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One question leads to another
Left handed children

FOREWORD of The Left-Handed Child in Elementary School by Dr. Johanna Barbara Sattler; pub.Auer Verlag, Donauwörth, 1993

Director of the Department of Primary and Secondary Education in the State of Bavaria

Until recently, primarily elementary school teachers were being confronted with a phenomenon for which there was no explanation. There were children coming from kindergarten, who appeared to be of normal intelligence, enthusiastic, and active. Once in school, however, these children suddenly began to change. By the time they reached the first grade, they had already started to fall behind. On the outside, they appeared to be somewhat aggressive and timid. Learning ceased to be a joy for them. Since this phenomenon did not just involve an isolated minority, teachers began to search for an explanation. For a time, it was assumed that the causes for this change might lie in the families of the children; the atmosphere of the classroom; or even in the teachers themselves. These early attempts at finding an explanation were mostly without success. Who would have guessed, however, that the roots of this problem could actually lie in the conversion of inborn handedness?

In 1987, the State Institute for Pedagogy and Educational Research for the School Advisory Center in Germany compiled materials on “The Left-Handed Child Starts Elementary School”. At the request of the Bavarian Ministry for Education, Culture, Science, and Art, this material was then expanded and addended in 1989 to become Suggestions for the Reception of the Child Into School.

Scientific journals and media reports then repeated the information to be found in these materials adding new dimensions to the issues to be discussed. Soon, it became more and more clear that a problem had been hit upon which was of the utmost importance for all those affected. Moreover, it became increasingly evident that it was impossible to be against the conversion of handedness without modifying, learning and work conditions for left-handers. Thus, in order to truly help left-handers and stop them from being disadvantaged members of our society, the real-life barriers facing this group had to be torn down step by step. This new work represents the first, comprehensive, user-friendly guide for teachers and educators. It has been specifically designed for these professionals, as they are often the first ones to come into contact with children of the age-group most vulnerable to this issue. We hope that the information provided here will be quickly and efficiently distributed.
Dr. Peter Igl

Converted Left Handedness

The Knot in the Brain: Converted Left Handedness:  Dr. Johanna Barbara Sattler; pub.Auer Verlag, Donauwörth,

A very personal introductory note: How spme individual destinies led to a personal nsight.

My friend Karl was always the best in grammar school. He also had a big heart and was good at sports. He was liked by everyone. All readily felt that he would go far. Thus, no-one was envious of him when he started studying medicine at university and then majored in surgery. Everyone knew that, thanks to his sharp memory, he would be able to master other subjects just as easily as he had once, on account of a bet, been able to learn five languages.

The proof of his all-round talent was already evident in his youth. One summer he dated the daughter of a watchmaker and worked with the father. Karl managed to absorb so much knowledge that at the end of the summer he was able to increase his pocket money. He did so by repairing and refurbishing watches and by buying up cheap bric-a-brac items which he then transformed into genuine, working antiques. All this seemed to prove that Karl was clearly destined to master the intricacies of surgery. And, true to form, he quickly made good on that promise. His assistant position at the university came then as no great surprise.

I met Karl some years later while holidaying in Spain. I was confused as to why he was there in the middle of the summer semester. He told me he had had some bad luck. The chief surgeon of the university hospital, who was well-known, had travelled to a conference unexpectedly and Karl had filled in for him. A tendon in his right hand had been injured when he was handed a surgical instrument while engaged in a somewhat difficult operation.

The story of his injury sounded like a comic anecdote. The chief surgeon was left-handed, to which his whole team had adapted accordingly. Karl, however, was right-handed. In addition the tension during the operation didn’t help matters much either. Suddenly, a routine manoeuvre turned out to be the wrong one for Karl, resulting in his injury. Karl was unable to operate with his left hand and therefore unable to fit seamlessly within that team. He had no option but to take time off.

Yet again I had the opportunity to admire his will-power and self-determination when I learned he used his absence to hone his left-handed skills. With impressive determination, he practiced virtually all day and extended it to writing only with his left hand. He had even got hold of several textbooks that dealt with exercising the left hand. He was fully committed to increasing the precision and adeptness of his left hand so that in future he would be able to operate using either hand. In short, he thought, by the end of his self-training, he would have two right hands.

When I met Karl some time later, he was still laughing at the shock he had felt on first trying to use his left hand to perform complicated tasks. The result had been disastrous. I myself have tried to do the same and noticed that my left hand is practically useless when used as the main hand. I wasn’t as ambitious as Karl, so I left it at that and there was a lengthy gap before we saw each other again.

