8. What people do to know: the construction of knowledge as a social-semiotic activity
Defence Science and Technology Organisation
The nature of knowledge has been a central concern of Western societies for more than two and a half thousand years. Trying to study it has been also a central issue, not only for the disciplines of philosophy but for many academic disciplines. As time goes on, the importance of this issue continues to increase, so that societies and economies trade on knowledge and individual livelihoods and disciplines depend on it. As a result (or perhaps it is a cause?) these issues are not solely the province of philosophers: politicians talk of ‘knowledge economies’ and technologists and computer scientists aim for ‘knowledge representation’ in their machines. Knowing about knowledge therefore becomes crucial for a whole range of individual and social activities. This chapter aims to explore what a linguist and, in particular, a Systemic Functional (SF) linguist might do with these issues.