Posted by: josephsiry | September 19, 2015

From the term “Cognitive,” I infer this meaning of: any conscious effort to distinguish errors.

“The only kind of writing is rewriting.”

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast (1920-p.h. 1964.) review

I take writing and rewriting to be a means of revealing a person’s thinking, or cognitive ability to express their thoughts. Cognitive is related to cognition that field of neurological research that explores the contingent and complicated actions of mental, emotional, and physiological activity we associate with active attention to discernment.

If you look for the definition, “Cognition is the set of all mental abilities and processes related to the acquisition and expression of knowledge, attention, long-term memory and working memory, judgment and evaluation, reasoning and “computation”, problem solving and decision-making, comprehension and production of language, and the capacity for coherence in the use of logical attention to discerning the crucial from the unimportant details.”

I redefine that as a conscious use of symbols, words, phrases and quantities in speech and writing that reveals a reflective, if not a critical thought process.

Any process is a set of related steps taken, or a sequential execution of related operations to achieve a desired outcome, purpose, or end. Here is an example of a process:

  1. How do you prove that you know something?
  2. How do you show that you may distinguish facts from opinions?
  3. What is significant?
  4. When is it important to show the means by which you arrived at the significance of facts, people, events, or concepts that make up big ideas?
  5. Where is your evidence in the examples that you have presented?
  6. What examples have you assembled from your list of findings?
  7. What means did you use to extract the evidence from your findings?
  8. Who has influenced you?
  9. Summarize what you have discovered.

Ultimately meaning – that is the definition of concepts from the level of significant certainties to even trivial uncertainties of a case – comes from applying some method and expressing the sense of that procedure in a clear, developed, informative, verifiable, and considered manner.

All of our written work is evaluated and judged (or ought to be valued) on how well you convey the discoverable meaning of what you write and say.

That said,

Structure and how form follows function is crucial to consider in expressing meaning.

Might I suggest three things; A and B:

  • A) There are possible means of arranging an argument; these are:

                  Dualism –              the writer displays contrasts and comparisons.

                  Dialectical – writers construct a synthesis of a thesis and its antithesis.

                  Paradoxical – the argument is expressed as incongruous.


  • B) When pre-writing, you might want to work backwards from the most recent works, chapters, concepts or books you have read and determine if or not — the meaning of your argument {in the making} 1) adequate, 2) misleading, or 3) only part of the story of historically what we know happened, as you understand it.
  • C) I would make a list of where these authors agree on events and where they diverge when interpreting the same events. Build a case –yes your biases and findings of facts are important but so is a general recognition of whether the selected facts of any case support the argument. — hence the list needs to be reorganized in a logically perceivable way by more than one person.

Another Definition:

Incongruous, means an inharmonious or logically inconsistent but nonetheless true condition; that is to say accurate rendition of the facts.

While the word could mean out of step with the context, that meaning is not what I meant when suggesting even facts can lead to divergent conclusions and irreconcilable findings.


Joseph Siry,  Web-based writing guide with links. ‪Writing and subject guide to this site

How to write about concepts using a clear thesis. “Maybe I wanted to learn how to think. Writing is a concentrated form of thinking. “ Delillo, Don. The Art of …

For more sources of my influences after nearly 44 years of learning and teaching:

[1] Flower, Linda and John R. Hayes. “A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing”. CCC 32.4 (1981): 365-387.


The Web of Meaning: Essays on Writing, Teaching, Learning, and Thinking

The title of these eleven essays and talks comes from Lev Vygotsky (1934) famous observation that writing is elaborating the web of meaning.


[4] Bateson, Gregory. Mind and Nature

Gregory Bateson, (1904-1980)

Bateson’s rules | Mind and Nature | Mind as evolutionary | Meanings | Vocabulary | Sources. Dr. Bateson argued that in the inherent and essential feedback or …’-laws_site.html

[5] Shephard, Paul.  Coming Home to the Pleistocene (1996)

“When we grasp fully that the best expressions of our humanity were not invented by civilization but by cultures that preceded it, that the natural world is not only a set of constraints but of contexts within which we can more fully realize our dreams, we will be on the way to a long overdue reconciliation between opposites which are of our own making.”

– See more at:

[6] Hardin, Garrett. Filters Against Folly (1986)

[7] Percy, Walker. Lost in the Cosmos: The Last Self-help Book. (1983)

[8] Darwin, Charles. On the Origin of Species. (1859)

[9] Carson, Rachel. The Sense of Wonder. The photographs by Charles Pratt; New York, Harper & Row (posthumous, 1965).

[10] Williams, Terry T. The Open Space of Democracy (2004)


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