56 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2018
    1. First, complexity theory is caught in a double bind. Though it offers an explanationfor change and evolution in particular instances and circumstances, it is essentiallya post hocexplanation; one can see the hidden hand of complexity theory—theghost in the machine—working in the present and past only; this limits its prospectiveutility

      The importance of the zeitgeist terms.


    1. He argues that educational and institutional change is less a consequenceof effecting change in one particular factor or variable, and more a case of generatingmomentum in a new direction by attention to as many factors as possible.

      The importance of a commitment to 'teacher voice' is that it is not specific, it is a rallying cry for change around a label.

    2. Ball goes on tosuggest (ibid., p. 6) that... even with our woeful ignorance of why humans behave the way theydo, it is possible to make some predictions about how they behavecollectively. That is to say, we can make predictions about society even inthe face of individual free will.

      Ball is critical of complexity theory, believing that it offers little new perspective.


    1. What is scientific ideolo9y?

      Look back at this and look at Cangulhem's predecessors for clues. Bauchelard.

    2. Cartesian doubt refused to comment on prior claims to knowledge. It not only rejected the legacy of ancient and medieval physics but erected new norms of truth in place of the old.

      Although the Cartesian revolution created a new, superior objective science, a science that would seem to evade an identity capable of historicity, the very fact that this revolution blotted out previous scientific methods, creating a discontinuity and a paradigm shift, therein we find our historicity.

    3. The science of crystals is a discourse on the nature of crystal, the nature of crystal being nothing other than its identity: a mineral as opposed .to an animai or vegetable, and independent of any use to which one may put it.

      Plato's Theory of Forms

    4. Life has its specificity: "Life, whatever form it may take, involves self-preservation by means of self-regulation."

      Suicide is the self-preservation of the mind. Once we are capable of conceiving the neutral nothing then we realise we can inhabit that as a state. It's a great leap into another form of reality. Most of us fear it, but sometimes the rich colours and malicious streaks of the earth can prove too much. The Western world is more concerned with death than some peoples, and this is because we have, almost like the creation of a piece of artwork, imagined a reality other than our own: an emptiness, a blackness, a neutrality. If you have a bag of balls containing good and bad, and someone else has taken all the 'good' out (could be one's past self) then logically a person would be better off with a hollow bag. The tie between rationality and suicide. The reason the piraha tribe laugh at someone who commits suicide. Does rationality even create a better society anyway? Reference Hitler. Reference Duterte. Like Hume said, at the end of the day, isn't rationality merely the slave of the passions anyway?

    5. "the history of science is the history of an object -discourse -that is a history and has a history, whereas science is the science of an object that is not a history, that has no history."

      Here we confuse science and discourse in the social sciences. To be scientific we need to study something without a history; however, inevitably in the social sciences, everything has a history: a plurality of causes and affections.

    6. Unlike the task of the scientist, the episte­mologist's problem is to establish "the order of conceptual prog­ress that is visible only after the fact and of which the present notion of scientific truth is the provisional point of culmination."

      Can be perceived as a project of the 'will to knowledge', which rests on the assumption that knowledge can make the world, in the words of James Baldwin, "a more human dwelling place".

    7. The philosophy of science became the study of regional epistemologies, the historical reflection on the elaboration of theories and concepts by practicing scientists, physicists, chemists, pathologists, anatomists and so on. The aim was not to attack science but to show it in action in its speci­ficity and plurality.

      Complexity Theory

    1. Functions of reality versus functions of transition. We need self-determining functions that determine reality. However, we need functions that are structures to allow other functions through. Identities are predicated on language.

    1. A simple explanation of structuralism is that it understands phenomena using the metaphor of language. That is, we can understand language as a system, or structure, which defines itself in terms of itself.


    1. Language is the domain for the communication of the artist's project. It is the domain of ideas. And the 'wilderness of [the artist]' is forced to interact on the playing field of ideas. Existence is found in ideas.

    2. He is also enjoined to conquer the great wilderness of himself.

      How do we survive within our own human nature? Our consciousness mirrors the logics of nature, and therefore, like we must learn the wilderness to survive, we must learn the wilderness of our hearts and minds and discover that path that provides the potential for the best existence.

      Our search for our best existence is the fizzling creation of morality.

    1. Power/knowledge and the concept. We rally around great figures in history and the present. We rally around events. What about the concepts we rally around? Great concepts like liberty, concepts like BlackLivesMatter.

