Thinking and Language as social and connected events

babyThinking is a social event: No thinking without words, no words without language, no language without humans around us. This is a very short answer to my reading of Putnam. He uses the Brains in a Vat story to defend his statements about meaning outside the head. Putnam and others try to find the connection of words and meaning of the words. Is meaning in your head or outside?
The short answer of Putnam, Meaning is experimental and outside), it is not in your head.
I want to argue that meaning has a strong social aspect. Listen to and watch young children, they learn by asking “Why??” they want to see and hear and use things to learn. Children want to see what is inside things to get to know them.
Think of the way little children learn words and meaning. They experience the world and try to add words to their experiences. They do need time and practical experiences for learning to use the right words.
Their thinking grows with the acquisition of language and experience in a social context.

Now Reading Laurence Thomas

Self-Deception as the Handmaiden of Evil. http://www.laurencethomas.com/ There is no human capacity that contributes more to evil in this world than the capacity for self-deception, which is the wherewithal to hold as true that which one knows as (s=t?) some very significant level simply cannot be true.

LT is critical on Kant, about Kants “You shall never tell a lie” Kant was wrong, sometimes telling the truth is even a crime.
When in WOII German soldiers asked my grandmother if my future father was in the house she lied. If she had not lied, my father and other people would been killed for sure. And my grandmother would have been also in part guilty on their deaths (Kant would say she was not).

Fact ? Feiten ?

waarheidIn Amsterdam had Descartes een relatie met een dienstmeisje, Helana Jana van der Strom. Ze hadden een dochter, Francine die in 1635 in Deventer is geboren. Descartes doceerde toen aan de universiteit van Utrecht. Toen Francine stierf huilde Descartes om haar, hij schaamde zich niet voor zijn emoties. “Echte mannen huilen wel” was zijn mening.
Dit sterfgeval maakte dat Descartes ging zoeken naar de grote antwoorden, in plaats van de medische wetenschap. (Russell Shorto, Descartes’ Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason ISBN 978-0-385-51753-9 (New York, Random House, October 14th, 2008)
Aan het begin van zijn filosofie staat de twijfel aan alles. Alleen zijn eigen bestaan erkent hij als onmiddellijk gegeven. Hij vergeet dan de emoties en de liefde van Francine en Helena Jans. Je moet de eenvoudige duidelijk feitelijkheden uit je eigen leven niet als twijfelachtig tussen haakjes zetten.

Descartes, in Amsterdam had a relationship with a servant girl, Helena Jans van der Strom, with whom he had a daughter, Francine, who was born in 1635 in Deventer, at which time Descartes taught at the Utrecht University. Unlike many moralists of the time, Descartes was not devoid of passions but rather defended them; he wept upon her death in 1640.[22] “Descartes said that he did not believe that one must refrain from tears to prove oneself a man.” Russell Shorto postulated that the experience of fatherhood and losing a child formed a turning point in Descartes’ work, changing its focus from medicine to a quest for universal answers.(Russell Shorto, Descartes’ Bones: A Skeletal History of the Conflict Between Faith and Reason ISBN 978-0-385-51753-9 (New York, Random House, October 14th, 2008)
This Descartes said the only reliable truth, the only fact he could be sure of was his existence. From there he went on to develop his philosophy. He was so wrong, because he forget the facts about his Helena Jans and his daughter. A man should not forget the simple facts of life.
Maar wat is een feit dan? Een eenvoudige waarheid is dat ik nu een stukje aan het schrijven ben. Die feiten zijn niet zo ingewikkeld, je kunt het gewoon waarnemen. Maar dat het gezond is om water te drinken, is dat ook een feit? Het zijn deze meer ingewikkelde feiten waarover we het hier hebben.

What is a fact? Is it some simple fact like: I am writing a post now. This kind of facts are easy, it is a fact you can see happening.
But what about the fact that water is a healthy drink? Is that always true for everybody? These facts are at stake here.
Spinoza begon zijn filosofie niet met twijfelen. Hij sprong omzichtig om met feiten en meningen, maar hij nam die simpele feiten in tegenstelling tot Descartes voor waar.
Spinoza did not build his philosophy on this skepticism. Spinoza was careful about facts and opinions, but he never questioned the existence of truth and simple facts as thoroughly as Descartes.
Tegenwoordig zijn nogal wat filosofen nogal in de war als het over de waarheid en de feiten gaat. (J-F. Lyotard, La condition postmoderne)

In modern philosophy some are very skeptic about the truth and about facts. (J-F. Lyotard, La condition postmoderne)

Volgens mij is het verstandig om de meeste feiten als feit te accepteren. Het leven zou onleefbaar zijn als we bleven twijfelen.
Het is iets anders als we wetenschappelijke feiten moeten accepteren of verwerpen. We zouden daarbij ook onderscheid moeten maken tussen gewone simpele feiten en de meer ingewikkelde uitspraken)

In my view it is wise to accept most facts as fact because life would be unbearable without this believe in the truth of facts. But how about accepting scientific findings as true facts? (We should make a difference, a fact is not always a simple fact)

En over deze wetenschappelijke feiten wil ik verder nadenken. Het bestaan van mijn vrienden en familie betwijfel ik niet, en ik weet dat hun liefde echt is. Maar als een wetenschapper met feiten en algemeenheden komt dat is er iets anders aan de hand.
Wetenschap is moeilijk. Sommige wetenschappelijke uitspraken zijn zo ongelofelijk, er is meer nodig om die te geloven. Bij dit soort feiten mogen we best sceptisch zijn.

