Page 34 - MODES of EXPLANATION

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Concurrent but orthogonal is a very different way of thought. It calls for mapping the
flow of ideas on the ellipsoid shown in Figure I.3. Given that frame, the world can look very
different. The following quotes help to frame the idea. Dewey speaks of new thoughts and
new perceptions, as does Gadamer. Gould tells us that the framing takes place in stories, and
Rorty reminds us of our goal: coping with the reality in which we find ourselves.
“No matter how ardently the artist might desire it, he cannot divest himself, in his new
perception, of meanings funded from his past intercourse with his surroundings, nor
can he free himself from the influence they exert upon the substance and manner of
his present being. If he could and did there would be nothing left in the way of an
object for him to see.” (Dewey, 1934)
“The truth of experience always implies an orientation toward new experiences. That
is why a person who is called experienced has become so not only through
experiences but is also open to new experiences. The consummation of his
experience, the perfection that we call ‘being experienced’ does not consist in the fact
that someone already knows everything better than anyone else. Rather the
experienced person proves to be, on the contrary, someone who is radically
undogmatic; who, because of the many experiences he has had, and the knowledge he
has drawn from them, is particularly well equipped to have new experiences and to
learn from them.” (Gadamer,
Truth and Method
)
“[S]ince we cannot observe everything in the blooming and buzzing confusion of the
world’s surrounding richness, the organizing power of canonical stories leads us to
ignore important facts readily within our potential sight, and to twist or misread the
information that we do manage to record. Canonical stories predictably ‘drive’ facts
into definite and distorted pathways that validate the outlines and necessary
components of these archetypal tales. (Gould, 2011)
“Knowledge is not a matter of getting reality right … but rather a matter of acquiring
habits of action for coping with reality.” (Rorty, 1991)
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