TECHNE is ‘practical knowledge’. In ancient Greek philosophy this word designates ‘expertise’, ‘competence’, ‘craft’, ‘art’ in the sense of profession or vocation. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus (Marcus Aurelius) 11.5 thinks that “our own <techne> is to be good human beings“.

The word <techne> is close to the term <episteme> and to its corresponding notion. In fact, both refer to knowledge of principles. However, sometimes Platon (Plato) uses the two idioms interchangeably, and¬†in other circumstances he seems to draw a distinction between them. Therefore we can say that in some occasions <techne> and <episteme> mean ‘knowing’, so both words are synonyms of ‘knowledge’ (in its widest sense). In other occasions the two terms hold different meanings. For instance, Aristoteles (Aristotle) distinguishes clearly between the two.

Sokratiko Logo

Whenever a differention is present, <techne> implies more practical aspects: how to do something in a craft-like way. Accordingly, <episteme> implies more theoretical aspects.

<Techne> is ‘practical knowledge’. For ancient Greeks, the word also indicates the mechanic arts, including medicine and music. The English¬†aphorism, “gentlemen don’t work with their hands” originates in ancient Greece in relation to a cynical view of the arts. Because of this idea, <techne> would be only fitted for the lower class, while the upper class practices the liberal arts of ‘free’ men.

For ancient Greeks, when <techne> has the meaning of ‘art’, it also shows negative implications. Instead when it means ‘craft’, it has positive sides because a ‘craft’ is the practical application of an ‘art’, rather than ‘art’ as an end in itself.