with love and pledge and ends with communion and shalom. Everyday adventures of knowing turn on a moment of insight that transforms and connects knower and known. No matter the field--science or art, business or theology, counsel In refreshing challenge to the common presumption that knowing involves amassing information, this book offers an eight-step approach that begins with love and pledge and ends with communion and shalom. Everyday adventures of knowing turn on a moment of insight that transforms and connects knower and known. No matter the field--science or art, business or theology, counseling or athletics--this little manual offers a how-to for knowing ventures. It offers concrete guidance to individuals or teams, students or professionals, along with plenty of exercises to spark the process of discovery, design, artistry, or mission. "Readers of this Little Manual for Knowing are embarking on an adventure that may make a decisive difference in their learning and in all of their lives." Gideon Strauss, Executive Director, Max De Pree Center for Leadership, Fuller Theological Seminary "With this pearl of great value, Esther Meek lovingly and confidently shepherds us on a pilgrimage, a reconsidering and recovery of what it means to know. For those who commit to the journey, the hoped-for gifts await." Bruce A. Vojak, Associate Dean of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and author of Serial Innovators "This brilliant little manual captures the depth and simplicity of Esther Meek's work and invites the reader to apply wisdom to real-life complexities and problems." Dan B. Allender, Professor of Counseling Psychology and Founding President, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology "Esther Meek distills deep wisdom with a care scholarly and pastoral at once. Any who wish to see the world more truly will be grateful for her illuminating intervention." Eric Miller, Professor of American History, Geneva College, and award-winning author of Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch "A Little Manual for Knowing--essential reading for every university, every business, every church, and every home." Makoto Fujimura, artist Esther Lightcap Meek is Professor of Philosophy at Geneva College in western Pennsylvania, and Instructor of Apologetics at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas. She is author of Longing to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People (2003) and Loving to Know: Introducing Covenant Epistemology(2011).


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In refreshing challenge to the common presumption that knowing involves amassing information, this book offers an eight-step approach that begins with love and pledge and ends with communion and shalom. Everyday adventures of knowing turn on a moment of insight that transforms and connects knower and known. No matter the field--science or art, business or theology, counsel In refreshing challenge to the common presumption that knowing involves amassing information, this book offers an eight-step approach that begins with love and pledge and ends with communion and shalom. Everyday adventures of knowing turn on a moment of insight that transforms and connects knower and known. No matter the field--science or art, business or theology, counseling or athletics--this little manual offers a how-to for knowing ventures. It offers concrete guidance to individuals or teams, students or professionals, along with plenty of exercises to spark the process of discovery, design, artistry, or mission. "Readers of this Little Manual for Knowing are embarking on an adventure that may make a decisive difference in their learning and in all of their lives." Gideon Strauss, Executive Director, Max De Pree Center for Leadership, Fuller Theological Seminary "With this pearl of great value, Esther Meek lovingly and confidently shepherds us on a pilgrimage, a reconsidering and recovery of what it means to know. For those who commit to the journey, the hoped-for gifts await." Bruce A. Vojak, Associate Dean of Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and author of Serial Innovators "This brilliant little manual captures the depth and simplicity of Esther Meek's work and invites the reader to apply wisdom to real-life complexities and problems." Dan B. Allender, Professor of Counseling Psychology and Founding President, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology "Esther Meek distills deep wisdom with a care scholarly and pastoral at once. Any who wish to see the world more truly will be grateful for her illuminating intervention." Eric Miller, Professor of American History, Geneva College, and award-winning author of Hope in a Scattering Time: A Life of Christopher Lasch "A Little Manual for Knowing--essential reading for every university, every business, every church, and every home." Makoto Fujimura, artist Esther Lightcap Meek is Professor of Philosophy at Geneva College in western Pennsylvania, and Instructor of Apologetics at Redeemer Seminary in Dallas. She is author of Longing to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People (2003) and Loving to Know: Introducing Covenant Epistemology(2011).

