Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Why Can Children Understand?

"Why can children understand stories so much earlier than logic?" Jerome Bruner, quoted by John Deely .


Cass said...

Well, I'll tackle that one.
Perhaps because what men most times mean by logic is significantly cramped and is thinking strictly inside the box, as opposed to plain thinking in its proper purity. There's two or three (or four) styles of logic one may choose between, consulting wikipedia, classical and newer variants, all somewhat mutually contradictory.
Even common sense logic is conditioned by and contingent on experience of how things work in the world we see. E.g. "You can't have your cake and eat it, too."
Grown ups understand that, and some may wait impatiently to see the day their children glom onto its wisdom.
But, a youngish, thoughtful child might reply, "That makes no sense. For, how can you eat a cake if you don't have it? Or, what would be the good in having a cake except to eat it?"
The sort of cake that one both has and eats is story-cake. It never stales, it's always nice according to an individuated sense of nice, and one is free to enjoy it in a single bite, or more sparingly, over and over, as often as one likes.
No empirical cake of this world is so obvious or credible as that. The other kind, the mundane kind, comes later to our understanding, being only a lesser substitute, like margarine for butter in time of war.

Doug P. Baker said...

Logic really can be a poor substitute for living stories! I love your analogy in the final sentence!