      The twitter generation shows how much we can rally around concepts, or simple hashtags. Reducing a movement to a word or words. Now, possibly more than ever, we live in a world of labels. These labels have power over us, they marginalise us and discipline us. Can you be a liberal if you do or don't do this?

      This is not entirely bad. Words that establish limits in their use can be useful for organising and they become a kind of deontology. The question becomes whether it is the right kind of deontology or whether it is at odds with the original aim of the group.

      Locate the power, justify the discipline.

      Wittgenstein meaning in use. Can names and concepts transcend their current meaning when they enter common vernacular. Do they become imbued with something sacred?

      Words with power will organise. Expose the liberal, conservative divide with regards to this. Words can oppose. They start their own discussions and languages. "snowflake" in response to liberals who change their mind.

      Talk about teacher voice as a concept and why I think it's important to have this as an anchor and duty especially in its polymorphous form. Limited teacher voice as an idea or concept can end up not true to its intent.

      There can be productive or destructive power/knowledge concepts/words. It is important that we differentiate the two.

    2. Word atomism vs emotion atomism. We would argue that we can identify and feel someone's inner emotions, at least based on a specific intelligible context. However, we are more hesitant to make the jump to words. We would not presume to know the exact words that someone is thinking. This feels like an important distinction. When thinking we respond to our own emotions and our own thoughts.

    3. Whether it be a veritable argument or not (and Wittgenstein never labeled it as such), these sections point out that for an utterance to be meaningful it must be possible in principle to subject it to public standards and criteria of correctness. For this reason, a private-language, in which “words … are to refer to what only the speaker can know—to his immediate private sensations …” (PI 243), is not a genuine, meaningful, rule-governed language. The signs in language can only function when there is a possibility of judging the correctness of their use, “so the use of [a] word stands in need of a justification which everybody understands”

      This is a scientific language. Obviously this makes sense to an audience attuned to the epistemic value of science with it's verifying recursion

    4. "Meaning as use" is an important concept. Such a position indicates that culture precedes language. This could, for example, explain the comparatively simple and limited language of the piraha tribe who (according to Everett) do not possess counting as an aspect of language. If much of philosophy is about limits (Foucault, Wittgenstein) then culture limits the language, not just in terms of normalisation and marginalisation but also in terms of embedded historical value. The Whorf-Sapir hypothesis now becomes relevant. This hypothesis indicates that language can limit our thoughts. If culture precedes language (at least in some cases) then could it be possible that language shapes our perception and thinking? Although viscerally this makes sense, research seems to indicate there is limited proof for this. For example, given a question explained properly, people from multiple backgrounds will interpret the question in much the same way. Perhaps rather than it shaping our perception, language can focus our attention. Limits of language matter very little in existential and emotional problems. However, abstract complex philosophy, which underpins much of Western reality since the enlightenment, may be more inaccessible to those with limited language.

  2. Mar 2018
    1. "This kind of analysis is characterized, first, by anti-atomism, by the idea tht we should not analyze single or individual elements in isolation but that one must look at the systematic relations amongst elements; second, it is characterized by the idea that the relations between elements are coherent and transformable, that is, that the elements form a structure." (Mason, 2008: 105)

    2. "It is complexity theory more broadly, however, that has drawn off poststructural methods, and establishes them as a form of critical realism" (Mason, 2008: 102)

    3. "Whereas Marxists like Althusser adopted a totalistic programme of seeking to explain the whole by understanding the interrelations between its component parts, for Foucault the totality always eluded analysis or understanding in terms of structure, but rather was characterised by incompleteness, indeterminacy, complexity and change. This was the core of his pluralism. As Foucault says, 'though it is true that these discontinuous discursive series each have, within certain limits, their regularity, it is undoubtedly no longer possible to establish links of mechanical causality, or of ideal necessity between the elements which constitute them. We must accept the introduction of alea (chance) as a category in the production of events' (1981: 69)" (Mason, 2008: 95)

    4. "Nietzsche's importance to Foucault can be seen as 'correcting Marx', especially in relation to the linkage between power-knowledge-truth, and the functioning of knowledge as an instrument of power. As Alan Schrift (1993, p.40) notes, Nietzsche's influence drew attention away from 'substances, subjects and things, and focussed attention instead on the relations between these substantives'. In a related way, Foucault 'draws our attention away from the substantive notino of power and directs our attention instead to the multifarious ways that power operates through the social order'. For Nietzsche, such relations were relations of forces. Foucault thus focussed on new relations as the relations of forces that existed and interacted within social systems as social practices. These were forces of repression and production that characterised the disciplinary society: forces that enable and block, subjugate and realise, and normalise and resist. In this model, power is not a thing, but a process, a relation of forces." (Mason, 2008: 92)

