Ways Of knowing : open and closed systems

Robbie Davis-Floyd

This article appears in Midwifery Today 69 (Spring): 9-13.
Copyright is held both by Midwifery Today and by Robbie Davis-Floyd. Both give permission for the replication of this article for educational purposes.

This special issue of Midwifery Today focuses on midwifery knowledge. The following
articles in it will address the specifics of this body of knowledge. But first, it is important to take a broader look at the differences between open and closed knowledge systems. Why? Because any knowledge system whose adherents wish it to remain responsive to changing events in a rapidly changing world must remain open to absorbing new information and adapting itself to that new information. To achieve an open knowledge system, one must first understand what it means for a knowledge system to be “closed.”

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