And it is only this question of truth of facts in science that I want to think about. I do not want to question the existence of my friends and family, I do believe their love is true. But when a scientist tells us about some scientific facts and generalizations then something special is at stake.
We know science is difficult. We know some facts in science are unbelievable. Here we want more warrants of truth. We want to be skeptical, or critical.
En hierbij komen allerlei vragen op, want sommige uitspraken over feiten zijn waar, maar we kunnen geen garantie geven voor die waarheid. Als X vertelt dat er leven is op planeten in het heelal en Y vertelt dat de aarde de enige planeet met leven is, dan spreekt een van beiden de waarheid. Maar we kunnen (nog) niet weten welke van de twee de waarheid spreekt. (David Miller, Out of Error)

And right here are some questions.
Because some facts are true, but we cannot be ultimately sure of their truth. If dr. X tells us that on some planets in the universe is life and dr. Y tells earth is the only planet with life than one of them is telling the truth. But we do not know (now) who is right. (David Miller, Out of Error)
In de wetenschap moeten we sceptici zijn. Sceptisch over de uitspraken, niet over het bestaan van de waarheid. Wetenschappers proberen de waarheid te vinden. Maar het is logisch onmogelijk om het uiteindelijke bewijs te leveren voor wetenschappelijke uitspraken. (dat zijn vrijwel altijd meer ingewikkelde feiten, algemene uitspraken)
In science we should be skeptics. Skeptic about facts, not about truth. Scientists try hard to find the truth. But it is logically impossible to proof the ultimate truth of scientific facts. Being complicates facts and ‘laws’. (Popper, falsificationism)

Next post about fact or opinion.

Diskworld and facts , truth and knowledge

diskworld Diskworld as anybody knows does rest on three elephants who are standing on a huge turtle. You should read the books of Pratchett to learn more about this.
Diskworld staat op drie olifanten die op een reusachtige schildpad staan. Lees er de boeken van Pratchett maar op na.

diskworld 1
Every child knows our world is standing on a little table.
Zelfs een kind weet dat onze wereld op een tafeltje staat.

Everybody knows that our knowledge is based on facts? Or, that is what we like to think. But these facts where are they standing? On a little table, or on a turtle? Thinking about the grounds of our knowledge is rather confusing.
Iedereen weet dat onze kennis gebaseerd is op feiten? Tenminste dat denken we graag. Maar waar staan die feiten dan op? Op een tafeltje of op een schildpad? Denken over de grond van onze kennis is tamelijk verwarrend.

What about truth? When facts are not standing on a solid bottom, how to guarantee the truth of our knowledge? Different asnwers on this question. In a next post more about this.
Wat bijvoorbeeld betekent dat voor de waarheid? Als de feiten niet op een solide grond staan, hoe kunnen we dat de waarheid van onze kennis garanderen? Meer over deze vraag in een volgende post.

Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered

politicalSysOnline text of the book of E.F.Schumacher http://www.ditext.com/schumacher/small/small.html

Schumacher on evil (he uses irony) ” That things are not going as well as they ought to be going must be due to human wickedness. We must therefore construct a political system so perfect that human wickedness disappears and everybody behaves well, no matter how much wickedness there may be in him or her. ”

This perfect political system is not a democratic system. It will be an autocratic political system because it will regard oppositional voices as wicked voices. With that autocracy the Law of Acton applies  “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”(Letter of John Dalberg-Acton to Bishop Mandell Creighton, April 5, 1887 published in Historical Essays and Studies, edited by J. N. Figgis and R. V. Laurence (London: Macmillan, 1907)

The perfect political system will become an evil system because of corruption, abuse of power, and because perfection is impossible in political systems. (and elsewhere).

One of the sources of failure of the perfect political system will be the planning failure: Planning is the continuation of chaos by other means (variation on Carl von Clausewitz ). That is why big planning causes big troubles. Planning does involve predicting the future and that is very difficult.

But the people inside the perfect system will be convinced that the errors in planning and in abuse of power are caused by evil people who must be corrected by the system.

Without critical comment and struggle against the agents of power, every system will grow towards a monstrosity.

An other search engine? Why

Letter to a new student in #rhizo15 or the next course

Confucius_Tang_Dynasty不要緊,你怎麼去慢慢地,只要你不停止。 (It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.Confucius)

 

Remember, the only student at Unseen University anybody remembers and likes is Rincewind. And you know what? He failed his exams. Rincewind is a wizard with no skill, no wizardly qualifications.

What do you think of that?

