Page 121 - MODES of EXPLANATION

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a consequence of these epistemic interests. The response to such questions is an
explanation. Whenever we possess an explanation, we also have an understanding of
the question which has been answered by the explanation. But our background
assumptions determine what the relevant answer to our questions is. Explanations
take part in a bigger system of beliefs.
Kelly (1955/1991), the original clinical constructivist, observed that “a person’s
processes are psychologically channelized by the way in which he [or she] anticipates events.
Cognition is the bringing forth of a world; the meaning of something is no longer understood
as resulting from a correspondence between an object and a symbol but as the emergence of
stable impressions and patterns – invariants. These develop in the course of time. A regular
pattern must have appeared first before we can take it to be a feature of a world that we
consider independent from us.” Much of the force in the creationism/evolution debate lies in
concerns for how our children and their minds construct the patterns underlying the processes
by which events are anticipated and how on that anticipation decisions are made. The
unspoken assertion here is that the initial formulation of these constructs is critical to how we
cognize the patterns we ultimately “see” or “recognize.”
“It is not that first context is determined, and then relevance is assessed. … It is
relevance which is treated as given, and context which is treated as a variable …
context is the result of the interpretative process. That is to say that not all pieces of
information that are manifest to an individual at the time when he processes an
utterance are equally accessible, some assumptions are more manifest than others. As
the quest for optimal relevance only selects a small portion of all the assumptions
manifest to a hearer, it follows that given the very unlikely situation in which two
addressees of the same utterance would have two identical cognitive environments in
terms of the assumptions that are manifest to them, they might still differ with respect
to the degree of manifestness (or accessibility) to which these assumptions are
activated in their cognitive environment.” As a result, the same utterance could lead to
a different interpretation for these two individuals simply because different
assumptions will be selected first depending on their degree of manifestness. The
organization of the individual’s encyclopedic memory, and the mental activity in
which he is engaged, limit the class of potential contexts from which an actual context
can be chosen at any given time..people are nearly-incorrigible ‘‘cognitive
optimists’’. They take for granted that their spontaneous cognitive processes are
highly reliable, and that the output of these processes does not need re-checking.
(Sperber & Wilson, 1995 as summarized in Maillat, 2013)
“The process of learning is, at root, a process of building new mental models and we
tend to build them out of stuff we already know, integrating new information with
previous life lessons.” (Rosen, 2012)
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