Thursday, April 21, 2011

Research: Science, Reading and Literature

Question: How do new paradigms in science relate to reading and literature?

Answer: First, the new paradigms in science:
. The universe is not fundamentally a mechanism, but an organism.

. The basic nature of reality is process.

. One of the most basic processes is transaction, through which entities are endlessly defined and redefined. 

. At its most fundamental, reality apparently consists of transactive events in space-time, which underlie what we think of as separately identifiable ‘things.’

. There is no sharp division between ‘observer’ and ‘observed’ between ‘self’ and ‘other.’

. The whole is not merely the sum of separately identifiable parts.

. Cause and effect are often inseparable in time, because events are characterized as much by simultaneity and synchronicity as by linearity.

. Inorganic and organic matter exist at varying levels of complexity, with lower levels or systems affecting higher levels, and higher affecting lower.

. Thus there is interrelationship and transaction horizontally among units (systems) on the same level, and vertically among he various levels (systems) themselves.

. As has been demonstrated repeatedly in the past, our ‘common-sense’ notions of the universe are again seriously in error.

Second, parallels between the new paradigms in science and the new paradigms in reading and literature:
“Among the major parallels emphasized are the following concepts: reality is fundamentally an organic process; there is no sharp separation between observer and observed, reader and text, reader/text and context; the whole (universe, sentence, text) is not merely the sum of parts which can be separately identified;  meaning is determined through transactions between observer and observed, reader and text, reader/text and context, and among textual elements on and across various levels.”

Comment: You’re going to have to think about these concepts, think deeply in order to understand them. As one of the science paradigms says, they violate common sense. This article should lead to a great deal of reflection. It’s a “Keeper.” RayS.

Title: “Parallels Between New Paradigms in Science and in Reading and Literary Theories: An Essay Review.” Constance Weaver. Research in the Teaching of English (October 1985), 298-316.

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