About eight years later I tried to have a patient referred to a suitable spa. I was unsuccessful because, unfortunately, it had no spaces left. During my phone call, I was suddenly aware that the director of the spa was Karl. He must have suffered a tremendous loss in professional standing to occupy such a position. My own professional curiosity was raised to such a degree by something in his voice that I decided to personally accompany my patient to the spa. The undertone to Karl’s voice had set off all sorts of alarm bells in me.

When we met, sat and talked together Karl exuded resignation. He expressed fear about having a mysterious, progressively degenerative brain disorder which had apparently taken on psycho-pathological dimensions. In spite of this fact, Karl tried to gloss over everything, forcing himself to be optimistic. At least, he felt, he was earning a lot of money in his current role and was left in peace.

He then recounted to me how, on his return from Spain, he had studied neurology intensively as he wanted to specialize in neurosurgery. He began preparing for his post-doctoral research even more intensively. And this was when, Karl, for the first time in his life, had to realize that he somehow couldn’t keep up. He likened himself to a motor that cut out several times at full throttle. His memory began to fail him and then, because of the stress he experienced as a result of remembering these ever increasing lapses of memory, a psychological “circulus vitiosus” was created. Then, his hands began to shake and consequently he was no longer able to execute precise movements. His time as a surgeon was over.

His whole world fell apart. Everything that he had doggedly worked for since childhood was ruined. It was only a lucky act of fate that saved him one night from carrying out a carefully planned suicide.

Karl had explored a host of differing diagnoses, from “endogenous psychosis” via multiple sclerosis to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, all without positive result. He took to drink and got into trouble with the dean of his college. Then his troubles started with his wife. He appeared to solve some problems through the help of his father who got him his current post as spa director. After his subsequent divorce, Karl was not yet willing to enter a new relationship. As he himself said, he suffered from hypochondria and fearful anxiety about the future. I was only too able to confirm this accurate self-diagnosis and gave him some routine psychological advice for his future. I left Karl with a nagging feeling of powerlessness because I, too, had no explanation for his problems. Karl remained a portent of unfathomable fate, one which I tried to ignore.

Later still, after I was already looking back over a long, quite successful psychotherapeutic practice, an important ministerial civil servant was recommended to attend my office. He had already tried five therapies which he had discontinued as well as two failed suicide attempts behind him. Before him lay the prospect of the sudden termination of his career, either by being posted into a dead-end position or forced into early retirement. He described his fate to me with considerable resignation. He said it had all started with his being embroiled in a car accident. He was innocent but a child had been killed. Then, depression hit….

His wife subsequently left him, taking the three children. Then, due to faulty advice, he lost all his savings because the investment company where he had placed his savings became bankrupt. Returning home from a visit abroad, he found his house had not only been burgled but burnt out. And he was deemed to have been under-insured.

Later, delivering a routine lecture before a European Community Committee, he suddenly lost his train of thought. His memory had failed him. He began stuttering and stammering so finally left the lecture hall in a sudden panic. After that, his panic attacks came with frightening regularity. He even managed to forget what to say in relatively routine meetings and so was forced to read everything from notes. This did not always work well, especially when he had to answer unscripted questions.

During his consultation my memories of Karl and his lapses of memory were suddenly revived. After the patient himself described how he became increasingly like a “Zombie”, he had been tested for psychosis, multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s – just like Karl and again without any positive results. I considered everything that was available to the neurologist, psychiatrist, and the psychotherapist by way of diagnosis. We even explored his memories back to his earliest childhood for a cause; all to no avail.
On one occasion, the patient looked at a poster on a wall announcing the latest exhibition on Leonardo da Vinci. I noticed how the mirror writing reproduced on the poster absolutely fascinated him. I told him that this highly gifted scientist and artist had written all his records using mirror writing. Apparently, he had done this in order to guard against it being recognizable to all but some. My patient said, amused, that he, too, could write backwards. I suddenly remembered a presentation by a colleague who had also mentioned that mirror writing was one of the abilities that both left-handers and persons who have been converted demonstrate. My patient, however, flatly denied ever having been left-handed. I did not abandon the possibility of him being left handed so I took him to Dr. Sattler with her computer tests. They had once revealed me to be hopelessly right-handed. The opposite happened to this patient. He tested as a true left-hander who had been converted to his right hand. Only then did he remember that formerly he had used his left hand far more for executing various tasks, especially for work requiring precision and strength. Even in kindergarten, he had started writing with his left hand but he had been “cured” of that quickly and successfully.

