Categories of Potential

Layers within layers

As we mature, we move not only from less to more complex cognitive processes but also rise in the orders of information complexity that we can handle. We obtain a series of recursions of the four cognitive processes in each of the four worlds of information complexity. Different individuals will mature to different levels of complexity at different stages of their lives. Jaques refers to “category of potential capability” (CPC) as a particular cognitive process within a given order of information complexity. Whereas the first order of complexity, A, is clear-cut, the second and third orders, B and C, each have layers to them. Finally, category D, like A, is equally definitive but now at the highest order of complexity.

Second-order cognitive process (B)

Verbal abstractions, then, unlike the definitive nature of concrete things, can range from unsupported assertions – “I can't stand my boss” – to arguments supported by logic – “My boss is a difficult person because….” More specifically, there are the following:

B1: Unsupported verbal assertions, through which people argue with unconnected strings of assertions – “Well, it's wrong, isn't it?”, or “You don't know what you're talking about”, or “I disagree with you.”

B2: Arguments supported by data, whereby people support their views with accumulated information to justify them: “We're selling the wrong product; look at the declining sales figures over the past six months” or “He's the right ...

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