Open and Closed Knowledge Systems, the 4 Stages of Cognition, and the Cultural Management of Birth

This conceptual “think piece” looks at levels or Stages of Cognition, equating each of the Four Stages I examine with an anthropological concept. I equate Stage 1—rigid or concrete thinking—with naïve realism (“our way is the only way,” fundamentalism (“our way should be the only way and those who do not follow it are doomed”), and fanaticism (“our way is so right that everyone who disagrees with it should be either converted or eliminated”). I equate Stage 2 with ethnocentrism (“there are lots of other ways out there, but our way is best”). The next two Stages represent more fluid types of thinking—I equate Stage 3 with cultural relativism (“all ways are equal in value and validity”), and Stage 4 […]