30 review for A Little Manual for Knowing

  1. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Rollins

    3.5 I loved so much about this book and yet it was cloaked, unneccesarily, in lifeless language. Meek comes out swinging against the knowledge-as-information model but she does it as if knowledge were information with her SFI models and academic language. I loved the message, though and if you really want to explore the idea of knowledge as the science of relations, I highly recommend reading Charlotte Mason and Karen Glass.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Aitken

    Meek, Esther Lightcap. A Little Manual for Knowing. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014. Meek resists the claim that knowledge is reducible to information. If knowledge is just about information, then “how do we come to know in the first place?” We must have some knowledge to begin the “knowledge journey,” but if knowledge is just information, then we can’t even begin. This is why Plato reduced knowledge to remembrance (particularly of past lives). A consequence of the “knowledge-as-fact” approach is Meek, Esther Lightcap. A Little Manual for Knowing. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2014. Meek resists the claim that knowledge is reducible to information. If knowledge is just about information, then “how do we come to know in the first place?” We must have some knowledge to begin the “knowledge journey,” but if knowledge is just information, then we can’t even begin. This is why Plato reduced knowledge to remembrance (particularly of past lives). A consequence of the “knowledge-as-fact” approach is that it divides the knower. It assumes one can detach himself from the act of knowing. Covenant epistemology: the knower “pledges himself to the yet-to-be-known, the way a groom pledges himself to a bride.” This is quite different from when the postmodernist attacks rationalism. The postmodernist quite correctly says that all knowing is done from a finite standpoint, with the implication that knowledge is relativised. The covenantal knower, by contrast, sees knowledge in an almost eschatological light. In Meek’s words, knowledge is a “pilgrimage” in which “we journey together.” “All knowing is a coming-to-know.” Polanyi: “subsidiary-focal integration” This book is unique among Christian epistemology texts in that she gives exercises at the end of each chapter. Knowledge as love implies that knowing ← → Being go hand in hand. Reality is person-like, not an amalgamation of bits of information. Meek argues, by contrast, that reality is a gift. When I look at a thing, on first glance we see it as it is. But in a Creator universe, the thing is also “what-it-promises-to-be” and “what-it-ought-to-be.” Promise language then is covenant language. This is tied with the notion of “reality as gift. Her thesis is “we love in order to know.” I don’t think this works as a global thesis, but in terms of some knowledge-situations it is probably accurate. This type of loving is an “active receptivity.” There are some good thoughts on “cultivating wonder” as a mental habit. In her nice phrase, “it is a trained readiness to be astounded.” Covenantal knowledge involves a “pledge,” which is the “I do” of love. In this knowledge “we give ourselves to be known,” to pledge to the Other’s “being.” This is what Torrance and Polanyi mean by knowing “kataphysically,” according to the nature of the thing known. The thing presses its reality upon your mind. Granted, this makes more sense in terms of religion, philosophy, and politics than it would in looking at a blank wall. If these things about knowledge are true, then knowing also involves a “maturity in love.” This is where knowing’s “interpersonal” dimension is clearly seen. We need other persons to help us mature and be the person’s we are. She has a neat section on “The Void.” The void doesn’t have to be evil. It can just be the realization of non-being. It can be how healing can begin. It’s sort of like having the law preached to you. She has a neat diagram on the four dimensions of humanness. Holy Self ------- -------- -------------- Situation Void In a moving line, Meek writes, “In the Void, we must cry out in hope for the gracious deliverance and inbreaking of new being. This is a key act of inviting the real.” In another diagram, she calls this “the knowing event.” “The Holy is the gracious possibility of new being.” It is where “epiphany” happens. Meek gives good guidelines for cultivating the real: choose wise guides, for one. Beginners don’t know a lot about philosophy. I personally wasted years on dead-ends. You must also “place yourself where reality is likely to show up.” Knowledge as Indwelling Now Meek moves into the territory of the Hungarian chemist Michael Polanyi and his idea of “Subsidiary-Focal Integration” (SFI). We will go back to Plato’s Meno. If knowledge is simply about transfer of propositions, that which we do not know, then we can never cross the Platonic chasm between Knowledge and Becoming, since we are in the realm of Becoming. Perhaps we are getting too far afield. Meek’s point is that knowledge also involves a “subsidiary” dimension that happens below the surface of the focal. Perhaps we can reframe the above-mentioned Platonic problem this way: let’s take Heidegger’s question on being. What is being? To ask that question presupposes some knowledge of being, otherwise we couldn’t use the word “is.” Let’s say a toddler is learning. He needs sentences to learn, yet he doesn’t know what a sentence is, so how can he learn? “All knowledge and knowing has a ‘from-to’ structure.” It is not “a linear relation.” Think in terms of clues and patterns. There is no linear connection, yet your mind is already seeing the evidence for patterns. It then makes a proleptic jump, which Meek calls “integration.” It’s like playing “Wheel of Fortune.” Her conclusion: “As we indwell the subsidiaries, we creatively integrate to a sustained focal pattern...We actively shape clues to the pattern; and we passively submit to the pattern.” And then comes the moment of epiphany: [it] feels very much like a gracious gift from outside us.” Indeed, “embedded in epiphany is the shift from active to passive, from giving to receiving. It feels like a shift from knowing to being known.” Knowing as shalom: we know shalom when the tension in the knowing encounter is brought to a proper resolution. It is the joy we experience in seeing the “natural fittingness” of something that was put together. She has some interesting--but only tantalizing--suggestions on shalom and healing. That definitely needs to be developed. Catchy sayings: * Covenantal knowledge is commitment, not curiosity. * Knowing is inviting the real, welcoming the yet-to-be-known. * We seek to indwell and be indwelt by the yet-to-be-known. * Coming to know proves to be a process of moving from looking at to looking from in order to see transformatively beyond. * IFM = indeterminate future manifestation.” Any good integrative pattern promises future unfoldings of dimensions and horizons. * Insight isn’t informational--it is transformational. Conclusion This is a dynamic little book. Not all of her arguments are sufficiently developed, but I think she knows that, as she intends this to be a gateway to her larger works on epistemology. This book succeeds where so many epistemology texts from post-evangelicals have failed. Too often we hear that rationality ought to be “Embodied” or “situated.” Fair enough. Few really say what that means. In other words, granted that knowledge is embodied, what would mechanism or the knowing act look like? Meek actually develops an answer. It’s also fashionable, especially among Reformed, to advocate a “coventanal epistemology.” That usually means quoting Bible verses such as “fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” That’s true, but by itself it tells me nothing of how knowledge works. If I preface a trigonometry problem with “Fear of the Lord,” I still have to work the problem and the answer will be the same as if I didn’t say “The Fear of the Lord.” Meek’s approach reshapes the covenant question in terms of knowledge as gift, pledge, promise, etc. Which is actually what a covenant is.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Fantastic. Her style takes a bit of getting used to, but once you've got it, it goes pretty quickly. There is so much to just soak in...every page is a treasure. This should be required reading for Life 101. Fantastic. Her style takes a bit of getting used to, but once you've got it, it goes pretty quickly. There is so much to just soak in...every page is a treasure. This should be required reading for Life 101.

