Three forms of meaning and the management of complexity. – Peterson (2013)

Not wishing to trigger anyone, but. Here this is.

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Three forms of meaning and the management of complexity. – PsycNET

Three forms of meaning and the management of complexity.



Peterson, Jordan B.

Citation

Peterson, J. B. (2013). Three forms of meaning and the management of complexity. In K. D. Markman, T. Proulx, & M. J. Lindberg (Eds.), The psychology of meaning (p. 17–48). American Psychological Association. https://doi.org/10.1037/14040-002


Abstract

We live in a sea of complexity (Peterson & Flanders, 2002). The boundaries of the objects we manipulate are not simply given by those objects. Every object or situation can be perceived in an infinite number of ways (Medin & Aguilar, 1999), and each action or event has an infinite number of potential consequences. We frame our objects by eradicating vast swathes of information, intrinsically part of those objects and categories but irrelevant to our current, subjectively defined purposes (Norretranders, 1998). How do we manage this miracle of simplification? This chapter addresses this question from a neurodevelopmental and evolutionary perspective. The world manifests itself to us in the form of meaning. Such meaning, however, does not take a single form. Instead, it makes itself known in three different classes. The first class includes the most basic, universal and evolved forms of functional simplifications. This class, meanings of the known, familiar, or determinate world, includes the meanings of individual and social identity that simplify and structure the world. The second class includes those that arise to challenge the integrity of our current known or determinate worlds. This class, meanings of the unknown, foreign, or indeterminate world, includes the meanings of anomaly or novelty—the unexplored world. The third class includes those that arise as a consequence of the integrated interaction of the first two classes. This class, meanings of the conjunction of the known and the unknown, includes the meanings arising in the course of voluntary exploratory behavior. These are the existential meanings intrinsic to individual experience. Consideration of all three classes provides a comprehensive, differentiated portrait of meaning, free from paradox. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2020 APA, all rights reserved)

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