    5. "It was in terms of the philosophy of difference and Nietzsche's conception of multiplicities through a rejection of Platonic hierarchies that Foucault enunciates a theory of discursive formations, rejects Marxist and Hegelian conceptions of history and establishes an approach which broadly parallels contemporary complexity theories. The utilisation of Nietzsche signalled a rupture from Marxism in relation to a series of interrelated conceptual, theoretical and methodological precepts, including power, knowledge and truth, the subject, and the nature of historical change and determination." (Mason, 2008: 91)

    6. To understand Foucault as a complexity theorist we need to understand his rejection of Marx and structuralism. Instead Nietzsche serves as Foucault's guide, especially with his process of genealogy.

    7. Foucault as Complexity Theorist in Education in the book Complexity Theory and the Philosophy of Education

      See also Research Methods in Education, which first introduced me to Complexity Theory as a method for research

    8. See also Mark Mason's book Michel Foucault: Materialism and Education

    9. Mason perceives Foucault as a complexity theorist, and he believes he is relevant today in this capacity.

    1. Complexity Theory - Dynamical Systems Theory

      If we want to make change we should come at a problem from as many different areas as possible.

      We should be wary of the magic bullet. Complexity theory may be seen as post-structuralist or even further?

      This is part of an agency structure debate.

      There are varied factors that contribute to change.

      The connections of neurons are more important than the number of cells are more important for consciousness or the mind. This is a good analogy for why complexity theory is so essential.

      Consciousness emerges when critical mass is reached in a system.

      It's hard to know how much of a factor something can be in a causal system. For example, how much do we cause do we attribute to butterfly wings causing a storm in India.

      What causes change in the education system?

      We need to use words like compounding effects to explain change.

      We need to conceive of change in terms of speed and direction, like a mathematical function.

      We need to be wary of one dimensional change or one kind of initiative. You need to think of multiple factors.

      Effective intervention means intervention from every possible angle.

      We need to pump resources until we have autocatalysis.

      International Journal of Education Development Mark Mason

    1. Complexity Theory replaces simple causality with an emphasis on networks, linkages, holism, feedback, relationships and interactivity in context, emergence, dynamical systems, self-organization and an open system, rather than the closed world of the experimental laboratory. Even if we could conduct an experiment, its applicability to ongiong, emerging, interactive, relational, changing, open situations, in practice, may be limited. It is misconceived to hold variables constant in a dynamical, evolving, fluid, open situation.

    2. Where one subscribes to the view which treats the social world like the natural world – as if it were an external and objective reality – then scientific investiga - tion will be directed at analysing the relationships and regularities between selected factors in that world. It will be concerned with identifying and defining ele - ments and discovering ways in which their relationships can be expressed. Hence, methodological issues, of fun - damental importance, are thus the concepts themselves, their measurement and the identification of underlying themes in a search for universal laws which explain and govern that which is being observed (Burrell and Morgan, 1979). An approach characterized by proce - dures and methods designed to discover general laws may be referred to as nomothetic .

    3. In research there is a difference between determinism and voluntarism. Determinists devalue human agency whereas voluntarists celebrate and affirm human agency and will.

    4. Indeed Popper (1980) notes that the essence of science, what makes a science a science, is the inherent falsifiability of the propositions (in contrast to the views of the method of science as being one of verifiability, as held by logical positivists).

    1. The main objective of doing reflexivity in qualitative research is to acknowledge and interrogate the constitutive role of the researcher in research design, data collec tion, analysis, and knowledge producti

      I need to involve this is in every part of my research project paper. Ethics, methodology etc. this reflexivity all needs to be considered.

    2. Reflexivity is a process that challenges the researcher to explicitly examine how his or her research agenda and assumptions, sub ject location(s), personal beliefs, and emo tions enter into their resear

      How can I incorporate this reflexivity throughout my paper?

