Conceptual Understanding: Paradigms of the Steamboat Pilot

Conceptual Understanding: Through our different experiences and the way we interpret different sources of information, we create different paradigms and process the environment around us differently. This creates subjectivity to one’s perception therefore we will not be certain on what the truth is.

Explanation behind CU: The steamboat story talks about two steamboat pilots and how they see the river in different ways. The novice pilot sees the river for its face value just stating what he sees as for what it is. Unlike his friend who is more experienced with the river, he can “predict” what might happen through his previous experiences. As for the novice pilot, he is still rather new to the environment therefore not entirely knowledgeable about the river and what it might hold. However, even though the more experienced pilot may “know” the river and what it might hold, he can never truly be certain of what will happen next. Hence the way that these two pilots interpret their surroundings are different which doesn’t allow either to know the absolute truth as we all have our different truths. Thus questioning what is the truth and if we will ever be able to see the truth.

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One thought on “Conceptual Understanding: Paradigms of the Steamboat Pilot

  • August 30, 2020 at 3:39 am

    Thanks Niko. Your CU is precise and clear – nicely done. What you have done here is to both summarise and explain the points very clearly. This is good work.

    The next step for you will be to see the implications. Here, that means recognising that the concept of paradigms as you have described it so well, raises implications / questions about truth. How can we know which paradigm is ‘better’? What does ‘better’ mean in this context? How do we resolve differences between paradigms? Do we even need to do so?

    And things get really interesting when we apply this idea to ourselves; why is it that say, parents/children see things differently? What are the paradigms? What about brothers/sisters? Teachers/students?

    But looking at differences in this light I think we can see that we can come to appreciate the multiple perspectives better.

    Thank you, and well done.


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