 

Dear student,

Now is the big moment.
As a new open learning or Mooc student you will need these:

Gumption & perseverance

Because the start will be disappointing and the fellow students will not seem very helpful (you need to know and consider they are also new to the course). You need passion and commitment. Remember in dark and depressing moments why the course is funny and why you want to learn. Write a blogpost about your passion and commitment and gumption and perseverance to remember in hard times.

Surprise us with your skills and knowledge, your jokes and music and poems.
Knowledge and skills of social media. The internet is loaded with courses and help pages about almost anything. You could help fellow students improve their skills.
Know the facts. write down the course URLs and hashtags, know the places and times. Put the facts in a blogpost to remember them.
Asking Questions. Ask questions. If you do not ask questions you will fail.
Be your own master and teacher. Open learning is for grown-ups, for independent humans. If you are in doubt, start and try, this will be a new learning theme for you in this course. Write and publish something about that.
Connect to fellow students, retweet; use hashtags; answer tweets even from students you do not know. You know that a comment on your blog or an answer on twitter or facebook  is a pleasure and a reward, be generous with comments and answers. You are not alone and you do really need these fellow students. And do connect to people outside the course, make them join. Discuss the course with people around you.
Publish. Blog and reblog, write comment on blogs. Leave your web address on blogs. Publish your blogpost on twitter or facebook or any other platform. Because learning is connecting.

 

Order in the classroom, moral questions in #rhizo15

orderThis is not just a picture of a group of students. This is a group of students in order of best performer next to second best performer. The best performer is on the left, the “drop-out” is on the right.
Grades (A, B etc.  and ciphers (67 out of 100  or 6.7 out of 10)  are the expression of the order in a group of students.

Is this counting for the benefit of our students? Is the value of the work of teachers and students  in the fun, the use of it for the student? Or is that value is counted in numerical output. Joris Luyendijk http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/joris-luyendijk-banking-blog “Common people, in schools, hospitals, tell me the morals of these bankers are also predominant in our institution”.

What use is it if a students knows she is the 45th best student of her year? What does that mean for her life?

About what schools are for? A safe income for teachers? A source of money or influence for the institution and the Board of Regents? What is the most important goal of a university or school? Is it to build a strong labor force? a strong nation? a healthy and prosperous people?

What if schools did try to discover possibilities and potency in students? (count your blessings?)

What if schools tried to develop these possibilities in stead of working with curricula and standard tests?

What if more teachers did not join the rat-race for more money and more whatshallwecallit? But as the process went on, the more I saw the negatives of giving up my freedom, the ability to work at home (or coffee shops or wherever) while wearing jeans and t-shirt, the flexibility of not having to be in an office 40 hours a week, my summers. I started to realize I was going to end up doing a whole lot less scholarship and probably no teaching and instead I was going to go to a lot of meetings.

#rhizo15 technophobia technophilia and technorealism

wegwijzerMaybe this is a fork for #rhizo15?
Keep it in mind.

Jason Silva on a youtube video where he pulls from Nietzsche, Andy Clark, Kevin Kelly and others https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUzFtWNOOOU (thanks @Autumm Caines). It is  an advertisement for the idea of humans already being cyborgs. If he means humans do use tools and technology he is right. Jason Silva is a technophile.

Maybe the big question is What are we going to do with our technology?

And we do not want to be blind to the side effects of technology. Silent Spring, mass surveillance on internet. Ask the technophobians for more bad results of technology.

and for the technorealists see http://www.technorealism.org/

#Rhizo15 begint hier. #rhizo starting here

brug bridge#Rhizo15 is ready for take off, and I want to be a little part of it.
The big question for me this time is about culture, about humanity, about learning to be a human. I am not sure which word the english language uses for this subject. Parenting seems to be the closest.

Parenting (or child rearing) is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, financial, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parenting refers to the aspects of raising a child aside from the biological relationship.

Teachers are not parents. But humans do change when interacting with humans, What is rhizomatic learning doing to its students?  I am not so much interested in  knowledge or the kind of skills we teach as we write down in the curriculum. But the extra skills and attitudes we help each other to develop.

I do use https//ifttt.com for posting blogposts on twitter. If This Than That. #IFTTT


http://davecormier.com/edblog/2015/04/10/a-practical-guide-to-rhizo15/

http://rhizomatic.net/

Aspects of communication and connections

vierseitenmodellPaul Watzlawick wrote that every communication has a content and a relationship aspect. He used the work of Gregory Bateson, much of which is collected in Steps to an Ecology of Mind (1972).
Karl Bühler mentions three communicative functions. (Bühler, Karl (1934). Sprachtheorie. Oxford, England: Fischer.)
The four-sides model (also known as communication square or four-ears model) is a communication model by Friedemann Schulz von Thun. According to this model every message has four facets.
In my opinion this four-ears model could be compared to a node in a connectionist learning model. (This is a question)

We will have to discuss this image and its relation to connectivist nodes and to teaching online courses.
The image in the previous post could be some help?

image https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four-sides_model