Posts Tagged ‘thinking’
Human cognition and thinking are much more complex than the cognition and thinking of other primates. Human social interaction and organization are much more complex than the social interaction and organization of other primates as well. It is highly unlikely, we would argue, that this is a coincidence. Complex human cognition is of course responsible for complex human societies in the sense that human societies would fall apart if human-like cognition were not available to support them. But this cognition- to-society causal link is not a plausible direction for an account of evolutionary origins. For that direction of effect, there would need to be some other behavioral domain in which powerful cognitive skills were selected, and then those skills were somehow extended to solving social problems. But it is not clear what other behavioral domain that might be, given that we are trying to explain the many particularities of cognitive skills supporting humans’ unique forms of collaboration and communication, including in the end such things as cultural conventions, norms, and institutions. It seems highly unlikely that cognitive skills adapted for, say, individual tool use or the tracking of prey could be exapted in this way for such complex cooperative enterprises. And so, in the current view, the most plausible evolutionary scenario is that new ecological pressures (e.g., the disappearance of individually obtainable foods and then increased population sizes and competition from other groups) acted directly on human social interaction and organization, leading to the evolution of more cooperative human lifeways (e.g., collaboration for foraging and then cultural organization for group coordination and defense). Coordinating these newly collaborative and cultural lifeways communicatively required new skills and motivations for co-operating with others, first via joint intentionality, and then via collective intentionality. Thinking for co-operating. This, in broadest possible outline, is the shared intentionality hypothesis.
Many of our difficulties in our practical lives are not of the form of “problems” that we can solve by reasoning; nor are they are “empirical problems” that we can solve by discovering something currently unknown to us by the application of a science-like methodology. They are difficulties of a quite another kind: they are relational or orientational difficulties to do with how we, as practitioners, spontaneously respond to features in our surroundings with appropriate anticipations ‘at the ready’, so to speak, thus to ‘go on’ within them without being (mis)lead into taking any inappropriate next steps. Difficulties of this second kind are not solved but resolved in the course of our ‘moving about’ within our surroundings, in our tentative explorations of the possible next steps they make available to us. Thus the outcomes of our inquiries as practitioners are not to be measured in terms of their end points – in terms of their objective outcomes – but in terms of what we learn along the way, in the course of the unfolding movements they led us into making. In other words, rather than resulting in nameable ‘things’ out in the world, i.e., products, their results come to be registered in our (still in process) embodied capacities and sensitivities. What is special about this kind of learning without explicit teaching, is that it occurs spontaneously, throughout our lives; it is basic and prior to all our more self-conscious learning and teaching. It gives rise to what I have elsewhere called withness-thinking or thinking systemically, and my purpose here is to explore the collaborative nature of the practices involved in such sensitivities coming to be shared within a social group.
The way I see it, philosophy should serve human flourishing. To this effect, philosophy should break away from its academic and scholarly boundaries, take seriously its Socratic origins, and develop communicative strategies that work in the contemporary context. Philosophy is the art of thinking and its chief instrument is reason. Each human being possesses the potential for thinking and for insight. Accordingly, philosophy should strengthen that capacity. Philosophy aims to contribute to the creation of a better life as a result of an individual’s improved thinking. Thus understood, philosophy is more an activity than a discipline. Indeed, in my opinion philosophy should insist on personal, context-sensitive, multi-methodological, multi-layered and polyphonic dialogue with people. Connectivity and relatedness are of the essence. Philosophy thus conceived operates across paradigms and covers existentially, pragmatically and humanly fundamental aspects of life with energy, excitement, a sense of integration and a feel for the relevant.
