A map of knowledge

Travel is made easier by good maps. This is true in the physical realm, but also in the realm of knowledge and ideas.

For some time, I have explored knowledge maps that others have created, with a view to finding one I can use for Fine Learning Tools. I want to be able to place the different tools in relation to each other and to help people to navigate their way through all the knowledge that is out there. (I know. It’s ambitious.)

To be effective as a map, I need something that is infinitely flexible. Knowledge will grow and expand in ways that we can’t predict, and so we need a scheme that will grow too. Of course it does not need to last forever, it can be something that becomes obsolete, and be discarded. I’m OK with that. Just so long as it lasts while I’m working on it.

I also want something that doesn’t categorize too much, because I am most interested in the connections between things. Distinctions between Chemistry and Physics, for example, are artificial. But there is something different about stuff I learn to cope with everyday life and hard science that I might learn for work I have to do. These distinctions should be captured.

Then there is the challenge of including ALL knowledge. I don’t thing that learning is just about the stuff that has traditionally been the domain of education. It’s important to learn how to find a place to live, how to get on with other people, how to fly a drone (if that’s your thing) and how to calculate an integral (if that’s your thing). It’s all learning.

But I have yet to find what I want. So I’ve decided to make it up. Here goes….

I think that there are three levels of knowledge that is primarily about humans. There is knowledge about self, there is knowledge about self in relation to other individuals, and then there is knowledge about human society and how it is organised.

Then there are two broad areas that the rest of knowledge can be divided into: Nature, the stuff that operates outside of human influence, and Culture, the stuff that humans make up. There is also an intersecting layer between those two that might warrant it’s own category.

So my current map of knowledge looks something like this:

knowledge map 1

(Crude, yes, but I’m aiming at getting the ideas out there rather than perfecting my drawing skills.)

I plan to expand on these as I can, explain what I’m thinking of in each area, and then to flesh them out with appropriate Fine Learning Tools that I have found. I’m thinking of making an infinitely zoom-able map so that I can add things as I come across them.

So far, so good. Next up: a basic description of each kind of knowledge.

Please let me have your thoughts in the comments below. This is very much a work in progress, and I’d love to engage with your ideas.

(The nice image of the world map is by TeeFarm from Pixabay)