It was then that I began to study Dr. Sattler’s work intensively and, at the same time, made contact with numerous other psychotherapists. We looked for patients with similar symptoms who had had little or no success with varying therapeutic interventions. We entered their biographical data into the diagnostic computer programme to ascertain their handedness. To our great amazement, nearly all the patients had once been left-handers who had later been converted. Two patients had even been converted to their left hands after having suffered accidents to their right.

And suddenly I saw before me a foreign, alien, individualistic and lonely world where people who have been converted from left to right, live and have to exist with consequences that I found hard to understand. All were in the final stages of their suffering.

Now the reason for the tragedies in Karl’s life finally had an explanation. His Herculean training amounted to an attempt to convert himself to being left-handed. Karl was unwittingly confronted with the same set of consequences as one who had been converted as a child. These effects, which are difficult enough for any “normal” child to deal with who been converted, are intensified for adults. Like many childhood maladies, it seems all the harder to cope with as an adult.

The case of the ministerial civil servant was somewhat different from Karl’s; nevertheless the causal mechanism was completely clear. His car accident and its dire consequences played a crucial role in his subsequent psychological destiny. The additional strenuous effort he had invested his whole life into constructing mnemonics in order to ensure he achieved commensurate with his intelligence was dissipated in an instant. The entire additional reserve of energy which went towards carrying the exhausting emotional baggage was suddenly lost.

It is only with continual, increased concentration that a converted left-handed child can summon the additional energy that is needed to survive. It is precisely this energy, however, which is continually drained through the emotional burden of the original trauma. It is missing when needed to think clearly, use one’s memory, and solve complicated problems: the converted left-hander’s mind simply gives way. The same ‘law’ which applies to loss of sleep and of virility applies here as well. Ultimately, the memory of having had one mental breakdown is enough to induce another, and another and another.

At the time of writing, I am now familiar with hundreds of similar examples. My colleagues have also been confronted with similar cases. Surely this reflects only a fraction of the total of human misery. I say only a fraction because only a minority of survivors actually try to seek help in the form of psychotherapy.

In our practice, we have come to acknowledge the potentially serious consequences the phenomena of converted handedness can have for those in our society seeking equal opportunities within the selection processes of our performance-driven culture. In societies where advancement is dictated by successful performance during written examinations, the possibilities for future attainment are restricted. This happens from childhood onward. Astoundingly, no one noticed what was going on until a solitary scientist began talking about and presenting her intensive research.

For me, the research of Dr. Sattler has increasingly proven to be a milestone. From my perspective as a psychotherapist who has been in ‘the business’ for many years now, Dr. Sattler’s work will one day be widely acknowledged for having identified one of the most important factors that defines personal existence. Her work, undoubtedly in my opinion, constitutes one of the most important bodies of scientific research of this century. My fascination with her practical research derives especially from the relationship between theory and practice. This connection continues through her current research.

The insight that one gains when confronting the true-to-life research of Dr. Sattler and her research team is simply stunning. Whereas previously hundreds of complicated theories had run rampant, there now stands a clear, single, concise, commonsensical, easily understandable simple Cause-and-Effect ‘theory’. This leaves me puzzling why we never noticed the connection before. Why had no one been able to put the ‘obvious’ pieces of cause-effect, and action-reaction together before?

Dr. Sattler’s success is all the more astounding given the many different branches of science that had attacked this problem. Sometimes they had even come very close to finding the solution. But no one before Dr Sattler was able to place the individual pieces together to form a complete picture with all its true dimensions. This is, of course, the case with any great scientific discovery.

In 1987, this discovery was deservedly honoured by the International Neurophysiological Conference in Istanbul. Here, as a German scientist, Dr. Sattler, was invited to present her work personally… in English! After her presentation, Dr. Sattler and her work were referred to the world over. She continues to make countless radio and television appearances. Her portfolio of press announcements alone is, at the time of writing, over three and a half centimetres thick.

Finally, it occurs to me that we are dealing here with a classic example where many personal problems can be completely eradicated through simple preventative measures. At the same time, we also have an extraordinary straightforward example of a cost-and-benefit analysis. The earlier the intervention is introduced, the more successful and the more cost-effective it will be. This surely means we must start in kindergarten and primary schools. The case for such early prevention is exactly the thrust of Dr. Sattler’s work which is presented here with the greatest of clarity.

Dr. Ivo-Kurt Cizek, Dipl.-Psych., M.A. (Soz.)


Blik: trauma and latent talent!

