In the final chapter of "Seeing like a State", James Scott explores two types of knowledge: metis, or practical knowledge, and techne, or technical knowledge. Metis is defined as a “wide array of practical skills and acquired intelligence in responding to a constantly changing natural and human environment.”

In short: metis can only be learned through practice. Some examples are hunting, riding a bike, driving a car or playing a sport.

“[Metis] is the mode of reasoning most appropriate to complex material and social tasks where the uncertainties are so daunting that we must trust our experienced intuition and feel our way.”

# Features

According to Scott,

“the practices and experiences of metis are almost always local”, and “applicable to similar but never identical situations.”

An example: flying a 737 requires a different knowledge set than flying a DC3, although each example refers to flying a plane.

“may well involve rules of thumb, but such rules are largely acquired through practice.” ... it “resists simplification into deductive principles which can successfully be transmitted through book learning, because the environments in which it is exercised are so complex and non-repeatable that formal procedures… are impossible to apply.”


# See also

add related concepts

# Sources

Democracy. Metis or Techne, html