(Copyright © 2000 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
This is an analysis of narrative literature (written by a professional
psychologist) but it ends providing hints towards a full-fledged theory
of the self.
Bruner shows that there are, basically, two kinds of thinking (paradigmatic and narrative), and they are like two different substances in that they represent the world in different ways and they obey different laws. They are irreducible to each other. One is reasoning, and the other one is narrating. One produces logical arguments whose goal is truth. The other one produces stories whose goal is plausibility. Abstract form is the key element of the former, whereas human psychology is the key element of the latter.
Bruner points out that human civilization has developed sophisticated analyses of how to think in the paradigmatic way, but has little to say about how to think in the narrative way (how to write good stories).
Bruner believes that narrative thinking incorporates two dimensions: the "landscape of action" (the plot) and the "landscape of consciousness" (the motivations). The former outlines the actions and the actors, the latter outlines their mental states (goals, beliefs, emotions).
After a lengthy discussion of Vygotsky, Bruner builds upon the Russian's theory: reality belongs to two spheres, the natural and the social, the former being more aptly described by paradigmatic thought (sciences) and the latter being more aptly described by narrative thought (humanities).
After an equally lengthy discussion of Goodman, Bruner accepts the idea that minds are tools to create worlds.
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