Igniting the spark, THE TIMES Friday 30 September 2005 (Times 2) Interview by Richard  Morrison
The story of Maurice Blik gives hope to anyone drifting into middle age. In his 40s, he changed his life
completely and is now one of the world’s top sculptors.

How late can you change your life? If you are in a comfortable rut with a job that doesn’t stretch you but pays the bills, is it time to shrug and accept the way things have turned out? Even if you have a feeling that you could have made more of yourself? Even if you sense that within you, flickering still, is a spark of creativity that might have lit up the world? Two decades ago, Maurice Blik had more cause than most to take the easy path through the rest of his life. His childhood had been wracked by horrors worse than most of us could imagine. It had left him physically and emotionally scarred. He had known what it was like to be a dispossessed alien in a land whose language he did not speak. But he had not just survived, but carved out a decent career as an art teacher. Married with children, he was outwardly content. If he had coasted through the rest of his years on psychological auto-pilot, his life would still have been deemed a triumph against the odds.

Yet in his mid-forties, Blik did something that should give hope to anyone drifting towards obscure middle age. Prompted by two twists of fate – one a chance encounter; the other a revelation by his dying mother – he ignited that spark within himself. And what a blaze he started. Today, Blik – concentration camp survivor and refugee – is one of Britain’s most successful sculptors. His bronzes adorn museums, banks and hospitals. He is a past president of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. And this week it was confirmed that he will create a large sculpture for the multi-billion redevelopment of King’s Cross. His story obviously has heroic aspects that none of us could emulate. But at another level, that of a middle-aged man who decided to make the most of his latent talent, his example should inspire anyone who has ever started a sentence with those defeatist words: “I could have been … if only”.

Blik was born in Amsterdam in 1939. The worst possible time and place to be a Jewish baby. One of his earliest memories is of his mother sewing the yellow star on his clothes. “Why do we wear that?” the three-year-old asked. “Because we are special people,” she replied. The Bliks heard the ominous bang on the door in 1943, when Maurice was four. Like Anne Frank’s family, discovered a few streets away, they were sent first to the Westerbork concentration camp. From there Maurice’s father was deported to Auschwitz. They never saw him again. Maurice himself contracted a mastoid infection and might have died but for primitive surgery by an inmate. “He carved away a chunk of my skull as best he could, and saved by life,” Blik says.

Then, in late 1943, with his sister, mother and grandmother, he was sent to Belsen. “My mother was pregnant,” Maurice recalls. “The child, a girl, was born in Belsen – and she died there.” Belsen was not, officially, a “death camp”. But with food growing scarcer and sanitary conditions increasingly dreadful, death was ever present. “As a four-year old I thought that what happened in Belsen was what life was all about,” Blik says. “I wasn’t aware that it was horrific to have to drag dead people out of their bunks.” So little food was available that people eked out a crust over several days, sleeping with it under their heads. “Of course, when they died the first person to find them could take the bread,” Blik recalls. “I became very good at telling when people were dying. We had to survive.”

Belsen was liberated in April 1945. But by then the Bliks had been moved. “I think the Germans wanted to clear up the evidence,” Blik says. “So two trains left Belsen packed with prisoners. We were on one.” They were locked in for two weeks, people dying all the time, until this nightmare journey ended near Leipzig. “I looked out of the window and saw Russian Cossacks galloping on horseback towards us. That was it. Our liberation.”

Curiously, Blik’s flat is strewn with sculpted horses’ heads. He has always enjoyed making them, without wondering why at least until he started working on a project with a film-maker. “One day she unearthed some footage of Cossack troops on horseback,” he says. “she said to me: ‘Look, they are just like the horses’ heads you are always making’.”Blik’s mother had relatives in England, so she and her children were sent there to make a new start. “I didn’t know a word of English except the address of an aunt in Cheltenham. The aunt, though, was horrified by us, mainly because when she put food on the table my sister and I would just pounce on it. We hadn’t picked up many social graces in Belsen.” The six-year-old Maurice not only had the bloated stomach of the malnutritioned, but impaired hearing, the result of the, primitive operation in the camp. That needed more surgery. School was not only incomprehensible but unpleasant. “I remember being in the playground on my first day with a circle of kids round me, jeering and laughing. Not nice.”

But a boy who had survived Belsen could survive some commonplace school bullylng. Within three years Blik was so proficient in his new language that he sailed through ll-plus and into a grammar school. There he did well. It seemed that he was going to fulfil the dream he had held since having thatlife -saving operation in Westerbork – that he would himself become a doctor and save other lives.

