Page 210 - MODES of EXPLANATION

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Figure 14.11
Multiple stakeholders addressing a failing fishery. The loops on the
right refer to the models of each respective player. They can be united with a narrative
that will subsume the contradictions (after McCormick et al.)
The various essences in Figure 14.11 will overlap to a degree. The players will each have
their own model for the fishery failure, and so will need different essences for explanation.
There may be some overlap, signified by the black triangle in Figure 14.12. If a prediction
can be achieved, the narrative in question becomes more convincing. A compelling narrative
can effect a consonance of the models, so bringing greater overlap of the corresponding
essences. As the essences become unified, the experience becomes consonant, and real
progress can be made on a politically workable footing.
[insert Figure 12]
Figure 14.12
The essences invoked by the players are seen as the white circles on the
left. They have a shared partial essence in the black triangle. Conversation and mutual
respect among players cause the essences employed to come to overlap more. The
dotted lines show the shifts of each essence to that of the agreed upon commensurate
essence. Through the development of the compelling narrative, all the stakeholders
may be able to buy in. Under that narrative, all will enjoy a commensurate experience
and so be able to contribute to the wisdom of the crowd.
Consider a group of independent observers (Figure 14.13). They come first as a collection of
independent assessments (Figure 14.13a). In Figure 14.13b we see how one observer sees
some subset. There will be a collective experience at the trivial level of what everyone has
seen. That is simply a collection (Figure 14.13c). Much more interesting is Figure 14.13d,
which is a consequence of a culture, of a shared narrative. This set is not only what everyone
has seen, it is what anyone could have seen. The set in Figure 14.13d is limited by the shared
predilections and anticipations of what that culture will see. The disparate observers of Figure
14.11 are brought together in Figure 14.12. Figures 14.12 and 14.13d correspond. Science is
particularly good at getting independent observers to see the same thing.
The editors of journals are often forced into an over-reach, not being fully conversant
with everything that turns up in their journal. As a result, editors resort to ritual. Ritual is very
conservative. The journals certainly do not include what are often the most interesting things,
but they do for the most part always contain, edition to edition, the same thing. Editors insist
on that, and it is crucial for scientific progress. Progress is not change, but is lack of change
in every direction but one. And that is important, because otherwise science would
degenerate into a shambles of bright ideas. Life is not as rich and diverse as it is because of
mutation. DNA is a very conservative molecule and is dragged kicking and screaming into
change. That is what gives the commensurate experience of many living things. That is what
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