  4. 4 out of 5

    John Lussier

    Esther Lightcap Meek's "A Little Manual for Knowing" is perhaps one of the best books I've read in the last couple of years. In it Meeks presents her practical and insightful thoughts on epistemology. What does it mean to know? How do we know? Meek puts forward that reality is a gift. We are given something from outside ourselves. In order to receive this gift, to know it, we must love. We love to know. Covenanting with reality we know in love and relationship. Knowing is a loving pilgrimage wit Esther Lightcap Meek's "A Little Manual for Knowing" is perhaps one of the best books I've read in the last couple of years. In it Meeks presents her practical and insightful thoughts on epistemology. What does it mean to know? How do we know? Meek puts forward that reality is a gift. We are given something from outside ourselves. In order to receive this gift, to know it, we must love. We love to know. Covenanting with reality we know in love and relationship. Knowing is a loving pilgrimage with reality where we respond in love, pledge, invitation, and indwelling. When we do so we encounter a person-like reality outside ourselves, are transformed by this reality, and enter into a dance-of-knowing. The ultimate goal of this dance is shalom: peace, and harmony between reality and ourselves. The thing I appreciate most about Meek's Little Manual, beyond an astounding theory about epistemology, is that it slowed me down and changed my posture of knowing as I read. Each chapter ends with some very practical questions related to Meek's thoughts. Answering these and reflecting on the chapter was different for me. So often in just want to "complete" a book to say I did it. No book should be read that way. Knowing something isn't conquering it, but an encounter between the knower and the yet-to-be-known that must be gone through carefully and with love. Meek's words asked me to come to this knowing venture not for conquering and the comprehensive information gathering I would normally come to a book with, but instead invited me into a relationship. Ultimately this is the point of knowing, and the healthy fruit of Meek's outlook. A loving posture, open to reality, but not seeking to control or destroy it in research, is the way to know. Christians especially should look into Meek's work. Her theory of knowing is absolutely in line with the thought of God as Triune. It is only in loving relationship that God knows himself. His entire creation reflects this way of knowing. When we embrace an open posture of loving-to-know we align ourselves with the life of the Trinity and his creation.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    As Esther Lightcap Meek describes it, "we are epistemological beings". How we live is determined by what we know, but we often take for granted how we know or the nature of knowledge itself. The book's primary goal is to challenge our assumptions that knowledge is just information, an idea she labels as "knowledge-as-information". She challenges this assumption with a new way to think about knowing with a series of metaphors. The metaphors are structured around a central metaphor that knowing is As Esther Lightcap Meek describes it, "we are epistemological beings". How we live is determined by what we know, but we often take for granted how we know or the nature of knowledge itself. The book's primary goal is to challenge our assumptions that knowledge is just information, an idea she labels as "knowledge-as-information". She challenges this assumption with a new way to think about knowing with a series of metaphors. The metaphors are structured around a central metaphor that knowing is a relationship between the knower and reality. To think about learning or knowing more is much like how one would approach loving someone. To be honest, I found the book quite challenging to understand. It would have been helpful for me if it had more examples to showcase some of the metaphors she was describing. The book while technically applicable to both Christians and non-Christians does have distinct ideas that are rooted in a Christian belief. That being said, I do appreciate the exercises found at the end of each chapter. I'll probably continue to reference back to them whenever I partake in a new knowing venture as a guide for reflection. While I appreciate the book, I'm guessing those who hold most tightly to the idea of "knowledge-as-information" may reject the arguments of the book because of the language it uses. It's unfortunate but those who may be helped most by this book will also have difficulty accepting the way it talks about knowing. The personification and metaphors in this book may be considered to poetic for them to take seriously. For people like that, I think the book Metaphors We Live By might help open them up more to this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tim Otto

    Meeks wrote a terrific book called "loving to know." She plays on the double meaning of that . . . that we are curious creatures who love to know thing, but that we also know best when we love (which applies to things like knowing the truth about our enemies). In this little book she distills the best of "Loving to Know" in a way that makes it a super-practical tool for discernment. Meeks wrote a terrific book called "loving to know." She plays on the double meaning of that . . . that we are curious creatures who love to know thing, but that we also know best when we love (which applies to things like knowing the truth about our enemies). In this little book she distills the best of "Loving to Know" in a way that makes it a super-practical tool for discernment.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jordan J. Andlovec

