A Schoolman’s “Doubtfulness”—Metaphors on Literacy and Cognition

  • Che Kan Leong


The Oxford English Dictionary defines a schoolman as: “one engaged in scholarly pursuits; a professional teacher or student” and also this version: “one who is versed in formal logic.” It is in this latter sense that the metaphysical poet John Donne’s utterance should be interpreted: “To schoolman I bequeath my doubtfulness.” It is from both of these directions—scholarly pursuit and academic disputation—that I attempt, even if only obliquely, my interpretations of what Olson (this volume) makes explicit here and elsewhere. Within this context, my interpretations are more in the way of self-doubts and Socratic questions. Socrates asserted that those he questioned knew the answers but had forgotten them temporarily. Thus the answers would need to be roused. I hope to be rewarded, not with a cup of hemlock poison as Socrates got, but with what William Cowper calls the cup that cheers but not inebriates.


Symbol System Oxford English Dictionary Scholarly Pursuit Visual Thinking Canadian Psychology 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Che Kan Leong
    • 1
  1. 1.Department for the Education of Exceptional Children College of EducationUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada

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