Perspectives on knowledge/knowing rooted in systems dynamics

Principal Metaphors

  • Knowledge is … the space of current possibility
  • Knowing is … system-maintaining activity
  • Learner is … a self-maintaining (eco)system
  • Learning is … adapting; co-evolving; self-maintaining
  • Teaching is … co-evolving

Rise to Prominence

late-1900s (in formal education)


Interobjectivity is a perspective on knowledge and reality that underscores the mutually affective relationships between phenomena and knowledge of phenomena. In interobjective terms, knowing is doing is being. That is, knowledge of the world – knowing – exists in agents’ actions and interactions with/in the systems that comprise them. Knowing is embodied and embedded in the ever-unfolding choreography of co-action.


Most discourses on knowing and knowing that arose over the past few centuries are indexed to humanity. Those associated with Subjectivity typically frame knowledge and knowing in terms of individual human experience, and those associated with Intersubjectivity in terms of human collectivity. The notion of Interobjectivity expands the conversation in both directions, inviting critical examinations of such assumed separations as human from non-human and animate from inanimate. On these counts, Interobjectivity collects some emergent western sensibilities – in particular, Postcognitivist Discourses, Ecological Discourses, and Complex Systems Research – while aligning with many Indigenous Epistemologies (under Epistemology).

Map Location

Please cite this article as:
Davis, B., & Francis, K. (2023). “Interobjectivity” in Discourses on Learning in Education.

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