    Esther Meek is a compelling individual with a beautiful and encompassing philosophy of life, as this Little Manual shows. I recommend this little book to anyone and everyone who engage in knowing adventures. It will greatly help you in getting the most out of life.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Esther Lightcap Meek (Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Geneva College, Pennsylvania) presents this book, in a light-heartedly serious way, as 'epistemological therapy' designed to treat the dominant 'knowledge as information' model and mindset. As an antidote, she posits 'knowing ventures' (a great term that covers all sorts of activities, from academic pursuits, to sporting activities and artistic practice) in terms of a dynamic relationship between knower and yet-to-be-known/known/reality. Esther Lightcap Meek (Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Geneva College, Pennsylvania) presents this book, in a light-heartedly serious way, as 'epistemological therapy' designed to treat the dominant 'knowledge as information' model and mindset. As an antidote, she posits 'knowing ventures' (a great term that covers all sorts of activities, from academic pursuits, to sporting activities and artistic practice) in terms of a dynamic relationship between knower and yet-to-be-known/known/reality. Meek's work is informed by a number of thinkers and authors (the information about the identity of these people is strangely withheld until an appendix at the end of the book), but in particular the 20th century scientist/polymath Michael Polanyi. (Academic fun fact: according to Wikipedia, one of Polanyi's fans was the theologian T. F. Torrance. Via Torrance, Polanyi's ideas morphed into something called 'theological critical realism' which is today associated with such names as John Polkinghorne, Alister McGrath and N.T. Wright.) While intended for a general market, the whole is subtly, and not so subtly, couched within a pleasingly embodied Christian theological framework that brings such concepts as treating reality as a person, covenant, grace, communion, epiphany, joy etc, into an applied philosophical context. Meek's big themes for the knowing venture are Pilgrimage (love, pledge, invitation and indwelling) and Gift (encounter, transformation, dance and shalom). "Deep insight hints of exciting future prospects, confirming that we have made contact with reality. Pilgrimage modulates into an ongoing dance of communion. Reality proves to be deeply dynamic and welcomes us in. Knowing ushers in shalom." Lovely - especially when you consider that the sense of wonder contained within this mode of knowing is intended to be applied to your everyday life and pursuits. The book is philosophy intentionally simplified (specifically targeted at stage one / freshman university level) and unfortunately ends up having a slightly 'talked-down' tone. Despite this, some concepts remain confusing. This difficulty can occur when academics (assisted by the best efforts of their editors, no doubt) embark on the admirable exercise of creating mass-market versions of more complicated larger works. (In this case, the larger work is called 'Loving to Know'.) But that's by the by and ultimately doesn't detract much from the main drive and message. Though I'm sure you could undertake a philosophical critique of the book and question some of Meek's assertions about such things as connecting with reality, I went along for the ride and found that it gave practical insights, sparked off lines of enquiry and brightened/enlightened the field of my own knowing ventures.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Zachary

    This is a great little book about knowing. And by knowing, I mean knowing in the sense of "coming to know." Where Meek's Loving to Know was an incredibly thorough book, working in 'conversation' with scholars and teasing out many different lines of thought and philosophy, this book feels like Meek just sharing her heart. She's done all the academic heavy lifting. This book is written to the regular person that just wants to grapple with what it means to know. She keeps her explanations simple an This is a great little book about knowing. And by knowing, I mean knowing in the sense of "coming to know." Where Meek's Loving to Know was an incredibly thorough book, working in 'conversation' with scholars and teasing out many different lines of thought and philosophy, this book feels like Meek just sharing her heart. She's done all the academic heavy lifting. This book is written to the regular person that just wants to grapple with what it means to know. She keeps her explanations simple and straight-forward while still grappling with some rather deep concepts. I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to really think well about knowing (epistemology). This is a great entry point for an epistemology that (in my opinion) reflects a Biblical concept of knowing. Meek's epistemology is Polanyian (as opposed to Cartesian or Platonic), and it is that unique foundation which makes it especially compatible with Biblical portrayals of reality and knowing. A really great read and not difficult at all.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jaek Wraf

    Explicitly not a rigorous logical defense, but rather an invitation to view reality as an other to love and grow in knowledge of. Though I already espouse Meek's faith, which goes hand in hand with her way of viewing knowing, I still found her book transforming the way I approach my self-education. I tend to obsess about all of the books I need to read, and I attempt stressfully to read all of them. This is unhealthy, domineering (trying to command the knowledge), unrealistic, etc. Seeing all kn Explicitly not a rigorous logical defense, but rather an invitation to view reality as an other to love and grow in knowledge of. Though I already espouse Meek's faith, which goes hand in hand with her way of viewing knowing, I still found her book transforming the way I approach my self-education. I tend to obsess about all of the books I need to read, and I attempt stressfully to read all of them. This is unhealthy, domineering (trying to command the knowledge), unrealistic, etc. Seeing all knowing ventures as opportunities to get better acquainted with an other-- more or less a person-- makes life a romance. Knowing is challenging and frustrating and takes work, just like relationships. I really enjoyed it, though her language seems unnecessarily...mystical? cryptic? poetic? at times. Usually, it's a wonderful thing, but can be frustrating when you aren't sure you're on board with her project. I came around as I neared the end.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kate Davis

