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Lesson Plans

Thinking, was "imagine" or "fantasize" (pretty darn long!)

From: Lawrence A. Parker (occti)
Date: Thu Jul 27 2000 - 09:32:24 PDT

  • Next message: Lawrence A. Parker: "Thinking and Education; was "imagine" or "fantasize""

    > L - how do you think we discourage them from thinking? Concrete
    > examples... How does this relate to education policymakers call
    > for students to do more reflection and to develop higher order
    > thinking skills? What have been your experiences re art ed.

    (Sorry for the delay; meetings with a GEAR UP! program)

    Good questions, Jane, and Deb's post is a good reply based on recent
    authors. (In fact, I printed it off myself; Deb, is that from a paper of
    yours? Could I get a copy?).

    Still, some of the why's and wherefores are not explained. So, I'd like to
    lecture for a couple of minutes to make what I think are the tie-ins.

    It is a combination of Psychology, Philosophy and NeuroPhysiology.

    The principle point of learning is to develop (as in 'construct') knowledge.
    One cannot 'acquire' knowledge; one can only acquire information. Knowledge
    is constructed within the individual mind. All the 'knowledge' which I have
    is a construction made of the information I have acquired (so far) in life,
    from experience, from 'doing' (this was Dewey's point - practical knowledge,
    and Habermas' instrumental knowledge).

    But, what's the point of constructing this knowledge; what happens to it and
    what do we do with it. (And this is where "imagination" and "fantasy" come
    in.) To borrow from recent developments in Analog Artificial Intelligence,
    WHAT WE DO IS TO RE-CREATE THE WORLD IN OUR MINDS. In this construction, we
    look for correspondence and coherence, so that the world around us and
    within us makes sense. Thus the analogy of the cognitive dissonance (within
    the mental world) with the impossibility of contradictions in the real
    world. (When you do find "apparent" contradictions in the 'real' (outside)
    world, check your basic premises; something's wrong. Nature does not allow

    We use this 'inner' construction of the world to understand it, ourselves,
    and our place in it. We also use it 'experimentally' for our 'what if's?'
    This is where imagination and fantasy come in. We project our thoughts and
    actions upon this world model, to make predictions and analyze possible
    consequences. (This is also the root of the psychological condition of
    psychosis: when the individual loses the distinction between the inner and
    the outer world.)

    Artists are usually people who are compelled to create images of their inner
    world. Well, in fact, we all are; some do it in business, some in military
    actions, some in theology, etc. Artists use their own visual (or auditory
    in the case of musicians) mediums.

    So, what happens between this acquisition of information and the
    EXISTING KNOWLEDGE. What needs to be done is for the information, first, to
    be checked for facticity (nasty word, but 'is it true or not?'; is it 'good'
    information?) This is Analysis. Then that information has to be checked
    against existing knowledge in the individual's 'inner world'. Does it fit?
    Does it make sense? Is it coherent and consistent with everything else in
    there? This is Reflection. How does it fit in and it's addition change
    what is already there? This is Synthesis. What is my world model now?
    Again, Reflection. And does the new model hold up (did I integrate the
    information correctly)? And, lastly, what do I do with/about what I now

    The Scientific Method is the best model for this whole process: Observe,
    Hypothesize, Test, Re-evaluate, and Derive, if possible, a Law or Principle.


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