The Divine Knot: a relational view of meaning
The article offers answers to a number of pertinent questions regarding the nature and importance of meaning as a fundamental construct in psychological science. The author’s view emphasizes the complex, multifaceted nature of meaning as a relational phenomenon. It considers meaning as rooted in the web of connections that define one’s world and the multiple contexts of one’s existence. Theoretical and methodological problems with the concept of meaning are examined in the context of the relational nature of meaning.
The author of the article considers the phenomenon of dynamic meaning generation in a dialogue. The starting points are the priority of the recipient's modality in perceiving the meaning of the message and the importance of momentary discursive characteristics when decoding it. The most difficult to understand are statements with implications, for their decoding the addressee needs a significant discursive arsenal (background knowledge, knowledge of speaker‘s personality, understanding of the specific context and speech situation, etc.). In the process of dialogue, when exchanging replicas, interpretation takes place and (often) the transformation of the essence of what has been said. We are talking about the self-organization of the process of meaning generating and the role of the subjective experience of the addressee in the individual sense-giving, which sometimes leads to a shift in the meaning. For a correct understanding of the addressee‘s replica, his communicative partner should recognize meaningful symbolic forms in the statement that rely on many operators in his consciousness, attracting possible ―preconceptions‖ and shifting their interpretation in a new direction. Such operators are, for example, standards, special forms of appraisal, means of intensifying of judgments, tropes, etc. The author argues that reinterpretation of the embedded meaning is fundamentally possible because each of us is always in one or another ―language state‖, which determines the choice of means and strategies for actualizing the speaker‘s idea and the degree of ―deformation‖ of the original meaning when perceiving an utterance. The dialogue is metaphorically represented by a pendulum: each participant, under the influence of his own subjective psychological state, contributes to the formation of the meaning of the perceived utterance.
The article discusses one argument in favor of descriptive theory of reference of proper names against the theory of direct reference which appeals to a famous example of the ship of Theseus. The author defends the latter theory by means of distinguishing the object of direct reference and its principles of individuation. The argument is discussed with reference to the works of H. Chandler, L. Linsky, S. Kripke, N. Salmon and other theorists.
In March 2011 scholars met in Prague at the conference Interculturalism, Meaning and Identity. This event revitalised this important theme related to Diversity and Recognition. The terms 'interculturalism' and 'integration' are experiencing a renaissance. As the extent of human movement between nations increases attempts are made to balance cultural difference and social cohesion. In some contexts immigration and settlement policies are becoming more draconian in response. Because of this, interculturalism can take on many meanings. However, pivotal to the way interculturalism is understood is identification. As the relationship between nation, ethnicity and language becomes more complex so too do the ways in which people represent them selves. The cultural resources drawn on and the processes used to form identities are examined in this truly international collection. So too are the implications of these developments for how we theorise culture, meaning and identity.
The article defines understanding as a fact of our mental life. It reviews how understanding is reflected in language, in philosophical literature, in theology. A significant amount of research in the field of psychology is devoted to the problem of understanding, however, the process is obviously under-explored in terms of the mechanisms of understanding in teaching/learning. The following questions are raised: When did the problem of understanding arise? What are the mechanisms of understanding? The paper identifies three factors of understanding-misunderstanding: the connection of understanding with thought producing; the alienation of personal meaning of knowledge when it transforms into meaning; individual models of the child’s world which begin to shape before language is acquired and continue to develop in everyday concepts. The paper attempts to give answers to the questions from the perspective of the cultural-historical approach. Basing on the proposed ideas about the mechanisms of understanding- misunderstanding, it discusses the ways of achieving understanding in the educational process. It is argued that understanding is always concrete as it refers to a particular student, particular topic of the lesson and is closely related to motivation.
The article identifies and justifies the distinction between subjective and event-driven approach in psychology way of life of the individual. Position disclosed approaches to key issues of psychology way of life: determination and self-determination, the lifetime of the person, life development and maturity. Outlines possible prospects for cooperation and integration approaches.
Meaning, purpose,development,structure and functioning of human subjective image of the world are analysed and discussed. Special emhasis is made on the role of culture and social interactions and meaming of self-conceptualizing and ascribing meaning to the personal experience.
The distractive effects on attentional task performance in different paradigms are analyzed in this paper. I demonstrate how distractors may negatively affect (interference effect), positively (redundancy effect) or neutrally (null effect). Distractor effects described in literature are classified in accordance with their hypothetical source. The general rule of the theory is also introduced. It contains the formal prediction of the particular distractor effect, based on entropy and redundancy measures from the mathematical theory of communication (Shannon, 1948). Single- vs dual-process frameworks are considered for hypothetical mechanisms which underpin the distractor effects. Distractor profiles (DPs) are also introduced for the formalization and simple visualization of experimental data concerning the distractor effects. Typical shapes of DPs and their interpretations are discussed with examples from three frequently cited experiments. Finally, the paper introduces hierarchical hypothesis that states the level-fashion modulating interrelations between distractor effects of different classes.
This article describes the expierence of studying factors influencing the social well-being of educational migrants as mesured by means of a psychological well-being scale (A. Perrudet-Badoux, G.A. Mendelsohn, J.Chiche, 1988) previously adapted for Russian by M.V. Sokolova. A statistical analysis of the scale's reliability is performed. Trends in dynamics of subjective well-being are indentified on the basis the correlations analysis between the condbtbions of adaptation and its success rate, and potential mechanisms for developing subjective well-being among student migrants living in student hostels are described. Particular attention is paid to commuting as a factor of adaptation.