Ontological and methodological constraints on a theory of cognition that would generalize across species are identified. Within these constraints, ecological arguments for animal-environment mutuality and reciprocity and the necessary specificity of structured energy distributions to environmental facts are developed as counterpoints to the classical doctrines of animal-environment dualism and intractable nonspecificity. Implications of and for a cognitive theory consistent with Gibson's programme of ecological psychology are identified and contrasted with contemporary cognitivism.
An existential interpretation of student angst in Chinese universities raises issues of autonomy and freedom. The governance arrangements in China create a conflict for Chinese students who in their coursework are urged to become critical-minded and open-minded. In this essay, Kant’s moral theory provides access to this phenomenon. His theory of duty–rationality–autonomy–freedom relates the liberty of thought to principled action. Kantian ideals still influence western business and university practice and they become relevant in China as that country modernises. The abilities (...) of graduates which officials say the country needs—insightfulness, creativity, innovation, progressiveness and commitment—are only achievable by professionals who are independent minded, rational and who commit to act on their own conclusions. Such people are Kant’s autonomous persons. Chinese students increasingly confront a conflicted educational environment. Universities require students to think, analyse and argue. An outcome of this deliberation is freedom, as construed by Kant as an ‘inner’construct. When students are unable to exercise Kantian freedom in matters which concern them they experience the angst of freedom. Students may carry a burden derived from bridles on information and authoritarian restrictions on dialogue. (shrink)
Perhaps because of their dismissal of him as living ‘une carrière à l’américaine’, there have been few attempts to explore the relationship between the work of Gregory Bateson and that of Deleuze and Guattari. This paper offers two ways in which we might do this. First, it explores the concepts, such as plateau of intensity and rhizome, which migrate from Bateson into Capitalism and Schizophrenia. This helps focus on this text as an attempt to create and imagine non-schismogenic forms of (...) social relation. Here, the earthliness of this work is a necessary ‘grounding’ for the plateaus that Deleuze and Guattari seek to develop. Second, this paper builds on this by looking at Guattari’s concept of ecosophical subjectivity, arguing that Bateson is crucial for the ‘ethico-political’ dimensions of this work. It concludes with the claim that as a key influence on their work, exploring Bateson in relation to Deleuze and Guattari can open up new understandings of the ‘earthliness’ of their ideas. (shrink)
Science teaching always engages a philosophy of science. This article introduces a modern philosophy of science and indicates its implications for science education. The hermeneutic philosophy of science is the tradition of Kant, Heidegger, and Heelan. Essential to this tradition are two concepts of truth, truth as correspondence and truth as disclosure. It is these concepts that enable access to science in and of itself. Modern science forces aspects of reality to reveal themselves to human beings in events of disclosure. (...) The achievement of each event of disclosure requires the precise manipulation of equipment, which is an activity that depends on truth as correspondence. The implications of the hermeneutic philosophy of science for science education are profound. The article refers to Newton’s early work on optics to explore what the theory implies for teaching. Modern science—as the event of truth—is a relationship between an individual student, equipment, and reality. Science teachers provide for their students’ access to truth and they may show how their discipline holds a special relationship to reality. If the aim of science teaching is to enable students to disclose reality, the science curriculum will challenge some of the current practices of schooling. If teachers base science teaching upon the hermeneutic philosophy of science, science will assert itself as the intellectual discipline that derives from nature, and not from the inclinations of human beings. Science teachers teach nature’s own science. (shrink)
