Worldview Perspectives
What is Worldview? | Culture and Experience | How Do You Know? | Cognitive and Social Culture | Worldview Noise in Communication | Worldview in Language:  Language and Thought | Worldview in Language:  Identity and Relationship | Aspects of Biblical vs. Muslim Worldviews | Contrast of African and European Worldviews
Worldview Investigation Resources

What is Worldview?


Worldview

The term worldview is used to refer to the common concept of reality shared by a particular group of people, usually referred to as a culture, or an ethnic group. Worldview is an individual as well as a group phenomenon.

Cognitive Culture

Worldview is term for what is called Cognitive Culture. This is the mental organization in each individual's mind of how the world works. Expressions of commonality in individual worldviews make up the cultural worldview of the group. This leads to the social culture, the way people relate to one another in daily activities, and how they cooperate together for the good of the group as a whole, called the society.

This means that every person has a culture in their head. This is what we call their worldview. There is a bit of difference with each individual. The culture in their head, however, includes the areas allowed to be different and those required to be the same or similar. The rigidness or flexibility of the social culture will be a part of that worldview in each member's head and part of the general worldview.

Where do we get this cognitive culture? How does it relate to the social culture? How do we learn it? It appears that the human brain has innate powers of observation, analysis, and generalization. The human mind tries to make sense out of what it observes.

Patterns are generalized from the experiences and the bits of information and observations a child gathers in the early years. This is inductive learning and is largely subconscious.

There is some commonality in our basic experience of the world, of other people and of life-events we share in common. There is also that variation of individual experience, of interpretation of that experience and of behavior based on knowledge gained from that experience.

An Ordered Sense of Reality

Human beings view the world from the inside out -- from within ourselves, viewed through the organizational "grid" of our own minds. That grid is made up of the points of contact and particular experiences we have with other components -- human and non-human -- of the world of which we are a part.

The attempt to develop an ordered sense of reality is determined, or at least guided, by our earliest experiences and then altered by conscious and unconscious processes as we broaden our range of experiences. The earliest and most significant experiences of life appear to shape our basic concepts of reality. This process leads to what we call the worldview.

Because this sense of reality determines how an individual relates to other individuals, the way they express themselves in behavior and language enable us to learn about the cognitive worldview. The language can give insights into the cultural worldview of the host culture.

Adequate

Each culture's worldview is self-contained and adequate in the sense that it provides a coherent view of reality as perceived and experienced by the cultural group under consideration. Worldview denotes the complex of beliefs, concepts, sense of order and social constructs, role-models and moral precepts which are unique and peculiar in comparison to other such complexes of other such socio-cultural groupings.

Thus – allowing for the principles of modification in each culture, and varying degrees of openness to change -- each culture's worldview is adequate for that culture and thus valid in its own terms.

Orville Boyd Jenkins

Last updated 03 March 2006

Copyright © Orville Boyd Jenkins 1999, 2004
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use. Other rights reserved.

Worldview Perspectives:
What is Worldview? | Culture and Experience | How Do You Know? | Cognitive and Social Culture | Worldview Noise in Communication | Worldview in Language:  Language and Thought | Worldview in Language:  Identity and Relationship | Aspects of Biblical vs. Muslim Worldviews | Contrast of African and European Worldviews
Worldview Investigation Resources