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HELBERT A.

PAAT STS 1 Position Paper

The paper “To look, to see, to know” by Ludwik Fleck offers us new and
exciting views of perception. This is one of the most profound insights I appreciate
from the paper:
In order to see one has to know what is essential and what is inessential;
one must be able to distinguish the background from the image; one must
know to what category does the object belong.

After the author discussed the essence of knowing and understanding the
underlying explanations behind a quite bizarre instance, situation, or facet of
imagination or reality, he went on explaining the beauty of truly knowing the
contexts of phenomenon in seeing the real picture. This can be done by having a
knowledge of forms.
I agree that the very basic principle in knowing and seeing is to understand
the basic concepts of forms, which can be harnessed by knowing the right form in
contrast with competing forms or negative features. In addition to what the author
suggested, it must be emphasized that our understanding of forms is bolstered by
repetition and exposure to sensory abilities. This is the essential feature.
Discernment of the inessential feature is a result of having a myriad of
information about the essential forms. This implies that there is no need to learn the
inessential feature, but we only have to master the essential ones.
I believe the author does not only talk about perception, that is, knowledge of
forms results in a more realistic perception. But I believe he impresses same thought
about learning. Much of learning is about understanding what is essential and
inessential, basic and complex. At first, just like perception, learning is based on
forms. For instance, in mathematics, patterns in basic addition may at first seem like
knowledge that a child has to inculcate in mind. But as the child grows up and
exposes himself to much wider usage of addition, the knowledge becomes what the
author calls as “direct readiness” to solve any addition problem.
In essence, the author is saying that understanding structure leads to
enlightenment. Enlightenment then becomes a practice. And repetitive practice
causes our knowledge of structure to vanish. We no longer follow the structure as
HELBERT A. PAAT STS 1 Position Paper

embedded in our minds. But we do the practice as molded by experience and


exposure.