    Quite an overview of the themes in her other works, but for anyone who has thought about formation and education it is both substantial enough to be a useful framework while quick enough to not have to revisit familiar components. If you're willing to trust the author, a great place to start. (If you're more critical/argumentative, read one of her longer books.) At times, her epistemology is so personified it is not only intimate but erotic. Her way to knowing is both an ideal to strive for and a Quite an overview of the themes in her other works, but for anyone who has thought about formation and education it is both substantial enough to be a useful framework while quick enough to not have to revisit familiar components. If you're willing to trust the author, a great place to start. (If you're more critical/argumentative, read one of her longer books.) At times, her epistemology is so personified it is not only intimate but erotic. Her way to knowing is both an ideal to strive for and a reality that rings true. Highly recommend, especially for any work that seeks to be integrative or to engage the whole person (or really any part of the person in addition to the brain's rote memorization capacity).

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Trovato

    This was a good quick read. It makes me want to learn more about subsidiary focal integration (SFI). Her language is a little lofty but what can you expect from a philosopher talking about epistemology? It does remain accessible and reminded me about the beauty (especially for Christians) in the everyday knowing ventures we set out on. Everything is personal and a gift. We can approach all endeavors with love and a wonder-filled curiosity, not simply with a desire to gain information. I found th This was a good quick read. It makes me want to learn more about subsidiary focal integration (SFI). Her language is a little lofty but what can you expect from a philosopher talking about epistemology? It does remain accessible and reminded me about the beauty (especially for Christians) in the everyday knowing ventures we set out on. Everything is personal and a gift. We can approach all endeavors with love and a wonder-filled curiosity, not simply with a desire to gain information. I found this book encouraging for my walk with the Lord ( Bible study in particular), homeschooling and business ventures.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Peter F

    Good. I'm going to read more of her as I think she is getting at some really important ideas, but I'm not sure 100 pages is the best format for their presentation. She heavily uses her own distinctive terminology which takes some adjusting to. She has expanded on all of this in other works, and of course there is the thought of Michael Polanyi which grounds it all, so I am interested to work through this further. Good. I'm going to read more of her as I think she is getting at some really important ideas, but I'm not sure 100 pages is the best format for their presentation. She heavily uses her own distinctive terminology which takes some adjusting to. She has expanded on all of this in other works, and of course there is the thought of Michael Polanyi which grounds it all, so I am interested to work through this further.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Anna Brown

    Amazing. This book is a game changer in my understanding of how I learn and pursue knowledge. The best way I can describe this book is with two comparisons: 1) It’s like rich chocolate: delightful and needs to be taken in smaller bites for full enjoyment. 2) It’s rather like exercise: takes some effort and makes your brain hurt, but it’s essential for your health and growth. If you are a human person, you need to read this.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amy Booth

    This book on epistemology discusses the difference between the knowledge-as-information approach vs. the loving-to-know approach to knowing. She refers to knowing as a venture and has thought-provoking questions at the end of each chapter. A good book to read if you are starting a new venture (college, a business, a new job, etc.).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Crystal ✬ Lost in Storyland

    I don't agree with everything Meek says, but this was an interesting venture into philosophical ideas on knowing. It compelled me to think about how I process information and how I approach knowing/learning ventures. I don't agree with everything Meek says, but this was an interesting venture into philosophical ideas on knowing. It compelled me to think about how I process information and how I approach knowing/learning ventures.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Alex Lomangino

    This was just okay. It made me want to interact with Polanyi's work instead of hers. This was just okay. It made me want to interact with Polanyi's work instead of hers.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jay Merrill

    Wow. Great introduction to an amazing epistemological framework.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Yle

    completely changed my process of learning! :D and I have read endless books on growth mindset as a former teacher. Read like philosophy but def. practical.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Love the artistry of language and imagery, turning epistemology into art, or perhaps, unveiling the artistry that is epistemology. Beautiful.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin Vroman

