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Leaders Need to Harness Aristotle’s 3 Types of Knowledge

Solving different types of problems

Solving different types of problems

Aristotle outlined distinct types of knowledge required to solve problems in three realms.

  • Techne was craft knowledge: learning to use tools and methods to create something, such as a farmer designing an irrigation system.
  • Episteme was scientific knowledge: discovering the laws of nature. An astronomer contemplating why galaxies turn the way they do will fall in this realm.
  • Phronesis was similar to ethical judgment: The perspective-taking and wisdom required to make decisions when there are multiple possible answers. For example, a policymaker deciding how to allocate limited funds.

Aristotle outlined these three kinds of knowledge because they require different styles of thinking. If you have a phronetic problem to solve, don't use an epistemic thinker.

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