Practical and Tacit Knowing as a Foundation of Information Systems


  • John Haynes



tacit knowledge, Polanyi, Steiner, practical knowing, intellectual thinking, intuitive thinking


The importance of the human subject (and subjectivity) with its inherent capacity for intuition as a foundational concept for Information Systems is explored in this paper. The paper considers two philosophical contributions: (1) Michael Polanyi's distinction between Practical and Tacit Knowing, and (2) Rudolf Steiner's distinction between Intellectual Thinking and Intuitive Thinking. Intuition as it arises from subjectivity for an Information System is the key to determining the appropriate balance between practical and intuitive considerations necessary for the continued evolution of an Information System. Given this balance the theme of an Information System can emerge. Since an Information System is a social system bound to technology, it is the tacit capacities of an individual's subjectivity within an Information System that allow us to connect with the culture and the wider perspective of decision making in an Information System.


How to Cite

Haynes, J. (1999). Practical and Tacit Knowing as a Foundation of Information Systems. Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 6(2).