It was not to be. At 16 it dawned on Blik that he would never be able to deal with the ill or dying. “It was odd. As a five year-old I had pulled dozens of dead bodies out of bunks. Ten years later, I couldn’t face dealing with death.”

Instead he turned to art. He went to Homsey College of Art, taught in Essex schools, then came back to Hornsey as a tutor. And that’s where he would be to this day, had fate not intervened once more in his extraordinary life. Blik had married a potter. “I had done a bit of sculpture early on, but when I met her I gave her my studio,” he recalls. “Essentially, I lived art vicariously through her. For whatever reason, I stopped creating my own work.”

Until, that is, one of his wife’s buyers called to discuss the commission of a ceramic horse’s head. Who knows what button in Blik’s subconsciousness was pressed by that choice of subject. “I experienced a rush of blood,” he recalls. “I got some clay, made half a dozen horses’ heads, brought them to the man and said: ‘This will give you some ideas.’ He said: ‘Where did they come from?’ I replied: ‘I just made them. And he said: ‘Well, why don’t you make the head.’ It was a watershed. I hadn’t done any sculpture for 15 years. Unfortunately, my wife was sitting there, going: ‘Er, I’m the artist’.”Awkward moment? “Extremely,” Blik replies. “It was the beginning of the end of our marriage.” But it was also the start of
the life of Maurice Blik, sculptor.

There was one other curious rite-of-passage for Blik to go through before his creative gifts were liberated. “A little while before my mother died in 1986,” he recalls, “she said to me: ‘I don’t know if we did the right thing in making you right-handed.’ I said: ‘What are you talking about?’ She said: Left handed people were thought to have something wrong with them. So when we saw you using your left hand, we forced you to write righthanded.’ I had gone through my life doing everything right-handed, feeling awkward, and not knowing why.”

Most people, discovering this in their forties, would have shrugged and said “can’t be helped now”. Not Blik. “I stopped using my right hand. I spent two days just copying out things with my left hand. It felt physically odd, of course. Yet the minute I started it seemed as if my brain had connected with my hand for the first time. Ideas flowed. It drove colleagues mad, because it was months before my writing was legible. But I felt as though filters had been removed from my brain.”

Blik’s creativity since the mid-1980s has been both prodigious and profoundly moving. His huge bronze figures typically emerge from black metallic masses like butterflies from cocoons, and stretch upwards, their fingers often just touching some mysterious shining object above them. You don’t have to be an art critic to grasp the metaphor. This might be the artist emerging from his dark past. Or perhaps it’s the
indomitable human spirit, rising from apparent devastation to reach for the beauty that will not be crushed.

Only in one terrifying work does Blik lift the lid on the waking nightmare of Belsen. In 1999 he created a bronze of a ferocious hound: a grotesque black beast, fully 8ft long. It’s no surprise to learn that this
ghastly apparition had been dredged straight from his childhood memories, like a kraken summoned from the abyss. “One day a camp guard came into the hut with her enormous guard-dog,” Blik says. “I was sitting on the
floor, and she started to torment me by eating this juicy apple. I knew what would happen if I reacted. So I sat there motionless. Then she put the core on the floor, set the dog to guard it, and wandered off. The dog would have ripped me to pieces if I had tried to take it. When she came back she laughed and began to grind the apple into the floor with her boot. Well, a few years ago when I had a West End
show, it occurred to me that I needed to create this dog.” To have experienced such sadism at five, and yet be capable of creating sculptures that convey a huge optimism about mankind – this suggests that Blik has a remarkable capacity for detecting glimmers oflight in a dark world. “Oh, I’ve always had an optimistic view of the world,” he says. “The Holocaust was a terrible event. But the people who came out of it have often gone on to achieve phenomenal things. That’s what I want to show.”

Karl Popper

Popper text

Novice - Expert

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The poet John Donne proclaimed long ago “… no man is an island”. In keeping with this sentiment the ‘unit of discourse’ on this web-site is not the de-contextualised individual but individuals acting in social contexts. It follows that there is a need to agree on working definitions of three key ‘ordinary language’ terms, communication, common-sense and interaction.

• Communication: the shared interpretation of action
• Common-sense: when what we see agrees with what we hear such that we feel comfortable with the common message from the different senses.
• Interaction: exists, primarily in two forms weak or strong.
• weak interaction – where neither party to the action changes in any respect as a result of the action.
• strong interaction – where both parties to the action change in some respect.
• [it is recognised that a mixed form exists – where one party changes but the other doesn’t.]

