Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences

By Donald E. Polkinghorne | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
Introduction

EXPERIENCE is meaningful and human behavior is generated from and informed by this meaningfulness. Thus, the study of human behavior needs to include an exploration of the meaning systems that form human experience. This book is an inquiry into narrative, the primary form by which human experience is made meaningful. Narrative meaning is a cognitive process that organizes human experiences into temporally meaningful episodes. Because it is a cognitive process, a mental operation, narrative meaning is not an "object" available to direct observation. However, the individual stories and histories that emerge in the creation of human narratives are available for direct observation. Examples of narrative include personal and social histories, myths, fairy tales, novels, and the everyday stories we use to explain our own and others' actions.

Before beginning the investigation of narrative proper with Chapter 2, I will use this preparatory chapter to describe the general characteristics of human existence. The first section examines human existence as a systemic synthesis of multiple kinds of reality, and identifies narrative meaning as an aspect of one of these realities, the realm of meaning. The second section then investigates the problems inherent in studying narrative meaning and suggests that, given its characteristics, hermeneutic methods provide the most adequate tools for understanding narrative.


The realms of human existence

Human existence consists of a stratified system of differently organized realms of reality—the material realm, the organic realm, and the mental realm. Narrative meaning is one of the processes of the mental realm, and functions to organize elements of awareness into meaningful episodes. The idea of different kinds of reality—in opposition to the popular notion that there is only one basic reality, the material—is explained by the concept of emergence developed in systems theory. 1 This section first describes the theory of the emergence of multiple realities, and then examines in detail the operations of the most evolved of these realities, the mental realm.

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Narrative Knowing and the Human Sciences *
  • To My Parents, Elmer and Marge *
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Chapter I - Introduction 1
  • Chapter II - Narrative Expression 13
  • Chapter III - History and Narrative 37
  • Chapter IV - Literature and Narrative 71
  • Chapter V - Psychology and Narrative 101
  • Chapter VI - Human Existence and Narrative 125
  • Chapter VII - Practice and Narrative 157
  • Notes 185
  • References 215
  • Index 229
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 232

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.