Topic IX: Evaluation Imperative

We may not pay attention to the outcome (Ot) of our step (Og => Mg), but we obviously should. The next and/or a later step can be the better for it, especially if we are into problem solving. It is true that not all steps may serve situational problem solving; but behavioral problem capabilities can be turned elsewhere (e.g., Art – art with a capital A). Outcomes there are informative too.

We need to distinguish evaluation, with its focus on outcomes, from valuation. The latter, as we shall see in the next section, pertains to minding’s cognitive assignment of attributes to one or more entities, as in the common procedure for identification or decision making. The result then is an observation (On), a kind of outcome. (The only moving is communicative, so, as often observed, an observation may not turn out to be very consequential: “Sticks and stones…” But On’s find usage among incompletely instructed and/or uninformed step takers, thereby giving communication ample employment as conveyor [of "information"]. And when an On is used by and for minding in another step, whose Mg is more consequential [see "the power of ideas"], then “Sticks and stones…” is revealed as an anti-proverb.)

In evaluation the outcome is the focus of attention for minding’s cognition in a next step. Cognition there then relates it to any of these four: the BE itself (“feeling” – better or worse); the prior step’s Mg (instrumentality — good or bad move); the prior step’s Og (guidance — right or wrong); or any On used by and for the prior step’s Og (“testing” – true or false). Mg’s communication, following the cognition re the Ot, then produces a distinctive kind of observation. We shall call this knowledge (K).

The first three are (very) personal (“I know how I feel!”) kinds of knowing, and knowledges thus produced are not easily countered by others Nor are these easily shared, making collective minding difficult.

We can entertain one or all three of these personal knowledges with regard to any outcome. The fourth can be a personal knowledge, but is typically pursued procedurally by a professional observer, subjecting an observation to test (if it is testable). Professional observing, as by scientist or journalist or scholar, puts a premium on coverage and accuracy with respect to produced On’s. We aim at public knowledge, and an understanding of the Nature of Things – not just the order of things.

Public knowledge depends on agreement, best with agreement as to the implications of outcomes. Even if personal knowledges are shared (in some sense, to some degree – e.g., empathy), we find it difficult to establish such a shared condition outside a formal testing arena. Achieved agreement on some personal knowledges may be limited to shared situational experiences.

We need to distinguish knowing from learning. They have been hopelessly confused and confounded in popular usage. Both are items for/from the Behavioral Manifold: need, process and product; and so on. But the term “learning” is commonly used to cover all three stages, while “knowing” is not so favored: “knowledge’ is called upon to represent need and product. To achieve some clarification, we shall say that learning implies acquiring something that someone (else) already knows. (They may not know it well, of course. See “testing” above. And familiarity, as via knowledge as acquaintance and/or recognition, is something less than behavioral necessity calls for.)

Knowing is limited here to outcome-informed cognition. Common forms of learning, such as imitation and rote exercise, are more concerned with behavioral solutions, Sbeh, than with our fundamental behavioral problem, Pbeh.

Formal education can pose a serious imbalance, to the extent that it emphasizes learning over knowing. This to the distress of students whose life, from the earliest year’s cries through making “noise” with pots, pans or whatever, to adolescent “finding things out for themselves,” has been focused on outcomes from moves they made. (Even some of their learning has come from observing the outcomes of others’ moves. [Observed moves that can appear to someone possessed of potentially relevant elicitable criteria as mindless].)

We might make problem solving an integral part of education, formal and informal, and as early in the formal educational experience as feasible, because problem solving refracts Pbeh and the Nature of Things. This seems a promising forward path toward improved capability and effectiveness (See Education).

Formal modes of, and tools for, knowing need review (see the many impediments:). Just a few examples:
  • “Development and research” makes as much sense as “research and development.” Ability to compose is a valid test. More so than prediction, perhaps, because development of compositional capability demonstrates more of an understanding of the Nature of Things. (See .)
  • Knowledge structures, especially theories, should respect behavioral necessity as well as logical necessity. We need theories FOR, not just OF and/or ABOUT. Possibility calls for such a before-the-fact understanding, not just an after-the-fact concept-heavy weak interpretation based on history’s particulars up to now.
(c) 2010 R. F. Carter


Supporting Audio

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Supporting Diagram

Click to Download Diagram
(x) Downloads