Thursday, December 15, 2011
the bias of a bowling ball as a metaphor for postmodern epistemology
Last week included a team social. Each year we try and do something fun and different to end the year. This year we went lawn bowling. Despite some initial uncertainty, photos of the event revealed a lot of smiles on a lot of faces.
Essential to lawn bowls is the bias on the bowling ball, that one side is weighted. Which makes for great hilarity when folk get the bias wrong and the ball heads off into the next door neighbours game.
In the week following, a number of times I’ve found myself sitting with folk who have felt the need to declare their own bias. They are making an observation and as they do, point out that they have a particular perspective, a particular relationship, a particular history, that will shape their opinion.
Knowing my post-modern epistemology, I gently point out to them that there is no such thing as objective neutrality, that in fact ever person has a particular perspective, a particular relationship, a particular history, that will shape their opinion.
Like a bowling ball I have told them since last week. A bowling ball has a bias. Our task is not to think in straight, objective lines. Rather it is to be aware of our bias and weight the speed of the green (the context). Only by accurately knowing our bias will we ever get close to truth.
The bias of a bowling ball as a metaphor for postmodern epistemology. What do you reckon?