Central to Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca’s philosophical revival of rhetoric and dialectic is the importance given to the temporal character of argumentation. Unlike demonstration, situated within the “empty time” of a single instant, the authors of The New Rhetoric understand argumentation as an action that unfolds within the “full time” of meaningful human life. By taking a broader view of his work beyond The New Rhetoric, I first outline Perelman’s understanding of time and temporality and the challenge that it poses for (...) the study of argumentation. Next, I emphasize the distinction between argumentation’s internal and external temporal structures, and then show how Perelman problematizes a static view of a number of basic argumentative concepts by bringing out their essentially temporal character. Finally, in clarifying what is at stake in Perelman’s account, I conclude by drawing attention to a number of issues in contemporary argumentation studies that may benefit from a reconsideration of Perelman’s analysis of time. (shrink)
In this article, I describe how I encountered cybernetics and how it became an important part of my life. I begin with an account of my time at Brunel University and also describe how I came to work with Gordon Pask, one of the few intellectuals and researchers in the UK who styled themselves as cyberneticians. To enrich my story, I include an overview of the story of cybernetics as I perceive it. Given the importance I attach to cybernetics as (...) an intellectual tool, I end with a plea for it to be included in all educational curricula. (shrink)
Although it is conceded that distinct knowledge domains do presentparticular problems of coming to know, in thispaper it is argued that it is possible to construct a domain independent modelof the processes of coming to know, one inwhich observers share understandings and do soin agreed ways. The model in question is partof the conversation theory of Gordon Pask. CT, as a theory of theory construction andcommunication, has particular relevance forfoundational issues in science and scienceeducation. CT explicitly propounds a ``radicalconstructivist'' epistemology. (...) A briefaccount is given of the main tenets of RC andCT's place in that tradition and the traditionsof cybernetics. The paper presents a briefnon-technical account of the main concepts ofCT including elaborations by Laurillard andHarri-Augstein and Thomas. As part of CT, Pask also elaborated a methodology – knowledgeand task analysis – for analysing the structureof different knowledge domains; thismethodology is sketched in outline. (shrink)
Symbolic violence may not be a desirable theory to apply to public schooling?its structuralist limitations render it deterministic, lacking in human agency, and unpalatable to researchers and educators who see schools as viable and productive sites of social transformation. Perhaps for these reasons, it seems little has been written about symbolic violence in schools, and what has been written tends to focus primarily on the symbolic, institutionalized violence imparted by schools and teachers upon students. In this article, I offer a (...) shift in these perspectives. I present symbolic violence as a productive analytical tool in identifying modes of resistance to specific damaging effects of schooling institutions. I also illustrate how symbolic violence victimizes one particularly caring teacher, rendering her compliant in her own victimization, without voice to accurately name her struggles, and?because of her ethic of care?complicit in reproducing damaging institutionalizing practices. Using ethnographic data, I explore symbolic violence via one teacher's reflective, critical narratives. I draw upon the tenets of dialogicality in language to help make more visible the often intangible elements of symbolic violence. And at various points in the article, I discuss the implications of engaging an analytic that ultimately runs counter to my own epistemology, turning to Maxine Greene for insight in the struggle. (shrink)
Context: The field of psychology consists of many specialist domains of activity, which lack shared foundations. This means that the field as a whole lacks conceptual coherence. Problem: The aim of the article is to show how second-order cybernetics can provide both foundations and a unifying conceptual framework for psychology. Method: The field of psychology is overviewed. There is then a demonstration of how cybernetics can provide both foundations and a unifying conceptual framework. This entails defining some key cybernetics concepts (...) and showing how they have already permeated the field, largely implicitly, and showing how, when made explicit, they can unify the field. Results: I show how concepts from second-order cybernetics can unify “process” and “person” approaches within psychology and can also unify individual psychology and social psychology, a unification that also builds conceptual bridges with sociology. Implications: The results are of value for bringing order to an otherwise inchoate field. They afford better communication between those working in the field, which is likely to give rise to new research questions and more effective ways of tackling them. Constructivist content: Central to the article is a reliance on concepts taken from the constructivist perspective of second-order cybernetics. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “A Computational Constructivist Model as an Anticipatory Learning Mechanism for Coupled Agent–Environment Systems” by Filipo Studzinski Perotto. Upshot: In making a contribution to artificial intelligence research, Perotto has taken note of work on human cognition. However, there are certain aspects of human cognition that are not taken into account by the author’s model and that, generally, are overlooked or ignored by the artificial intelligence research community at large.
