Tuesday, May 29, 2012

They're Everywhere

As you finish term projects and prepare for exams, be on the lookout for interesting ways of knowing.  For Friday, please describe an instance to which you then apply the question "does knowledge, including culture, depend on language?"  For Monday, build on the observation and analysis of a classmate; extract a knowledge issue from another's Friday post and connect it to a separate moment of knowledge of your own.  You may even wish to view the moment through an Andersonian lens.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

How Can I Help?

On the heels of Sonia's powerful and impressive senior project presentation last night, I would like us to consider the difficult conflict of idealism and practicality.  As Emilie highlighted with her question for Sonia, there are limitations and challenges in the delivery of aid of any sort.

For Friday, please think carefully and write thoroughly about these questions: What should one do in the face of a genuinely needy child applying for help in the guise of an orphan?  In this case, we reach the intersection of emotion and reason, empathy and mathematics.  How do we reconcile these ways of knowing?  Is there an objective ethical answer?  In responding, please consider yourself as the knower.  What experiences and perspectives from your life contribute to your response?

For Monday, identify and examine another instance of the intersection of reason and emotion.  Consider anew how it should be handled and how you know.

Monday, May 14, 2012

There Are Two Errors in the the Title of This Post

Let's continue our logical immersion.  For Friday, please tackle these logic puzzles.  Work patiently and with a pencil, reasoning out the consequences of each statement and, where appropriate, its speaker.  In your post examine the ways your thinking changed or developed to accommodate this task.  What was most difficult?  How did you arrive at the answers?

For Monday, journey to reasonable old England and work through this logic tutorial on consistency and validity.  Once on the site, follow the Tutorials link, then select Tutorial One.  Continue until you finish Exercise 1.4.  Having completed this, consider (in writing) how the skills this tutorial develops help you understand the puzzles above.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I Didn't Know the Question was Loaded

Picking up on our discussion of strawmen and their ilk, and as a way of reinforcing our commitment to explicitly stating that which we mean and wish to convey, please read (and perhaps carry with you) this wonderful list of logical fallacies.  For Friday morning (and then again for Monday morning) please notice, record, and categorize a logical fallacy in action.  Your comment should include the quoted text of the fallacy, the type, and an explanation of what makes it that type.  In the interest of kindness and good will, please only identify the speaker if she or he is a public figure; this is an exercise in critical thinking, not public shame.  The two fallacies you identify must come from two different sources and be of two different sorts.  Also before next time please revise your Design and Research comment to reflect our class discussion.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Designing Research, Researching Design

With the discourse of the MIT panel and its impressive audience still firmly in our minds, please do some thinking and writing about Design and Research (as opposed to a search).  For Monday morning, formulate and share your definitions of these two terms.  Also, share your thoughts on whether the two are necessarily distinct.  Is there overlap?  Are the distinctions you draw necessary or convenient?  How so, and if the latter, what purpose does the distinction serve?  In other words, what is the role of the knower?  As a possible starting point, here are the aspects of research as defined by Warren Seering (who, I was thrilled to see, lists design as a research interest):
1. Study the designer
2. Examine the design artifact (eg. the house)
3. Understand the methods of understanding
4. Define the tools (CAD, the hammer, etc.)