Metaphor and meta-process – what’s a meta-4?

Before I grow much older, I want to try and capture where my thinking is at.

I am engaging with Werner Ulrich’s JRP article from 2006, again, and from the present turn in my hermeneutical spiral.

And Stephen Downes’ inputs about PLEs is paying off here too.

As I read Werner’s comments about the ‘discursive turn’, I am noting

it tends to divert the attention of researchers away from the need to develop new skills of critical argumentation beyond those of quantitative analysis and, at the same time, to revise their notion of professional competence accordingly[dla1] .

[dla1]Connects with my experience of ‘analysis’ eg from Dunn’s policy analysis experience – analysis is not the only way to address the complex; creative synthesis, eg via metaphor, is another (and if my understanding, of all language being metaphoric, holds water, then language is /has always been our next most primary tool for /of inquiry, ie before counting, which involves ‘naming’ quantities!); so I am agreeing with Ulrich on the discursive critique approach, amongst consenting and informed and competent peers, but also going another step to a meta- metaphor – the metaphor of metaphor.

I have also made abductive connections with the reference to Don Quixote and tilting at windmills.

Another point of connection is with

Popper’s empiricist framework of science theory [dla1] apparently did not allow him to consider–and take seriously–sources of critique other than those of experimental science.

[dla1]This is where I understand myself to be still at, as a first default …

I need to remember: no grand theories; and Model II and Model I can be held by the one person, and perhaps held in tension like most living paradoxes.

Is the next grand theory that of paradox?

And earlier still, I noted, and here is the Downes process coming into play,:

Popper agreed with Neurath that there is no such thing as a direct access to empirical phenomena that would not be mediated through theoretical expectations and interpretations[DLA1] .

[DLA1]Any word in language is a theoretical expectation and interpretation .. the map is not the territory.

Hence critique of ‘naming’.

Where did I read about that recently?  About a teacher of observation and students and fish .. and making them keep on observing … Not in the apologetics item.

Perhaps one of the Google Reader ones … no apparently

Perhaps one of Giorgio’s links … drawn a blank there too???

In bed I thought that perhaps checking my internet behaviour might point to a recent web page where this might be.  Today 21/2 I cannot check that because the desktop is ‘down’.  The during the night dreaming was involving staff at UoW FoE, both Sue’s, and confusion about my role there.  Now with the desktop down, and other responsibilities of documentation having first priority, the working on that dreaming idea has escaped me.

Found it this morning 21/2 by being patient with Anecdote from Reader. The reference is

A useful meta-process idea

at Cognitive Edge has noted

Yesterday I outlined a series of known effects that produce errors in perception and judgement in humans. I argued then that attempts to train people not to commit such errors was itself an error and a good example of the idealistic approaches to management that seem to dominate much of the management and training literature.

This is what I recognise, these days, as a meta-process/ meta-statement – error at two levels, and the risk of faulty thinking that goes with such potential confusion.  (from Gregory Bateson)

This time its application is definitely for me, and my high internal locus of control and closure potentialities and my big picture thinking (NTJ in MBTI) … any idea/ ideal/ idealism is likely to have this kind of incongruence built in (ie inherent)!!! Can I think critically about that?

Kipling’s six servants

One of the reflective structures I offer to folk proposing to work with their reflections is Kipling’s Six Servants …


I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.

[Follows ‘The Elephant’s Child’ in Just-So Stories]

Today, following some work mentoring a post graduate student, I started to form a matrix of the six servants ..

and to look at the combinations: who-when; when-who; what-why; why-what; …

and the META items who-who; what-what, why-why

and think about ontology, epistemology, methodology, teleology, axiology, validity tests, objectivity/subjectivity; replicability, generalisability, universality/particularity, context, time and place, purpose and reason – a fascinating exercise.

When I have played some more, and found out how to present a table here I will report back