Sunday, October 12, 2008

Developing the Right Language

One of my grandmothers homilies was that she did not know she was poor because no one had told her! Critical Thinking is a bit the same for me. As a practical scientist, I have spent most of my life Critical Thinking but I did not know that because we called it analysis!

As I search and develop the right side of my brain through the pursuit of art the exposure to abstruse aspects of the subject are quite enlightening. One of the pleasures and frustrations of the endeavour is the discovery of a new language and of course the words that go with it. My inadequacies in this area are evident as I struggle with the lexicon of the subject. This inadequacy was brought home to me as I listened to a commentary by Sasha Cradock on one of the works (Flowing 2 by Marta Marcé) at the current John Moores exhibition, but I shall leave Sasha to another occasion.

One of the first reoccurring words to catch my eye was "epistemology". At first glance I read it as "episiotomy", must be something to do with my daughter just having given birth. As you may imagine the sentence did not make much sense until I reread it and realised my mistake.

After a lifetime immersed in the scientific language of microbiology, biochemistry, haematology and a load more ologies getting to grips with the language of art is not far off learning Norwegian and I have been trying to do that for 14 years with little success. So you can see I may be struggling with Critical Studies!

Epistemology (from Greek - episteme, "knowledge") or theory of knowledge is a branch of philosophy concerned with the nature and scope (limitations) of knowledge. The term was introduced into English by the Scottish philosopher James Frederick Ferrier (1808-1864).

Episiotomy is a surgical incision through the perineum made to enlarge the vagina and assist childbirth.

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