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On Knowing

On Knowing

Essays for the Left Hand, Second Edition

Jerome Bruner

ISBN 9780674635258

Publication date: 01/01/1979

The left hand has traditionally represented the powers of intuition, feeling, and spontaneity. In this classic book, Jerome Bruner inquires into the part these qualities play in determining how we know what we do know; how we can help others to know—that is, to teach; and how our conception of reality affects our actions and is modified by them.

The striking and subtle discussions contained in On Knowing take on the core issues concerning man’s sense of self: creativity, the search for identity, the nature of aesthetic knowledge, myth, the learning process, and modern-day attitudes toward social controls, Freud, and fate. In this revised, expanded edition, Bruner comments on his personal efforts to maintain an intuitively and rationally balanced understanding of human nature, taking into account the odd historical circumstances which have hindered academic psychology’s attempts in the past to know man.

Writing with wit, imagination, and deep sympathy for the human condition, Jerome Bruner speaks here to the part of man’s mind that can never be completely satisfied by the right-handed virtues of order, rationality, and discipline.


  • In this little book Jerome Bruner…has given us a thoroughly intelligent and, in the best sense, heterodox collection of essays on a number diverse topics… This book is exciting, not merely because of its method, but also because of the topics chosen for discussion. Bruner discusses education after Dewey, the teaching of mathematics, the human control of behavior, Freud—all right-hand subjects. He also discusses creativity, art as knowing, myth and identity in the modern novel—and, in passing, death… The book is stimulating because it is the product of a lively mind that gives freedom to the cunning of the left hand as well as that of the right.

    —New York Times Book Review


  • Jerome Bruner was University Professor at New York University.

Book Details

  • 207 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press

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