Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 265.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Sat, 29 Sep 2001 10:39:26 +0100
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Francois Lachance)
Subject: Computation-enriched Imagination
In reply to your call for writings about fostering the play of
imagination, I was initially drawn to point towards the work of Israel
Scheffler, the philosopher of education, whose essay "In Praise of the
Cognitive Emotions" was reprinted by Routledge in 1991 in a volume of that
name. I hestitated. I did not have the volume at hand and I wished not
only to mention its title as a reference. I wanted to quote from it.
Critical inquiry in pursuit of explanation is a constructive outcome of
surprise, transforming initial disorientation into motivated search
Before this summative statement, Scheffler writes:
Surprise may be dissipated and may evaporate into lethargy. It may
culminate in confusion or panic. It may be swiftly overcome by a redoubled
dogmatism. Or it may be transformed into wonder or curiosity and so become
an educative occasion. Curiostiy replaces the impact of surprise with the
demand for explanation*; it turns confusion into question.
*Scheffler here refers readers to his _Anatomy of Inquiry_ explaining that
he uses the term "explanation" in a very broad sense.
There is the marvelous passage in an essay about the education of
policy-makers which reminds me of the threads spun out this past summer on
Humanist regarding the role of the ideal administrator in supporting a
humanities computing enterprise or programs.
the improvement of policy through learning from experience [...] requires
both a continuing audit of past experience and a continuous commitment to
act upon the future
Of course, Scheffler has written about computers in schools. Perhaps some
other subscriber-contributors to Humanist would care to comment upon his
three rival metaphors to the problem-solving model which he set against
the computer-metaphor based on information is associated. For Scheffler
writing in 1986, "The computer has been associated with the recent swing
to hard education, with the notion of raising standards, of higher
acheivement in academic subjects, of increased efficiency in the teaching
of fact, of enhanced problem-solving capacity." Since November is
approaching and during that month is scheduled a conference on pedagogical
matters in the domain of humanities computing, I ask --- What is the place
of the computer as an esthetic instrument in the curricula of humanities
computing programs? Just how much was the infrastructure spending of the
1990s a continuation of the the funding regimes that implemented the cuts
of the 1980s? How does this past affect visions of the future?
....imaginging the computation of the economic imagination of humanities
Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
per Interactivity ad Virtuality via Textuality
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