Cognition means different things to different psychologists depending on the position held on the mind-matter problem. Ecological psychologists reject the implied mind-matter dualism as an ill-posed theoretic problem because the assumed mind-matter incommensurability precludes a solution to the degrees of freedom problem. This fundamental problem was posed by both Nicolai Bernstein and James J. Gibson independently. It replaces mind-matter dualism with animal-environment duality -- a better posed scientific problem because commensurability is assured. Furthermore, when properly posed this way, a conservation (...) law is suggested that encompasses a psychology of transactional systems, a biology of self-actional systems, and a physics of interactional systems. For such a solution, a theory of cognition for goal-directed behaviour is needed. A sketch is supplied for how such a theory might be pursued in the spirit of the new physics of evolving complex systems. (shrink)
There is a palpable need for a new theory that embraces organisations and management – the hegemony of scientific theories is at an end. This paper argues that the phenomenological method which Husserl inaugurates has the potential to provide new insights. Those who adopt a phenomenological attitude to their situation within a business can explore unusual, and as yet unseen, depths within phenomena. The paper introduces Husserl’s method which requires the development of skills and a thoroughgoing rejection of scientific methods (...) of enquiry. However, this method is unlikely assist practitioners to achieve already determined business goals. (shrink)
Santangelo, Paulo (ed.). 2012.Laughing in Chinese.Rome: Aracne Editrice. 472pp. €26. ISBN 97888 548 46203. This book of 15 papers is divided into four parts: humor in Chinese and Japanese literary works, examples of comic literature, the moral involvement of humor, and the psychology of humor. Santangelo provides a substantial introduction to smiles and laughter in the Chinese context and also to the papers in his book (pp. 5–28). This structure lends itself to a description and analysis of smiling and laughing (...) as both social acts and as manifestations of states of mind. An identifiable theme is the interrelationship between social acts (the sociology, culture or politics of situation) and manifest states of mind (the psychology of the individuals involved in the situation). (shrink)
Business education is at a critical juncture. How are we to justify the curriculum in undergraduate business awards in Aotearoa New Zealand? This essay suggests a philosophical framework for the analysis the business curriculum in Western countries. This framework helps us to see curriculum in a context of global academic communities and national needs. It situates the business degree in the essential tension which modernity (Western metaphysics) creates and which is expressed in an increasingly globalised economy. The tension is between (...) those who insist that the degree is to serve modernity and those who hope that it may contribute to a new era of justice and harmony with nature. One critical battle ground for the business curriculum is the subject Business Ethics. The business ethics curriculum often indicates the intention of the business ethics degree itself. Kant's distinction between heteronomy (rule following) and autonomy (making your own decisions) provides us with a means to judge the purposes of business ethics courses: there are courses which seek to produce reliable and compliant (heteronomous) employees, and there are those which seek to produce independent creative (autonomous) human beings. The question for this conference is: what do we as business educators see as our task? (shrink)
This paper introduces the concept of collective intentionality and shows its relevance when we seek to understand public management. Social ontology – particularly its leading concept, collective intentionality – provides critical insights into public organisations. The paper sets out the some of the epistemological limitations of cultural theories and takes as its example of these the group-grid theory of Douglas and Hood. It then draws upon Brentano, Husserl and Searle to show the ontological character of public management. Modern public institutions (...) – such as advisory organisations and service delivery agencies, including schools and universities – are expressions of human collective intentionality. The central concept within these institutions, as a phenomenology reveals, is cooperation. Public institutions are natural structures that emerge from our evolutionary ancestry as cooperative animals and enduringly display all the features of that ancestry. (shrink)
Although we agree with Hommel et al. that perception and action refer to one another, we disagree that they do so via a code. Gibson (1966; 1979) attempted to frame perception-action as a field phenomenon rather than as a particle phenomenon. From such a perspective, perception and action are adjoint, mutually interacting through an information field, and codes are unnecessary.