The major difficulty in appealing to common-sense to settle matters under dispute is that common-sense is itself seldom defined. Both the Ancient Greeks and Rene Descartes defined common-sense (operationally) as when the messages from an individual’s different sense are in harmony.

The normative definition of common sense as when everyone agrees fails to overcome the objection that one person’s common-sense is often another’s nonsense, which is why sometimes there are hung juries. It is reported that Bertrand Russell, quoted by Lawrence Peter, well made this case when he said that ‘even 50 million people can be wrong’.

It is generally assumed that when two speakers use the same words, the words hold the same meaning for each. If, however, this were to be the case then it would seldom take long for novices to become experts and experts themselves using the same vocabulary would seldom disagree amongst each other.

Defining communication as the shared interpretation of action can be represented graphically as the intersection of two overlapping personal action circles. This is not the conventional definition: the transmission of a message from a transmitter to a receiver. This mechanistic model offers three explanations for poor communication; interference between transmitter and receiver, fault with the transmitter or fault with the receiver, or various combinations amongst all three. This normative definition promotes many opportunities for much fruitless ‘research’ for and endless debates over the causes of lack of personal progress. It is a totally inappropriate model in the world of pedagogy.

Four objects are used both literally and metaphorically :

• The jigsaw puzzle: embodies the fact that the different parties to the interaction each have some pieces of the overall picture, that we need to make sure the pieces are face up and then placed together to see what overall sense can be made of the seemingly nonsensical pieces the world throws at us to create intractable problems

• The ice-berg: captures the fact that beneath the visible, audible and tangible surface problems there are invariably deeper / hidden problems.

• The tetrahedral or four-faceted pyramid; embodies the view that human beings are not the sum of separate physical, intellectual, emotional and social parts, but that these are facets of a single integral whole. One implication of this image is that if one facet is found to be out of kilter, other facets will, on closer probing, be found to be out of kilter too.

• The computer: captures two notions.
• the brain is hard-wired, but unlike the computer it is hard-wired to be more adept with one or other hand.
• just as the computer uses software to run tasks, the human brain is programmed -amongst Anglo-Saxon speakers- by the language of human rights. This image hints at the nature of the mental gymnastics natural left-handers have to perform living in a right (handed) world.

Pepper’s root-metaphor world-view
As long ago as 1942 Stephen Pepper published a book entitled World Hypotheses: A Study in Evidence, in which he made four claims:

• nobody can be convinced against their own (better) judgment,
• radical destruction is more difficult than construction: that is, it’s not so easy to get to rock solid foundations. Yet unless we do we’re building on shifting sands!
• that amongst all the objects in the world there are the hypotheses that we hold about how the world itself ‘works’,
• there are three cognitive attitudes: dogmatism, utter scepticism and reasonable scepticism.

There are several set of implications, (in agreement with Karl Popper). The first set:

• there is no single totally objectively neutral view of the world,
• all observations are biased (that is, inevitably theory laden, no matter how implicitly held or how inarticulately expressed)
• the very facts we choose to accept as evidence vis à vis some contentious issue are impelled by our world views. This explains, in a nutshell, why experts working in the same field so often disagree amongst themselves – it’s not so much that the vocabulary is different but the images and actions which lie behind the vocabulary which are.

The second set:
• changing the position of dogmatists entails challenging, but indirectly, their reliance on self-evident principles, immutable truths and infallible authority.
• utter sceptics, in so far as they claim not to believe in anything, are dogmatists by another label.
• reasonable scepticism is the hallmark of doubters waiting to be convinced by the quality of their self-validated evidence.

Pepper’s major contribution, was, however, to note that the potentially infinite number of hypotheses collapse, under close scrutiny to just six, which he named Animism, Mysticism,
Pepper’s framework explains why one expert’s facts are another’s highly interpreted evidence.


An alternative depiction is a 3-dimensional space in which (a) the ‘con’ is deleted from Contextualism to give Textualism (b) at the centre of the three other overlapping relatively adequate world views – in the horizontal plane and (b) placing the other two relatively inadequate overlapping world views in the vertical plane. This acknowledges the fact that ‘cognitions’ don’t exist independently of ‘emotions’.

Pepper’s work, in many respects, pre-dates both Mary Douglas’s (1987) How Institutions Think: Routledge, Kegan & Paul and George Kelly’s Personal Construct Theory (1955) London; New York: Routledge. In Kelly’s, Pepper has categorised personal constructs into six root world-views.