Developing the Horizons of the Mind: Relational and Contextual Reasoning and the Resolution of Cognitive Conflict

By K. Helmut Reich | Go to book overview

1
Introduction

The object of this chapter is, first, to formulate a few caveats in order to lessen the risk of misunderstandings and disappointments, then to delimit the domain to be discussed, and above all, to lay the groundwork for subsequent considerations on Relational and Contextual Reasoning (RCR). This includes the basic nature of RCR, and the meaning of relational, contextual and reasoning, RCR's underlying logic, its components and internal structure, and its status as postformal theory. There follows an empirical finding as an illustration of the principles set out so far. Finally, other forms of relational thinking and their importance for the present study are discussed before briefly summing up the chapter.


Caveats

No overarching grand theory exists of everything concerning psychological development of humans.1 Clearly, each of us often (a) perceives, (b) feels, (c) reasons, (d) plans, and (e) acts in an interrelated manner, and not only in mundane affairs of daily life. Yet, present psychological theories mainly deal with only one of the aspects (a) to (e) (or any other, like motivation, e.g., Reiss and Havercamp 1998); this despite their proponents' awareness of the artificiality of such an isolating procedure. This work is no exception in that regard.

It is neither a new nor a contested claim that thought and emotion are 'inseparably' linked (e.g., Piaget 1954/1981; Bearison and Zimilis 1986; Cacioppo and Gardner 1999, pp. 194–6). Nevertheless, emotions are very largely neglected here. Cognition (perceiving, appraising, understanding, reasoning, judging, remembering, imagining, etc.) and its development, the general subject matter of this work, is complicated enough. For that reason, I further restricted this work to the development of cognitive thought processes.

____________________
1
I write this notwithstanding Wilber's (2000) A theory of everything, which is more an eclectic vision than an established theory. For the history and prospects of such a theory in physics - a culturally relative priority - see, e.g., Glashow 1980; Greene 1999; Weinberg 1992.

-11-

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Developing the Horizons of the Mind: Relational and Contextual Reasoning and the Resolution of Cognitive Conflict
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Figures x
  • Tables xi
  • Acknowledgements xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - The Theory of Relational and Contextual Reasoning (rcr) and Its Empirical Study 9
  • 1 - Introduction 11
  • 2 - Development of Rcr 25
  • 3 - Metaphysical Assumptions and Theory of Rcr 35
  • 4 - Empirical Studies of Rcr 47
  • 5 - Other Thought Forms and Matching Them to the Problem at Hand 75
  • Part II - Applications of Rcr 100
  • Overview 101
  • 6 - Methodology 103
  • 7 - Religion 116
  • 8 - The Archaeology of Rcr 133
  • 9 - Psychology 145
  • 10 - Education 157
  • 11 - Social Issues 165
  • 12 - Conclusions 185
  • Appendix 1 - Interviewing Techniques 191
  • Appendix 2 - Scoring Manual for Rcr 194
  • References 199
  • Index 219
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