Various hypotheses about the importance of psycho-neural concomitants are reviewed and their implications discussed for the 'easy' and 'hard' problems of consciousness -- especially, as viewed by cognitive and ecological psychology. In Ecological Psychology, where the subjective-objective dichotomy is repudiated, these concepts are without foundation, and are replaced by informed awareness, which is argued to play an important, perhaps, indispensable role in goal- directed actions and thus to have survival value. The significance of informed awareness is illustrated in several real- (...) world goal-directed tasks. (shrink)
This paper inaugurates a discussion about the phenomenology of union decision-making. Phenomenology provides a new lens that may enable us to gain penetrating insights into how unions function in the fractious world of human resources management. The present paper is preliminary to any fieldwork that may be undertaken. Its main purposes are to identify theory that could be the foundation of further practical work, relate recent work in the phenomenology of management to union practices and to propose directions of enquiry. (...) The relevant theory is that of Edmund Husserl who provides us with a practical method of enquiry into the real world of human resource practice. Husserl’s work has already been applied in relation to local government functioning and some of the findings there appear relevant to the present enquiry. In particular, the nature and role of plebiscites. (shrink)
This chapter examines a foundational democratic practice by considering how it expresses concepts of the Enlightenment. The practice is that of the vote or plebiscite as it appears in governance. The leading enlightenment concept is rationality as it is expounded by Kant. Kant did not participate in national democratic processes. He expected decisions of any consequence to be made in Berlin and thrived when his City was invaded by the Russians and their officers became his students, until they left suddenly (...) in 1762 (Kuehn, 2001, p.126). Kant participated in political debate where the issues were in the main constitutional and about the processes of government reform. He became known for his theory of natural law and the justification of positive law. He advocated the separation of powers, but denied the right of revolution. This latter onclusion was in apparent contradiction of his support for republicanism, including the French, English, and American revolutions (Beck, 1971, p.413). The term “republican” in Kant’s writings is sometimes interpreted to mean “parliamentary democracy”. This is probably a mistake, and Reiss suggests Kant’s term does not carry the “connotation” of modern Western democracy (Reiss's "Introduction" in Kant, 1991a, p.25). Kant himself wrote that he wanted to prevent “the republican constitution from being confused with the democratic one, as commonly happens” (Kant, 1991a, .100). So it is that, whilst Kant wrote about the interaction of morality and politics, he did not write on the topic of the present chapter which focuses on those mechanisms or mechanics that democracy displays when it works. (shrink)
Human beings originate votes, and democracy constitutes decisions. This is the essence of democracy. A phenomenological analysis of the vote and of the decision reveals for us the inherent strength of democracy and its deficiencies. Alexis de Tocqueville pioneered this form of enquiry into democracy and produced positive results from it. Unfortunately, his phenomenological method was inadequate and he missed the essential core of his 'associative art'. The frequent association of democracy with rationality misleads us about its nature and its (...) requirements. The phenomenology of democracy aligns with the governance concept of democracy. Many attempts to reform democracy, or impose it on others, are misplaced because they do not attend to the essence of democracy. (shrink)
We describe an evaluation undertaken on contract for the New Zealand State Services Commission of a major project (the Administrative Decision-Making Skills Project) designed to produce a model of administrative decision making and an associated teaching/learning packagefor use by government officers. It describes the evaluation of a philosophical model of decision making and the associated teaching/learning package in the setting of the New Zealand Public Service, where a deliberate attempt has been initiated to improve the quality of decision making, especially (...) in relation to moral factors. (shrink)
An investigation into the assessment of the moral components which were developed by John Wilson, is reported. Tests fox the classroom measurement of two components were developed. The components were; PHIL(CC), the claiming of concern for other persons as an overriding, universal, and prescriptive principle in moral decision making; and; GIG, knowledge of factual information which is relevant in making moral decisions which subjects face. The test development exercise was undertaken at a time when public interest in moral education was (...) growing. The recent demand for moral education in Auckland is reviewed. Over the last fifteen years, since the Currie Commission Report, reports by committees investigating the purposes of schools have increasingly emphasised moral and social education as school objectives. The Department of Education appeared to be sympathetic towards the cause of moral education. The submissions made by the public during the Educational Development Conference suggested that, in general, parents and citizens were prepared to consider innovative programmes in social or moral education, although