Traiditional Navigation in the Western Pacific

The Search for Pattern

As Micronesian navigation exemplifies, people can deal purposefully with their world only insofar as they can organize their experience of it. To do this, they abstract from their experience patterns of relationship among things.

Some of these patterns are inherent in what they have experienced, but people also impose pattern on experience.

Insofar as such impositions do not produce undesired consequences, they have practical utility. Science requires that we subject such abstractions and impositions of pattern to critical examination and evaluation through procedures that are likewise subject to critical examination. But the scientist's search for pattern as the key to understanding is only a self-conscious application of the process by which humans generally achieve effective understanding.

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