The four forms of knowledge for a lived philosophy

Ancient knowledge was never conceived like our scientific knowledge (savoir), because it always involved a know-how (savoir faire), a knowledge about how to live (savoir vivre) and, ultimately, a certain way of life. As Pierre Hadot points out, “the Greeks profoundly felt that there is no true knowledge (savoir) which is not a knowledge embracing one’s whole soul, thereby transforming the total being of the person who exercises it”.

Similarly, the Cognitive Scientist John Vervaeke refers to four different ways of knowing. Participatory knowing refers to knowing how to act in the environment (this might be similar to what the Greek’s named a certain way of life). Perspectival knowing refers to knowing via embodied perception (savoir vivre). Procedural knowing means knowing how to do something (savoir faire). Finally, there is propositional knowing, which is knowing that something is true (savoir).

In recent year, scientific knowledge (savoir) has dominated many aspects of society - especially my own ways of knowing. A lived philosophy, such as ecophilia, tries to bring back an balance all four forms of knowing