Now, it is hardly controversial to suspect, I believe, that the identity of cultures, and sub-cultures, of course, is based upon the sharing of such low- and high-level narrative structures to a considerable extent, or, as we might say, of more or less specific constituents of world views. And, as the cognitive psychologist Roger Schank has claimed, the sharing of certain stories actually defines a culture or subculture, although their members often are unaware of such stories' existence; they are rather tacitly taken for granted and appear in highly abbreviated form.
In this paper, though, I will argue that (i) pictorial works of art indeed imply wider world views or schemata, and (ii) that our comprehension of these schemata can be explained by taking recent research within cognitive psychology into account. More specifically, I will argue (influenced by, e.g., the work of Roger Schank) that intelligence basically consists in the storage and retrieval of action scripts or schemata which may occur on various levels of abstraction. The possession of high-level narrative structures, shared by a relatively large group of beholders is, I will claim, actually correlated with our comprehension of pictorial works of art as such, but also imply world views.
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During the last few decades, the view that no theory-neutral observations are achievable has gained relatively wide acceptance among philosophers of science and epistemology as well as other scholars within the human sciences. In its most radical versions, this view has led to various forms of cognitive relativism, that is, the view that beliefs and assertions (based upon observations) cannot be justifiable or true in any neutral sense, but unavoidably have to be judged so in relation to certain theoretical, historical, sociological, cultural or even subjective presuppositions - or, put in another way, world views.
Cornerstone Curriculum: World Views of the Western World
(ii) Second, world views can be characterized by their ways of categorizing reality. The process of classification, that is, naming objects and conceptually subsuming them under larger more general groupings, appears to be a universal phenomenon in all societies, although, of course, a wide variety of classification schemes exists. On a fundamental level, this seems especially to be the case regarding two contrasting classificatory distinctions, namely what should count as "real" or "unreal" and "natural" or "supernatural," respectively. However, category formation appears, sometimes to a remarkable extent, to hold across a diversity of cultural environments, since the features of the category members in question are similarly perceived among various categorizers. Although it is obvious that the world in principle may be structured in an infinite number of different ways, several psychologists and anthropologists have nevertheless stressed the significance of structures inherent in the environment for category formation. While acknowledging possible higher-level influences on classification, such as linguistic, cultural or cognitive presuppositions, they still assume that evolutionary processes, in combination with environmental features, have had a major constraining impact on how categories are formed.
A world view or worldview is the ..
(iv) Fourth, Kearney suggests that the notions of Space and Time might also be considered to be basic characteristics of world-views. Linguistically speaking, all known languages express a concern with directions and locations, such as , and so on. The perception of space, however, may vary due to environmental or other influences. For example, a Pygmy, who has spent all of his/her life in the forest where one cannot see for great distances because of the denseness of the vegetation, may perceive objects outside the forest in a considerably different way from people acquainted with expansive areas. From the perspective of such a person, large animals several miles away on a savannah may be mistaken for insects. According to numerous psychological findings, human beings seem to be able to abstract spatial relationships apart from sensory knowledge, that is, create and store mental representations and maps of spatial features.