In societies involved in an intractable conflict, there are strong socio-psychological barriers that contribute to the continuation and intractability of the conflict. Based on a unique field study conducted in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, we offer a new avenue to overcome these barriers by exposing participants to a long-term paradoxical intervention campaign expressing extreme ideas that are congruent with the shared ethos of conflict. Results show that the intervention, although counterintuitive, led participants to express more conciliatory attitudes regarding the conflict, particularly among participants with center and right political orientation. Most importantly, the intervention even influenced participants’ actual voting patterns in the 2013 Israeli general elections: Participants who were exposed to the paradoxical intervention, which took place in proximity to the general elections, reported that they tended to vote more for dovish parties, which advocate a peaceful resolution to the conflict. These effects were long lasting, as the participants in the intervention condition expressed more conciliatory attitudes when they were reassessed 1 year after the intervention. Based on these results, we propose a new layer to the general theory of persuasion based on the concept of paradoxical thinking.
It is increasingly popular to ‘teach’ thinking skills in schools. A diverse variety of programmes exist to support practitioners in this task, and some research has been gathered on the effectiveness of individual approaches. However, the difficulties when assessing the development of thinking skills are widely documented. This study aimed to investigate the effectiveness of teaching thinking skills explicitly to 11/12-year olds by infusing thinking skills into the curriculum (i.e., teaching thinking skills simultaneously with subject content). There were three intervention conditions: collaborative, individual and control. The effectiveness of the intervention was evaluated with a combination of standardised and study-specific pre- and post-tests. Results demonstrated statistically significant gains for both the individual and collaborative learning conditions in a range of thinking skills. The greatest increase in performance was seen in the collaborative learning condition. Educational implications for policy and practice are discussed.
Complexity theories have in common perspectives that challenge linear methodologies and views of causality. In educational research, relatively little has been written explicitly exploring their implications for educational research methodology in general and case study in particular. In this paper, I offer a rationale for case study as a research approach that embodies complexity, and I explore the implications of a ‘complexity thinking’ stance for the conduct of case study research that distinguishes it from other approaches. A complexity theoretical framework rooted in the key concepts of emergence and complexity reduction, blended using a both/and logic, is used to develop the argument that case study enables the researcher to balance the open-ended, non-linear sensitivities of complexity thinking with the reduction in complexity, inherent in making methodological choices. The potential of this approach is illustrated using examples drawn from a complexity theoretical research study into curriculum change.
This interdisciplinary work presents an integration of theory and research on how children develop their thinking as they participate in cultural activity with the guidance and challenge of their caregivers and other companions. Consider the relation of guided participation and creativity, and the roles of challenge and sensitivity of other peoples’ support of children’s effort. The author, Barbara Rogoff, a leading developmental psychologist, views development as an apprenticeship in which children engage in the use of intellectual tools in societally structured activities with parents, other adults, and children. The author has gathered evidence from various disciplines–cognitive, developmental, and cultural psychology; anthropology; infancy studies; and communication research–furnishing a coherent and broadly based account of cognitive development in its sociocultural context. This work examines the mutual roles of the individual and the sociocultural world, and the culturally based processes by which children appropriate and extend skill and understanding from their involvement in shared thinking with other people. The book is written in a lively and engaging style and is supplemented by photographs and original illustrations by the author.
How can this theorizing help us in an actual educational setting? The teacher’s task in a classroom, then, in order to get things moving, will become one of providing the appropriate conditions, as Firstness, under which something new would be produced. A classroom permeated with a creative potential of desire, curiosity, trust, and interest towards discovering something as yet unknown, has a possibility to turn into the experimental, beloved by both Dewey and Deleuze, laboratory. All one should ever do when teaching a course, Deleuze says, is ‘explore it [a question], play around with the terms, add something, relate it to something else’.
The saying goes that children are natural philosophers, precisely because children have affects and percepts, posited by Deleuze, in abundance, and here are we, adults, children no more, whose routine conceptual thinking has been reduced to the level of Secondness in the form of solely instrumental rationality. And again, in order to get things moving, teachers are to establish the Firstness, even more—as perpetual, and sharing the inquiry, inquirers—to become Firsts themselves, so as to enable their students to acquire experiential knowledge of the facts, as Secondness, by assigning multiple values of meanings, as Thirdness, to their own experience.