there was little agreement on what form such training or education should take. A number of teachers were supporters of moral education. The primary purpose in constructing tests for Wilson's components was to provide an instrument which would assist in the evaluation of moral education curriculum projects in Auckland secondary schools. Evidence concerning descriptive, content, domain selection, construct and concurrent validity is presented. Kuder-Richardson, retest and criterion-referenced reliability studies were undertaken. It is claimed that an instrument with sufficient validity and reliability has bean produced for the summative evaluation of curriculum projects, and the diagnostic investigation of class groups using the test as a criterion-referenced measure. Auckland intermediate and secondary school pupils were surveyed, using the tests produced and punch card recording in an attempt to identify significant variables. Over 1,100 children completed the tests under controlled conditions. Significant variables identified using the test for PHIL(CC) were socio-economic level for twelve-year-old children, and intelligence for sixteen-year-old children. The effect of schooling appeared to be significant at all levels. Age does not appear to markedly increase children's concern for others. Age was related to performance in the knowledge test. Older children knew more. Other significant variables for GIG were socio-economic level (middle levels performed better) and the effects of schooling. There was some evidence that females know more than males. In both tests it appears that there is considerable interaction between the variables. Suggestions for the further development of the tests are given. (shrink)
This paper argues that learning is inherently violent. It examines the way in which Heidegger uses – and refrains from using – the concept in his account of Dasein. Heidegger explicitly discussed “learning” in 1951 and he used of the word in several contexts. Although he confines his use of “learning” to the ontic side of the ontic-ontological divide, there are aspects of what he says that open the door to an ontological analogue of the ontic learning. In this discussion (...) it emerges that what precludes “learning” behaving as does “willing”, “waiting” and “thanking”, is something that derives from the relatedness of Dasein. The paper finally examines violence within the disclosure of truth. The approach to the investigation is experimental and is to some extent modeled on Heidegger‟s own later enquires. (shrink)
This thesis develops a hermeneutic philosophy of science to provide insights into physics education. -/- Modernity cloaks the authentic character of modern physics whenever discoveries entertain us or we judge theory by its use. Those who justify physics education through an appeal to its utility, or who reject truth as an aspect of physics, relativists and constructivists, misunderstand the nature of physics. Demonstrations, not experiments, reveal the essence of physics as two characteristic engagements with truth. First, truth in its guise (...) as correspondence enables a human being to prepare for the distinctive event of physics. -/- Second, the event of physics occurs in human perception when someone forces a hidden reality to disclose an aspect of itself. Thus, the ground of physics is our human involvement with reality achieved by way of truth. -/- To support this account of physics, the thesis reports phenomenological investigations into Isaac Newton’s involvement with optics and a secondary school physics laboratory. These involve interpretations of Heidegger’s theory of beings, schema and signification. The project draws upon, and contributes to, the hermeneutic phenomenology of modern physics, a tradition in continental philosophy that begins with Immanuel Kant, and advances particularly from Martin Heidegger to Patrick Heelan. -/- The thesis advocates an ontological pedagogy for modern physics which has as its purpose each individual student’s engagement with reality and truth. Students may achieve this through demonstrations of phenomena that will enable them to dwell with physics, an experience that contrasts with their embroilment in modernity, and which perpetuates nature’s own science. (shrink)
Heidegger’s hermeneutic method and his account of pedagogy are useful in teaching students how to think and write. This paper interprets the method of thinking which Martin Heidegger taught to his students and indicates strategies that have been used to introduce that method to New Zealand students in an online course. The method appears to philosophers as a technique of conceptual analysis, although Heidegger may not have agreed with that characterisation or its use in this way. To tertiary teachers it (...) is one framework that they may use to teach a strategy and techniques under the rubric of critical thinking. The use of the method of procedure proposed is well within the capabilities of teachers in practical subjects such as business, management, medicine and law. Students in the author’s business analysis course say that a hermeneutic strategy forces them to struggle, but ultimately they report satisfaction at their increased abilities and believe that they have gained something efficacious. (shrink)
In the 1980s and 1990s the discipline of philosophy of education had an impact on schooling and the public service in New Zealand because of the contracted work of James Marshall and Michael Peters. This personal reﬂection by Robert Shaw is a tribute to James Marshall and provides insight into the relationship between Ministry ofﬁcials, the community, and educational researchers.
