Knowledge Is Metaphor


In educational psychology, “constructivist” refers to a philosophy of learning whereby an individual “constructs” knowledge by adding new information to what is known. Under this perspective, the human is presented as abstraction- a sort of structure compiled by memory and information.

Under such a model we can frame a cityscape as a community of individuals. The New York city skyline becomes friends and family with taller structures representing age and experience and new construction being the newly born.

The image is quite suggestive, but at what point does metaphor become too much? Are we complicating the idea with such an effort? At what point does the metaphor bloat simplicity and work against the idea’s intention. Do certain ideas defy metaphorical explanation by their simplicity? With many ideas we reach to create metaphors of explanation but do so at the cost of simplicity. Despite our best intentions much of what we know is far simpler than we assume.

 

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