Owen Barritt (hmmm_tea) wrote,
Owen Barritt
hmmm_tea

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Understanding Understanding

My use of the word understanding as in "A understands B as C" is that C doesn't necessarily have to be correct. In fact misunderstandings and misconceptions are just special types of understanding where C is wrong.

i.e. the sentence "Bob understands a banana to be a small green kangaroo with three legs and a big blue nose" would be perfectly acceptable to me (assuming that was what Bob believed) even though I know this isn't what a banana is.

Obviously omitting "as C" yields "A understands B", which then implies A understands B as a suitably correct definition of B.

It hadn't occurred to me that people may take there to be a implication that C is a valid interpretation of B in the first sentence until the past few days.

It's been quite interesting to see how the discussion of this post has developed. Most people took the sentence to mean something along the lines of A uses B to mean C and interprets B as C when they hear it used by someone else. The question of whether C should be a correct understanding seems a little less straightforward however.

I suspect I've picked up this way of thinking about understanding when I was doing a PGCE a few years ago, as I'm fairly certain it was used this way in some of the articles I had to read.

Anyway, just to round the discussion off. A poll:

Poll #1157747 Understanding

In the sentence "A understands B as C". Does C need to be a correct understanding of B?

Yes
0(0.0%)
No
12(92.3%)
Unsure
1(7.7%)


...And for my next post I shall explain what I think the subject line of this post means just to continue the sequence...

...or maybe not as the case may be.
Tags: contemplative, education, language, poll
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