Thursday, 19 February 2015

THE WORD 'POTENTIAL'

Confusion reveals philosophical gulf

This word always grates for Norman Perrin. It has done so again:


As far as I have been able to tell over many years the English word 'potential' is generally used as a synonym for ability, by people who have no idea whatsoever of the distinction.

They have no idea of this because they really have no proper theory or philosophy of human mental development other than what usually boils down to unthinking and deterministic biologism: we are who we are. This goes for the most right-on would-be progressives as much as for the most hidebound reactionary: they are simply different sides of the same coin.

And horror of horrors, one even comes across this confusion, or ignorance, amongst those who practice, provide or advocate Conductive Education...

Easy solution: NEVER use this word unless you are able to define and defend it.

And Norman, do keep kicking against the pricks. If only more would...

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