Purpose: The purpose of the paper is to provide a constructivist account of the "self as subject" that avoids the need for any metaphysical assumptions. Findings: The thesis developed in this paper is that the human "psychological individual," "self" or "subject" is an emergent within the nexus of human social interaction. With respect to psychological and social wholes (composites) there is no distinction between the form of the elements and the form of the composites they constitute i.e., all elements have (...) the form of composites. Further, recursively, composites may serve as elements within higher order composites. Implications for a rational theory of ethics are discussed. Original Value: The thesis contributes in a fundamental way to the research programme of radical constructivism by demonstrating that metaphysical assumptions about the nature of the "subject" are not an a priori necessity. Although the thesis in itself is not original, the paper offers a useful synthesis of ideas from a number of key thinkers in the disciplines of cybernetics, biology, psychology and philosophy. (shrink)
This paper re-examines the well-known problem of how it is possible to have an “intuition of absences” in Sartre’s example of Pierre. I argue that this problem is symptomatic of an overly theoretical interpretation of Sartre’s use of intentionality. First, I review Husserl’s notion of evidence within his phenomenology. Next, I introduce Sartre’s Pierre example and highlight some difficulties with interpreting it as a problem of perception. By focusing on Sartre’s notion of the project, I argue instead that the problem (...) is better understood at the level of action. In support of this interpretation, I conclude with a brief comparison to the early work of Paul Ricoeur. By borrowing some of Ricoeur’s phenomenological vocabulary tailored to action, I reinterpret Sartre’s example as a practical problem. (shrink)
Current treatments for chronic pain have limited benefit. We describe a resilience intervention for individuals with chronic pain which is based on a model of viewing chronic pain as dysregulated homeostasis and which seeks to restore homeostatic self-regulation using strategies exemplified by survivors of extreme environments. The intervention is expected to have broad effects on well-being and positive emotional health, to improve cognitive functions, and to reduce pain symptoms thus helping to transform the suffering of pain into self-growth. A total (...) of 88 Veterans completed the pre-assessment and were randomly assigned to either the treatment intervention or control. Fifty-eight Veterans completed pre- and post-testing. The intervention covered resilience strengths organized into four modules: engagement, social relatedness, transformation of pain and building a good life. A broad set of standardized, well validated measures were used to assess three domains of functioning: health and well-being, symptoms, and cognitive functions. Two-way Analysis of Variance was used to detect group and time differences. Broadly, results indicated significant intervention and time effects across multiple domains: Pain decreased in present severity [F = 5.02, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.08], total pain over six domains [F = 14.52, p < 0.01, η2p = 0.21], and pain interference [F = 6.82, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.11]; Affect improved in pain-related negative affect [F = 7.44, p < 0.01, η2p = 0.12], fear [F = 7.70, p < 0.01, η2p = 0.12], and distress [F = 10.87, p < 0.01, η2p = 0.16]; Well-being increased in pain mobility [F = 5.45, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.09], vitality [F = 4.54, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.07], and emotional well-being [F = 5.53, p < 0.05, η2p = 0.09] Mental health symptoms and the cognitive functioning domain did not reveal significant effects. This resilience intervention based on homeostatic self-regulation and survival strategies of survivors of extreme external environments may provide additional sociopsychobiological tools for treating individuals with chronic pain that may extend beyond treating pain symptoms to improving emotional well-being and self-growth.Clinical Trial Registration: Registered with ClinicalTrials.gov. (shrink)
Purpose: Gordon Pask has left behind a voluminous scientific oeuvre in which he frequently uses technical language and a detail of argument that makes his work difficult to access except by the most dedicated of students. His ideas have also evolved over a long period. This paper provides introductions to three of Pask's key concepts: "conversations," "individuals," and "concepts." Method: Based on the author's close knowledge of Pask's work, as his collaborator for ten years and as someone who has had (...) access to and is familiar with almost all of his published work, the paper selects three of Pask's key concepts for elucidation in order to motivate the interested reader to explore Pask's work in the original. Results: Pask's key concepts, "conversations," "individuals," and "concepts," which are central in his conversation theory and his later elaborations in "interaction of actors theory," are shown to be grounded in fundamental principles from cybernetics. Furthermore, the form of Pask's theorising is that of second order (reflexive) metatheorising, developing theories of theorising that explain their own form and genesis. (shrink)
