We live a culture centred on what we call knowledge. Indeed, we frequently claim that our actions should be guided by objective knowledge. However, what are we claiming as observers when we claim to know, and to know objectively? I consider that the understanding of social phenomena requires an answer to this question. Furthermore, I think that all social and political projects imply an answer to this question. This is why, before proceeding to consider social phenomena, I shall present my answer to it, and I shall do so following the explanatory path of objectivity-in-parenthesis.
1) If we reflect upon what we do when we want to know if another person or animal has knowledge in a given domain, we discover that we look for adequate behavior or action of that person or animal in that domain, through asking an implicit or explicit question in it. If we consider that the behavior or action (or the description of possible behavior or action) given as an answer to our question is adequate or effective in the domain that we specified with our question, we claim that the person or animal knows. If, on the contrary, we consider that such behavior or action is not adequate or effective in the domain specified by the question, we claim that the person or animal has no knowledge in that domain. Of course, we apply the same criterion when we claim to know, and when we say "I know" we mean "I am able to act or behave adequately" in some particular domain. In general terms then, the observer grants knowledge to another observer or organism in a particular domain when he or she accepts as adequate or effective the behavior or action of that person or organism in that domain. Or, in other words, knowledge is behavior accepted as adequate by an observer in a particular domain that he or she specifies. As a result of this, necessarily there are as many different cognitive domains as different criteria the observer may use for accepting a behavior as adequate. Also as a result of this, each criterion that an observer may use to accept as adequate the behavior of another organism (human or not) with which he or she interacts specifies a domain of cognition in the domain of their interactions. Finally, it also follows from all this that each domain of reality, that as an explanatory domain of the praxis of living of the observer constitutes a domain of adequate actions for it, is a cognitive domain.
2) We human beings live in cognitive communities, each defined by the criterion of acceptability of what constitutes the adequate actions or behaviors of its members. As such, cognitive domains are consensual domains in the praxis of living of the observers. Due to this, membership in any human community is operational: whoever satisfies the criterion of acceptability for members of a particular community is a member of it. Sincerity is not to the point because sincerity is not a feature of the behaviors or actions performed. Sincerity is an assessment by an observer who reflects upon the course of actions of another human being in a particular domain of expectations. As a consequence of their manner of constitution, cognitive domains are closed operational domains: an observer cannot get out of a cognitive domain by operating in it. Similarly, an observer cannot observe a cognitive domain by operating in it. An observer can get out of a cognitive domain, and observe it, only through the recursive consensuality of language by consensually specifying another cognitive domain in which the first one is an object of consensual distinctions.
3) All the different cognitive domains that we human beings live intersect in our bodyhoods as the operational domain through which all arise. Due to this, relations can take place through our bodyhoods between operations that otherwise belong to independent, non-intersecting cognitive domains, like relations that an observer sees on a screen between shadows of objects that otherwise are unrelated because they lie on different planes. When this happens, illusions arise as distinctions of relations between operations that belong to different cognitive domains: any statement (or action) in a cognitive domain heard (or seen) from another cognitive domain is not valid in it and, therefore, is an illusion. At the same time, since we constitute reality with our distinctions, a distinction that an observer sees as an illusion or expression of madness because he or she does not take it as a possibility for new acceptable actions is an act of creation if it becomes, for the same or other observers, the fundament for a new domain of consensuality and, hence, for a new cognitive domain in a community of observers.
4) Every cognitive domain is a domain of co-ordinations of actions in the praxis of living of a community of observers. Due to this, every cognitive statement such as "I know..." is an operation in a domain of co-ordinations of actions which is different according to the explicit or implicit explanatory domain in which the observer finds itself through the braiding of his or her reasoning and emotioning. Thus, if an observer speaker finds itself in the explanatory domain of objectivity-without-parenthesis, his or her cognitive statements ( such as "I know that this is the case") are implicit claims of a privileged access to an objective independent reality and are, hence, demands for obedience. When we are in this explanatory path, regardless of whether we are aware of it or not, we explicitly or implicitly claim that we have a compelling argument, and that he or she who does not follow it is unreasonable, stupid or mad. If the listener observer finds him or herself in the same domain of objective reality as the speaker, or candidly accepts the other's authority, he or she does not hear the demand for obedience and accepts the statement as valid without emotional contradiction. Contrary to this, the observer listener who finds him or herself in a different objective reality from the speaker, or does not accept his or her authority, implicitly or explicitly hears the demand for obedience and reacts emotionally accordingly. If otherwise the observer speaker finds him or herself in the explanatory domain of objectivity-in-parenthesis, he or she is aware that there are many different domains of reality, all equally valid, and that his or her cognitive statements cannot constitute demands for obedience. In this explanatory path, cognitive statements operate as invitations to enter in the same domain of reality as the speaker and, regardless of whether they are accepted or not, they are listened as such. In the explanatory path of objectivity-in-parenthesis, cognitive disagreements do not entail the negation of the other, they are legitimate operations in different cognitive domains, and their recognition constitutes the possibility for a conversation that may lead to a new domain of reality where the disagreeing parties may coexist. The emotional dynamics of cognitive coexistence in this explanatory path goes through seduction, not through obedience.
5) Each cognitive domain, as a particular domain of operational coherences in the praxis of living specified as such by the criterion used by the observer to accept certain actions as effective actions, is a rational domain. Therefore, we as observers can live as many rational domains as we can live cognitive domains. However, we move from one rational domain to another emotionally, not rationally. This is so because a change in rational domain consists in the adoption of a different set of basic premises than those that define the rational domain in which one is operating at the moment of change, and this constitutively takes place as a change in our dispositions for action as a matter of our emotioning. We do not usually see this in daily life because we mostly operate in it in the explanatory path of objectivity-without-parenthesis, and as a consequence we are usually blind to our emotioning. As I said above, as we operate in that explanatory path, reason is lived as a constitutive property of the observer that allows him or her to rationally choose the basic premises that define a particular rational system. Due to this, we usually argue in a cognitive disagreement, claiming that our position is rationally grounded on some objective, rationally undeniable truth. It is only as we become aware of the biology of the observer, and operate in the explanatory path of objectivity-in-parenthesis, that we become aware that every rational system in which we operate is grounded on basic premises adopted through our emotioning. Moreover, it is only in this explanatory path that we can be aware that we live our rational systems as manners of existence. We can see that this is so in daily life when we reflect upon the strong emotional reactions that frequently arise in us when we disagree in the domains of religion, science, politics or philosophy. Religions, scientific theories, and political and philosophical doctrines are peculiar cognitive domains in that we can be easily aware that we live them as all-embracing manners of being, and we openly live our disagreements with respect to them as intolerable threats to our existence. Yet, as cognitive domains they are not special, but they allow us to see the emotional grounding of cognitive domains as a feature of our operation in daily life. In other words, the emotional upheavals that may lead to the actual mutual destruction of the participants in a cognitive disagreement do not depend on the rational content of their respective tenets, but are a necessary consequence of their operation in the explanatory path of objectivity-without-parenthesis. Disagreements in this explanatory path constitutively entail mutual negation and are existential threats. The only way to escape such an emotional trap is to move to the explanatory path of objectivity-in-parenthesis, but that cannot take place through reason, it can only take place through the emotioning of seduction.