May 24, 2007

Making it complex

Madhukar blogs about how a concept can be said in so much jargon that it seeks to prove its "toughness" :-)

In MOC (my creativity course), I try to communicate to the students that our thinking and actions are influenced/constrained by how we perceive a situation (and so, if we change our way of perceiving a situation, new solutions would emerge)

The disadvantage of such a simplistic approach is that it is not sufficiently complex, lacks academic rigor, and since students learn it easily, there is no way one can make a tough quiz on this point, which they can't solve.

Today, luckily, I stumbled upon something called "Theory of Situated Cognition", which defines the above mentioned common sense in the following mysterious, complex and academically respectable format:

"A theory of situated cognition suggests that activity and perception are importantly and epistemologically prior - at a nonconceptual level - to conceptualization and that it is on them that more attention needs to be focused. An epistemology that begins with activity and perception, which are first and foremost embedded in the world, may simply bypass the classical problem of reference - of mediating conceptual representations."

By the way, I attended the MOC course which Madhukar taught and the 30 students who opted for it (it was an elective), loved it. It formed the basis of a lot of my beliefs on innovation and creativity.