Recently Samuel Richmond, generalizing Nelson Goodman, has proposed a measure of the simplicity of a theory that takes into account not only the polymorphicity of its models but also their internal homogeneity. By this measure a theory is simple if small subsets of its models exhibit only a few distinct (i.e., non-isomorphic) structures. Richmond shows that his measure, unlike that given by Goodman's theory of simplicity of predicates, orders the order relations in an intuitively satisfactory manner. In this note I (...) formalize his presentation and suggest an improvement designed to overcome certain technical difficulties. (shrink)
Context: Although there are rich descriptive accounts of skill acquisition in the literature, there are no satisfactory explanatory models of the cognitive processes involved. Problem: The aim of the paper is to explain some key phenomena frequently observed in the acquisition of motor skills: the loss of conscious access to knowledge of the structure of a skill and the awareness that an error has been made prior to the receipt of knowledge of results. Method: In the 1970s, the first author (...) implemented a computer program model of the cognitive processes involved in learning and skill acquisition, based on a series of empirical investigations. Recently, with assistance from the second author, the model has been reviewed, updated and re-implemented. Result: The model provides a constructivist account of skill acquisition and associated phenomena. Implications: The model adds to the understanding of motor skill acquisition and will be of interest to researchers and practitioners in physical therapy and sports science. It is also provides a constructivist cognitive architecture that can be fruitfully contrasted with non-constructivist cognitive architectures well-known in cognitive science. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “Luhmann and the Constructivist Heritage: A Critical Reflection” by Eva Buchinger. Upshot: I acknowledge the value of Buchinger’s contribution to my understanding of Luhmann’s theory of social systems and seek some clarification and elaboration concerning specific issues. In particular, I raise some questions about the concepts of meaning processing and of psychic systems and persons, with reference to related ideas developed by Gordon Pask and myself. I also question how Luhmann uses the term “autopoiesis.”.
This paper argues that Ricœur’s philosophy operates on the basis of a more expansive conception of rhetoric than it first appears. To show this, I reread The Rule of Metaphor through the “new rhetoric” of Chaïm Perelman. First, I survey Ricœur’s understanding of rhetoric in the 1950s and 60s. Second, I examine Ricœur’s relation to Perelman within the context of the broader “rhetorical turn” of the 1970s. After examining their respective positions, I argue that Ricœur fails to appreciate the full (...) significance of Perelman’s conception of audience. In doing so, I draw attention to the central role that Ricœur himself ascribes to the audience or reader in the “work of meaning.” I conclude by proposing that the rhetorical triad of logos/ethos/pathos may serve as a conceptual matrix with which the rhetorical aspects of Ricœur’s philosophy can be interpreted. (shrink)
Upshot: I discuss further why my proposals may not be taken up by all and say more about their usefulness, my understanding of what it is to be a cybernetician and the underlying coherent form that I see amongst different “versions” of cybernetics. I also elaborate on what is social about psychosocial unities and elaborate their relevance for studies of social systems.
Context: Both Luhmann and Pask have developed detailed theories of social systems that include accounts of the role of learning. Problem: Rather than see the theories as competing, we believe it is worthwhile to seek ways in which a useful synthesis of the two approaches may be developed. Method: We compare the two approaches by identifying key similarities and differences. Results: We show it is possible to make useful mappings between key concepts in the two theories. Implications: We believe it (...) is worthwhile for social scientists to be familiar with the two theories and that it is not a case of “either/or,” rather, it is a case of “both/and.”. (shrink)
Upshot: I thank Mallen for providing some historical background concerning the origin of the Typist models and for helping clarify the theoretical issues addressed and motivations for creating the models. Whilst de Zeeuw acknowledges the Typist models as a useful contribution to first-order cybernetics, he questions their relevance for second-order cybernetics. I argue that, in the context of research on human learning, de Zeeuw’s characterisation is third- rather than second-order. Stewart questions the status of the model with respect to the (...) CTM and is concerned by our cursory treatment of “consciousness,” “semantics” and “embodiment.” We point out that the Typist models are digital models of cognitive processes rather than part of the CTM tradition. Franchi raises challenging questions about cognition and its embodiment. We acknowledge the contradiction implied when we talk about “implementing” the Typist models in a different form of processor, one that accommodates concurrency, as a processor of that kind would not be “programmable” in a conventional sense. (shrink)
Open peer commentary on the article “A Cybernetic Approach to Contextual Teaching and Learning” by Philip Baron. Upshot: I expand on Philip Baron’s discussion of conversation theory and its applications. I go on to address the question of how to help learners, as a collective, become more sophisticated in their understandings of ethics and epistemology.