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The Western Devaluation of Knowledge is an exploration of the causes and effects of Western cultural changes that have evolved during the past half millennium of industrialization to diminish the value of knowledge as process. Western culture has developed a conceptualization and valuation of knowledge that reverses the traditional knowledge continuum that connects data (information) to understanding. As a result, we displace the subjective and human features of knowledge with automated systems that conforms with information and devalues the knowledge process.
This book explains this change as a result of the industrial influences that began to gain strength in the 15th century and continued on that path through today’s economic and cultural globalization. The author shows that science and technology, while bringing good on many fronts have also:
Weakened or replaced traditional sources of cultural authority,
Advanced a materialistic outlook;
Hastened the broad spread of capitalist values, principles, and strategies;
Fostered a pervasive dependence on technological innovation; and
Nurtured an extreme rationality.
Osburn shows that while any one of the above cultural currently would have been sufficient to cause deep and generalized change, their confluence was the deciding inspiration for a different epistemology, one that has altered the generally accepted meaning and valuation of knowledge.