'Democracy thrives because it helps individuals identify with the society of which they are members and because it provides for legitimate decision-making and exercise of power.' With this statement, the Council of Europe raises for us some fundamental questions: what is the practice of democracy, its merits and its limitations? A phenomenological insight into democracy as it displays itself indicates that its essence is decision making by vote. The strength of this mechanism is that it operates without a requirement for (...) rationality on the part of the participants, and its imperative is always to achieve a decision - any decision. Thus, the mechanism enables decisions in situations of incommensurable choice. The history of the engagement of Maori with local government in Aotearoa New Zealand makes apparent the limitations of democracy and challenges democracy itself. Maori have no tradition of democracy and they aspire to the exercise of their traditional decision-making practices. As a minority in a democratic country, Maori find themselves always at the mercy of the vote. Democracy is a tool of colonisation. The situation of Maori provides lessons for those who would applaud the Council of Europe and their belief in coexistence by way of democratic decision making. (shrink)
Teachers frequently find that their teaching is unsuccessful with a particular group of students. This paper describes how Heidegger’s ontology was useful to teachers as they developed a distance education platform to teach astronomy to culturally diverse Aotearoa New Zealand secondary school students. Māori students do not perform well within their State’s model of normalising education, and academic authors ascribe this “failure” to the effects of cultural difference and imperialism. This paper conjectures that Māori are not merely “culturally different” but (...) that they represent a metaphysical heritage that is akin to that described as Greek metaphysics by Heidegger. There are cultural artefacts and practices that serve for modern Māori in a way that parallels Heidegger’s account of the ancient Greeks. Māori may represent an ontological tradition that stands completely outside of Western metaphysics. If the conjecture is correct, normalising education is unlikely to ever to be satisfactory for Māori. (shrink)
This paper is a prolegomena to discussions about a differentiated Confucian MBA curriculum. We draw upon Kant’s notion of individual autonomy and our observations of practice to argue that there are three models extant for the MBA degree. One of these, that which emphasizes leadership, holds considerable potential if it develops in the context of a genuinely Confucian university. This distinctive MBA—which could emerge in China—would express Confucian metaphysics and thus actively embrace China’s history, philosophy and culture. It would manifest (...) as a genuine alternative to the western, globalized, neoliberal MBA. A Confucian MBA would promote a concept of leadership that emphasizes cooperation and other Confucian ‘values’ while minimising the role of competition. (shrink)
After identifying similarities in the paradigmatic problems of biorobotics and ecological psychology, we suggest a way to compare the performance of robots with that of their biological targets. The crucial comparison is between the intentional dynamics of the robot and those of the targeted animal, a measure that depends critically on recognizing and describing the underlying affordance-effectivity match of the target system.
In the 1980s and 1990s the discipline of philosophy of education had an impact on schooling and the public service in New Zealand because of the contracted work of James Marshall and Michael Peters. This personal reflection by Robert Shaw is a tribute to James Marshall and provides insight into the relationship between Ministry officials, the community, and educational researchers.
Course designers adopted a language-learners approach to the online teaching of New Zealand secondary school students in the subject of astronomy. This was possible because the curriculum for astronomy that was in 2004 established as a part of New Zealand's national curriculum was specifically designed to engage underachieving students in science and technology. A criterion-referenced assessment regime was established and an Internet platform was built specifically to facilitate this form of assessment. This platform contrasts with the norm-referenced assessment programmes that (...) are most frequently used with online instruction. In this situation - where the essential task is to reward students for learning basic vocabulary and to motivate them to further study - the theory of psychologist William James assisted the teachers to develop their online pedagogy. The article concludes with a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of using the Internet to deliver science courses to secondary school students. (shrink)
A path space integral approach to modelling the job description of the cerebellum is proposed. This new approach incorporates the equation into a kind of generalized Huygens's wave equation. The resulting exponential functional integral provides a mathematical expression of the inhibitory function by which the cerebellum the intended control signal from the background of neuronal excitation.
A propagator for a path space integral can be used to represent the and provides a natural way to model a control signal that is temporally segmented by placement of pairs of stimulating and recording electrodes. Although care must be exercised in interpreting the resulting measurement, the technique should prove useful to experimenters who study cerebellar functioning.