"Bateson acknowledged that every individual and every cultural, religious and scientific system has particular habits governing knowledge creation. However, he contended that most ways of knowing confuse “information,” or descriptions of reality, with reality itself. Local knowledge systems usually assume that the way they receive information about reality is immanent in the nature of that which is being described (Bateson 1987:21). To Bateson, this confusion is the equivalent of believing that the “name is the thing named.” We can never “know” all there is to know about an individual “thing,” but we can know something about the relations between things.

If we accept the primacy of relationships over facts, then metaphor, not classification, is the logic upon which the biological world is built. The logic of metaphor identifies and connects all living processes classifying the world. Language is, of course, unavoidably structured by the discontinuous nature of description or “naming.” One of the first steps to “new” ways of thinking about nature is to look at the limitations of any act of description (Bateson and Bateson 1987:144)."

Anne E. Kendrick 2003. Caribou Co‐management & Cross-Cultural Knowledge Sharing, Thesis