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The Difference Between Judging and Discerning

Source: The Difference Between Judging and Discerning

I am on the road for a couple of days, so I am not sure what I can post in terms of original material. I turn to pressing some great posts from others.

Val‘s post resonated with me, because judging and discerning were part of my dissertation. Hans-Georg Gadamer used these concepts in Truth and Method and they formed a significant part of my conceptual framework, literature review, and conclusions.

Gadamer proposed humans judge the world, ideas, and people as they encounter them. He used the term prejudice, which is a way of prejudging the world as we engage with it and others. In effect, there is a right or wrong way to engage. I used parentheses, because it has a negative connotation and to slow the pace of reading. It became (pre)judge and (pre)judice, which annoyed two of my committee members.

When we take more time to read text and (con)text, that which encircles us, we can (dis)cern and (in)form ourselves as we realize the world and people are complex. WE ask eloquent questions that do not have predetermined answers. We let the question frame dialogue with the world and others.

Val said “when we detach [ourselves] from the belief of good or bad, and discern life’s multicolors and shades, we find freedom beyond the rules and conditioning of the mind.” We let go of judgements of a world that is cast in binary choices of black or white, moving to complex (con)textual understandings (sub)ject to discerning and seeking new and continuous understandings. Ted Aoki contended “and” means more than the binary nature of “or.”

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About ivonprefontaine

I completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Previously, I taught for 20 years and spent the last 14 years teaching in an incrediable hybrid school setting. My dissertation topic and research were how teachers experience becoming who teachers, as human subjects. For me, teaching is a calling and vocation that allows me to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what will call me. We have begun a small consulting and leadership firm called Rocky River Leadership & Consulting Ltd.

9 responses »

  1. so good to read and absorb all your insightful posts 🙂

    Reply
  2. Thank you Ivon. I hope your traves go well.

    Reply
  3. Good perspective, Ivon. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  4. A Shakespearean character may question the finitude of freedom with, “Nothing is thus or thus, only thinking makes it so!” We may question the question till the questioning stalls – based on the limitations and ability to question. We conclude with a judgement; no detachment exists of itself. We are detached from something to be attached to something else – involving choices (judgement).

    Reply
    • Gadamer argued we begin with judgement. It is pre-judgement that helps us navigate the world, often in a taken-for-granted manner. You are right that we make choices based on judgements and pre-judgements. When we are stalled, maybe it is time to take a break from the question. Thank you for a wonderful and thoughtful comment.

      Reply

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