    1. Focus groups are useful for characterising social and cultural norms, sharing and comparing, revealing how people talk about an issue, exploring potentially sensitive topics

    2. Interaction and group dynamics are essential:

      • widens range of responses
      • activates forgotten details
      • releases inhibitions
    3. Focus Group - generate unique insights into shared experiences and social norms

      What is a focus group? Group of people with certain characteristics generate narrative data in a focused discussion

    1. A true idea is knowing without needing to know that we know?

    2. Now, as it is something different from its correlate, it is capable of being understood through itself

      This paragraph is essentially saying we can have ideas about the ideas of things. Corresponding to a something we have the idea of a something. Once we have the idea of a something we can then have an idea about the idea of something and so on.

    3. But as men at first made use of the instruments supplied by nature to accomplish very easy pieces of workmanship, laboriously and imperfectly, and then, when these were finished, wrought other things more difficult with less labour and greater perfection; and so gradually mounted from the simplest operations to the making of tools, and from the making of tools to the making of more complex tools, and fresh feats of workmanship, till they arrived at making, complicated mechanisms which they now possess. So, in like manner, the intellect, by its native strength 10, makes for itself intellectual instruments, whereby it acquires strength for performing other intellectual operations 11, and from these operations again fresh instruments, or the power of pushing its investigations further, and thus gradually proceeds till it reaches the summit of wisdom.

      Education purpose?

    4. Lastly, there is the perception arising when a thing is perceived solely through its essence, or through the knowledge of its proximate cause

      The most pure kind of intellect?

    5. Having laid down these preliminary rules, I will betake myself to the first and most important task, namely, the amendment of the understanding, and the rendering it capable of understanding things in the manner necessary for attaining our end.

      Spinoza's first task in achieving the ultimate good, which includes helping others, is to purify the intellect so that it can be the most precise tool for understanding the ultimate truth.

    6. But before all things, a means must be devised for improving the understanding and purifying it, as far as may be at the outset, so that it may apprehend things without error, and in the best possible way.


    7. In order to bring this about, it is necessary to understand as much of nature as will enable us to attain to the aforesaid character and also to form a social order such as is most conducive to the attainment of this character by the greatest number with the least difficulty and danger.

      Here Spinoza transcends himself. He wishes to impart the union of mind with nature to others. Is this immanently justified in his text or just a personal preference?

    8. The chief good is that he should arrive, together with other individuals if possible, at the possession of the aforesaid character

      The aforesaid character is the stable character as contrasted with human weakness

    9. Nothing regarded in its own nature can be called perfect or imperfect; especially when we are aware that all things which come to pass, come to pass according to the eternal order and fixed laws of nature.

      Relativism, determinism

    10. But love towards a thing eternal and infinite feeds the mind wholly with joy, and is itself unmingled with any sadness, wherefore it is greatly to be desired and sought for with all our strength


    11. on the other hand, if our hopes happen to be frustrated we are plunged into the deepest sadness

      This assumption can be contested. Can hope be a means to live by, rather than just the assumption of happiness?

    1. The meaning of life is not happiness. Happiness is a relativist construction. In fact there is no meaning in life, historically. However, we are thrust into a life of meaning. We are no longer given the option of no meaning. As the first meaning was created, so was no meaning given a meaning. Thus we find ourselves in something inescapable.

      In a deterministic world we have to be sensitive to the forces we create. Although we can view wind as something causal, due to the arrangement of its causal parts, it exerts an effect much greater than a atomic aspect of its causal parts. Ideas like wind may be causal in nature, but important in their category or function.

      Determinists devalue specific time points. Wind is ultimately impotent as a force if we do not understand it as an essence. If we understand wind merely as a product--as the end point of causality--then wind means nothing. By limiting wind to its function and structure we can assess wind to be its own cause. This wind is not an illusion; it is a fact. Similarly, we can understand the forces of our mind this way. We need to limit the various functions and structure of our mind and to view them as causes of themselves--causa sui.

      As an observer, to obtain knowledge we need to understand things as causa sui--even if this is an illusion. Things lose meaning when they are no longer causa sui.

      With the advent of evolution we stopped seeing objects as causa sui. Instead we are the product of evolution, a mode of causa sui--a function. Perhaps instead of viewing things as products of functions we need to view things as forces. Things can be the cause of themselves by their function and structure. In other words rather than focusing on how something is, we need to focus on what something is.

      In this sense, ideas become causa sui. Ideas are by their nature function and structure. Once ideas are conceived they become a force and operate according to their immanent function and structure.

