Towards Grasping the Unknowable: Networked Hierarchies of Analogies

Andrys Onsman, David Paganin

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    This paper investigates the purposeful use of analogy in teaching and learning rather than how analogy works as a neuro-cognitive activity. Nonetheless, we shall make some reference to mental processing in order to support our proposals. The use of the word purposeful in this context is taken to mean that analogies are educationally most fruitful in specific contexts. Further, it assumes that an analogy has an optimal potency, which diminishes or increases in relation to complexity and relevance. In turn, this suggests that anologies have inherent disposability, or rather, we suggest, a range of references or applicability. We discuss the notion of a hierarchy of disparate analogies to describe a single instance or event and conclude that because of the capacity to move non-linearly amongst analogies, it is more profitable to refer to a network of analogies that allow specifically purposeful understandings of a fundamentally unknowable concept. In conclusion we suggest that the cognitive strategy that drives the movement within the network is contextually-bound functionalism.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationONS091375
    Place of PublicationOn Line
    PublisherAustralian Association for Research in Education
    Pages1 - 14
    Number of pages14
    Publication statusPublished - 2009
    EventInternational Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education 2009 - Canberra, Australia
    Duration: 29 Nov 20093 Dec 2009


    ConferenceInternational Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education 2009
    Abbreviated titleAARE 2009

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