Re: Metaphor and Mental Models
Tue, 20 Dec 94 10:51:09 EST

In response to Craig Carroll's comments:
"First, we think in terms of metaphor. Everything we learn is in terms of
comparison to something else we are familar
with. Second, the more conscious we are of our "root metaphors" as
graphic images of our mental models, the more able we are to change
inappropriate, obsolete, dysfunctional, or simply ineffective
"mental models." Metaphor has more power over us when we are
totally unaware of its presence, than when we ARE aware of its
presence, regardless of how accurate the metaphor is that we hold
as operative."

Going back to levels of learning, in my understanding of learning, the rules
that govern everything that we are conscious of knowing are unconsciously held.
It is difficult to explore these rules -- the set definitions and assumptions
and generalizations about how elements of a given set operate in certain
contexts -- consciously. Metaphor can be useful by allowing us to shift to
another context in which we more consciously understand the rules that govern
behavior (such as how iceburgs or butterfly wings grow), and exploring
similarities and differences between it and the context we hope to better
understand. That said, I agree with the caution of my colleagues regarding the
tendency to "reify" the metaphor inappropriately in this other context.

Marilyn Darling