The subject of liberal humanism is required to know. Its knowledge is won, possessed, an entitlement, a definition. Knowledge is the ground of the democratic right of electoral choice, and its analogue in the marketplace, consumer choice. It is not innate, but is planted in the subject by ‘experience’ as well as by education, the press, advertising and all the other sources of information indispensable to the free west. But the growth of knowledge in the individual depends on the condition of the subject itself — its sanity and maturity (lunatics and children are not entitled to vote), and its intelligence (there is no point in educating a person beyond his or her capacity). Some subjects are thus more knowing than others and this entitles them to audibility, authority and a relatively high price for their labour-power. Knowledge is knowledge of things and people — science, technology, psychology, worldly wisdom. It thus differentiates the subject from the objects of its knowledge, defines the subject as that which knows in contradistinction to that which is known. But knowledge is also the abstraction and introjection of the essence of the object. The subject thus contains the world it knows, the world of its knowledge. When it achieves self-knowledge, knowledge in its highest form, the subject becomes its own object and thus expands to touch the horizon of its understanding.
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- Doctor Faustus and Knowledge in Conflict
- Macmillan Education UK
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