|An educated mind is an opened mind. An opened mind is a liberal mind. Teachers don't have to intend to create liberals, it happens naturally.|
On the inside:
- Levels of Knowing
- Links to other education-related stories.
- As always, the topics will be whatever you want to discuss.
Levels of Knowing
I got into a philosophical/ethical discussion a couple days ago. As it turned out, I was apparently the only participant who recognized that's what the discussion was about...at least from my viewpoint. As far as the other participants were concerned, they had a weapon with which to attack one of our candidates and they wanted to use it regardless of whether it might be inappropriate ethical behavior. Except that they didn't seem to understand that ethics might be involved.
When this sort of thing happens, I tend to move into teacher mode. I've been a teacher most of my life after all (31 of 59 years). I tried to explain that the situation needed to be discussed, not the individuals currently involved in the situation, in order that we might discover what might lay hidden in the shadows and maybe become better humans. I was called a "condescending prick" for my troubles.
Even here? Even at Daily Kos we don't want to learn to become better people? We don't want to investigate our existence and what causes us to behave as we do? Trying to initiate such a conversation is "condescension?"
I don't want to revisit that particular discussion. I've tried to initiate it quite a few times and it always gets derailed. What I want to ponder is the concept of levels. At least that's what I call them. I'm a mathematician-type philosopher so I've never been really interested in what some old-time philosopher decided to call what concept. I call them levels.
I learned about levels from my mathematical education. Nobody taught me about them directly but once I learned, I found that I could discuss them with other mathematicians, that indeed I now was a mathematician rather than a student of mathematics.
I learned that on the surface there were problems that needed solving. But those problems could be grouped according to type...and in so doing, structure could be abstracted. Solving a problem within such a structure provided a more general solution. Knowledge increased.
But then the structures could also be grouped according to type. And techniques that worked to solve problems in one structure might lead to the construction of analogues in a similar structure. New solutions from old, so to speak.
Then I began to recognize that even the structures I thought dissimilar had commonalities. Investigating those commonalities led to my Ph D thesis. It's in an area of mathematics that is a hybrid of algebra, topology, and category theory, called torsion theory, which starts with the central question of how one might work with fractions if a*(1/b) and (1/b)*a do not necessarily provide the same result.
The weird thing is that the concept of levels spread contagiously. If mathematics has levels, so do other disciplines. And the disciplines can be categorized and analyzed for structure. And so on. And we start seeing the structure of knowledge. Maybe.
Or maybe we restrict ourselves at the start with those little Real World™ problems and never go here, never view them in the abstract because we would rather float on the surface than delve deeper...to this place of levels.
Or maybe I'm just a condescending prick.
I'll be hanging around most of the day, actively waiting for your comments (actually, I'll be working in another program, but I'm close by), so at least one person will be here to discuss whatever anyone wants to discuss.
|The Not-so-many Rules|
Every Saturday I'll post a clean slate, around 12 noon EST.