    I read this book in a crackpot class called “Incarnation and the Humanities.” The teachers usually didn’t recommend lackluster reads, but this book was awful. For an introduction to epistemology, I’d recommend Jennifer Nagel’s “Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction.” After working through the book, I have questions. What theory is even being presented? What evidence supports that theory? What does this book say that isn’t already obvious? These seem like fair questions, and until these questions ar I read this book in a crackpot class called “Incarnation and the Humanities.” The teachers usually didn’t recommend lackluster reads, but this book was awful. For an introduction to epistemology, I’d recommend Jennifer Nagel’s “Knowledge: A Very Short Introduction.” After working through the book, I have questions. What theory is even being presented? What evidence supports that theory? What does this book say that isn’t already obvious? These seem like fair questions, and until these questions are answered, it’s hard to see this as more than half-baked combination of postmodernism and fundamentalism it probably is. The fact that these questions go largely unanswered is a testament to the readability and organization of the book. I’ll let Esther Meek speak for herself, “subsidiaries are neither subjective nor private, although they are the working out of responsible personal commitment. Subsidiaries are neither mystical nor magical, although they cannot be simultaneously indwelled and verbally expressed and although they can never be wholly expressed. They are palpable, rooted in our embodiment and rooting us in the world, concretely enacting the guidance of guiding words. They are palpably felt, the way our bodies are palpably felt to be our own. That palpable feel . . .” And so on. What am supposed to do with passages like that? They are characteristic of the entire book. Sure, it has some meaning after breaking it down, but reading this for information just isn’t practical. Meek also likes to make nouns into adjectives/verbs. It is annoying and unnecessary. Here is another good example of frustrating writing: “To start to know is actually first a response to a dimly heard beckoning of the wonder-full real.” Wtf. Chapter four did have some interesting ideas, but as with everything else, decluttering each page took too much time. Sometimes less is more. You’re better off just reading Polanyi (whose ideas this book draws on). Epistemically, a book about “dancing” with the “yet-to-be-known” doesn’t do much for me; the theme seems like it belongs to the self-help genre. This book doesn’t seriously interact with major epistemic problems (does my perception warrant knowledge of the external world? Does testimony warrant knowledge?). With the reference to John Frame, I sensed an background assumption of transcendental arguments to get the realism ball rolling, but I can’t be sure as these ideas weren’t explicitly discussed. The book explicitly condemns modernism, but it didn’t seriously interact with modernism. Because Meek asserts but does not demonstrate, I found the book to be unhelpful. Readers might walk away condemning various philosophical traditions (lumped into modernism), when they never in fact interacted with the thinkers and ideas that comprise these traditions. The implicit epistemological theory in the book subtly echos American pragmatism (the self help structure and lack of objective principles - “this works” philosophy). Again, I can’t be sure about this given that little is actually said about epistemic theory... If this book is supposed to introduce us to epistemology, try introducing us to the problems and insights of history. How narrow is it to assert “Michael Polanyi” and ignore the powerful body of western/analytic philosophy as “knowledge-as-information” stuff. If this book is supposed to start learning journeys, introduce us to exciting and interesting subjects like the philosophy of knowledge or mathematics or language. Covenant epistemology? As Hume might say, “to the flames.”

  22. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    Very hard to follow. Purports to be a book on epistemology, but gets caught up too much in semantic mysticism (Frances Schaeffer). Deals with tacit understanding (sort of). Here is link with better summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?t.... I would recommend just reading Michael Polanyi on the same issues. Very hard to follow. Purports to be a book on epistemology, but gets caught up too much in semantic mysticism (Frances Schaeffer). Deals with tacit understanding (sort of). Here is link with better summary: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?t.... I would recommend just reading Michael Polanyi on the same issues.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marc Byers

    A great introduction to knowing and being known. Transparency, Love, Observation move inwardly and outwardly inside our internal relationships guiding us to knowledge inside deeper levels and understanding the basis behind those. This book is a great introduction to all of that and so much more. I look forward to reading her greater works on this topic. Very much worth reading!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Zach

    Take Aways: - Knowing is to be transformational, not primarily informational. Knowing ought to transform who we are. - Knowing in relationship goes hand-in-hand with love. - Knowing in relationship is a dance, an artful, continual act of self-giving love and trust.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Anderson

    Great. Now I need to dive into her other works as she has a refreshing view of knowing and knowledge. Highly recommended.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Autumn

    I feel like pieces of this book are missing. And yet, at 100 pages, it feels too long. Some of the things she said are insightful, but I was not engaged by what she was saying.

  27. 5 out of 5

    sch

    Not worth your time. Review here. Not worth your time. Review here.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Yuliya

  29. 4 out of 5

    Brenton

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ken Jackson

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