      The world of ideas is strange in that it would seem to be non physical in substance. This means that the forces of ideas do not interact in the same way the physical plain is forced to interact. Of course a purely deterministic view would say that ideas are not operating on any kind of plain but are merely presented as according physical determinants in the brain. In this case, though, how do our corresponding representations interact? How are they forced to interact? The brain is forced to make a coherence. The brain is immanently creative.

      The eyes and ears inherently limit and categorise. The brain gives these limits value. We create value by our bodily responses corresponding to categories of limits. So we see a berry (the limit of the eyes) we eat the berry and understand the berry (the bodily response). Life then is a series of limiting and categorising and then experiencing. The drivers of learning then are curiosity and memory. Curiosity drives us to try new things. Memory helps us remember those things we have interacted with.

    1. Reframing education in terms of teratology and nosology may be the most pressing philosophical task in education.

    2. Life is thus described as the activity of differentiation, which here takes on a double mean-ing: namely, of preservation (by means of regulation) and of production or creation (création), also described as individualization

      A good metaphysical standpoint for education.

    3. Life as vital normativity is exposing and evading, or in Canguilhem’s words: “Even for an amoeba, living means preference and exclusion.”7 The living searches out those stimuli in its environment that prove advantageous to it and likewise avoids those other stimuli, threats, or limits that would restrict its life: The animal finds it simpler to do what it privileges. It has its own vital norms. The relation between the living and the milieu establishes itself as a debate (Auseinandersetzung), to which the living brings its own proper norms of appreciating situations, both dominating the milieu and accommodating itself to it.8

      We could assume that most living objects are subject to these vital norms. Exceptions would appear to be those who commit suicide. Suicide has been laughed at by the relatively insular piraha tribe. In the West suicide has a different connotation. Through the Christian tradition, death is made a fetish. Through our art, those emotions that would usually be considered vital signs are also made fetish and explored and made objects for our investigation. Through making death and emotions our objects these vital norms can no longer be considered as purely teleological.

    4. pathological phenomena are solely quantitative variations of normal phenomena

      What in education do we constitute as normal when it could be pathological and vice versa. It would seem insensible to rid discourse of these two terms and value judgements. Perhaps the best we can do is just understand the forces behind the subjection. Nature subjects us, but we do not remove nature, as nature creates us. We do, however, adapt to and workaround the subjection of nature. Nature creates us. We rebelled against nature when we created the house, the fire, the wheel. We broke from its subjecting constraints. Once we realise that society subjects us in a similar way, we need to decide on how we workaround or choose to live with the nature of society.

    1. Canguilhem's book 'The Normal and the Pathological' will be used to frame the context in which this novel form of interview is necessary. How do we create an interview structure and form that is sensitive to potentially erroneous subjecting through the modes of normal and pathological

    2. The chosen research paradigm for this research project is postmodernism. This is consistent with the adopted definition of ‘teacher voice' this paper uses, but it is also congruent with my own views of the world and my own epistemological viewpoint as a researcher.Postmodernism questions traditional assumptions and deconstructs them; that is, it shows the ambiguity and contextuality of meaning. It proposes that, in the name of grand theorizing, we have suppressed this ambiguity in favor of a single interpretation, which is commonly touted as "the truth," rather than a choice among many possible truths.' (Fontana, 2002: 162)Acknowledging this, I have decided to conduct a two-part group interview process with three teachers from my selected school. The interview is in two parts, allowing the interviewing dynamic to change halfway through. The first part of the interview involves a traditional qualitative interview structure, in which semi-structured questions will be asked, allowing for the discussion of teacher voice and diversions at the researcher's discretion. The second part of the interview is characteristically more modern, resituating the interviewer and limiting their role. For this part of the interview, a card game will be used to discuss teacher voice. Each interviewee is handed a theme of cards. The three teachers will then be asked to pick one card and use it to create a fictional situation in which teacher voice necessarily needs to be exercised. The fictional situation will likely be ridiculous, but this is also an element of changing the research dynamic. By limiting the agency of the interviewer (Fontana, 2002: 166), and by allowing for a dynamic more conducive of ridiculous-induced humour, it is hoped that power relations will shift and there may be differences in how teachers express their voices.

      Essentially questioning the whole research process. Rather than being teleological, the interview is reflexive. Immersive interviewing. Instead of looking at research from one angle: results; this research intends to inspect itself and be conscious of the biases. Whereas most interviews lose their value, because the sample size is not large enough, this research does not lose its value. It's a mini world to be inspected. The interview determines its value. I determine its value. The subjects determine its value.