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Author Topic: Can we talk about thinking?  (Read 2183 times)

Offline coberst

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Can we talk about thinking?
« on: 23/02/2009 18:04:51 »
Can we talk about thinking?

We are born as unreflective thinkers; many of us die decades later, still unreflective thinkers. 

Who ever told us that we need to think about thinking?  Who told us that we must practice thinking?   Just as we must practice throwing or hitting a ball to improve our ability to play sports, likewise we must also practice thinking if we wish to improve our ability to think.

Isn’t thinking just like breathing?  We all breath and think; no one needs to practice such automatic things that our body does without our conscious action.  Wrong!  The body does handle breathing pretty well without our conscious management, but not so with thinking.

There is a difference between “naive thinking” and “sophisticated thinking”.  Can the naïve thinker become a sophisticated thinker?  The answer is yes; provided there is motivated practice and study.

A child clinging to her mother’s skirt is not an uncommon site.  A child with wide eyes and a look of apprehension seeking security and assurance by remaining very close to his mother (his center of balance) is similar to the centricities we all carry forward and often remain with us until we die.

Our centricities, our centers of irrational influence, are often the ego and the group.  I suspect that as we get older we focus less on the ego for guidance and more upon the social group.  Our nation centric, our ethnic centric, our political centric forces provide us with illusions of security without any independent thinking on our own.

I think that it is worthwhile to focus our attention on the metaphors ‘egocentricity is a disease’ and ‘sociocentricity is a disease’.  The cure for both diseases is self-consciousness.  Being self-conscious permits us to combat the fever of irrationality caused by both tendencies. 

Of the two I suspect sociocentricity causes us and our community the greatest harm.  When our ego leads us to do stupid things the harm done is limited because we generally affect only our self and maybe a few others.  Sociocentricity, however, can easily be identified as the cause of the destruction and death of many.

Ethno centric is one form of socio centric attitudes and behavior.  Ethno centric is placing ones own race as the privileged group.  This form of socio centric behavior is perhaps the most predominate and lethal form of social bias.  Regardless of which group we belong to I suspect that one of the most important things one might do to make the world a better place in which to live is for all of us to become self-conscious of these innate human tendencies.

Basic concepts become weapons of warfare within social groups.  Basic words such as capitalism, socialism, communism, democracy, freedom, oligarchy, plutocracy, evil, patriotism, terrorism, etc. are twisted and maneuvered to confuse, distort, and to excite members of a group one way or another.

I think that people often have difficulty distinguishing ideological uses of such words from their non ideological uses.  What do you think?

It appears that the key question of an egocentric is “How can I get what I want and avoid having to change in any fundamental way?”





 

Offline Make it Lady

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Can we talk about thinking?
« Reply #1 on: 23/02/2009 20:53:59 »
Firstly you must look at the role the media plays in all this. Most peoples views are formed by the media. We all have concepts and attitudes passed down by our parents that have also been formed by the media. Language also plays its part. I see that you have referred to race. Race in itself is a misconception. We are all a member of one race and that is the human race. We are related to Africans, Asians, Americans and Australians (and that is just the A's.) We are all connected by our DNA. If you are of a different race you are a dog or a cat or a squirrel. Even you need to think more about what you say.
Children can be taught to think in a better way than they do now. The National Curriculum States that children should be taught all about what you say above however teachers weren't taught how to do it, until now. Over the next few years Global Citizenship will be introduced across the board which aims to teach critical thinking, social justice and the connectivity of our lives on the same planet. It will empower them and make them realise that they have a voice. It will also give them strategies for conflict resolution.
It will start with early years children and will teach them about identity, respect for others, sharing, voicing your opinion and listening. By the time they are college age they will be looking at major world issues, politics, media, social justice and debating.
I hope this helps. 
 

Offline coberst

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Can we talk about thinking?
« Reply #2 on: 24/02/2009 14:01:30 »
In the 1970s a new body of empirical research began to introduce findings that questioned the traditional Anglo-American cognitive paradigm of AI (Artificial Intelligence), i.e. symbol manipulation. 

This research indicates that the neurological structures associated with sensorimotor activity are mapped directly to the higher cortical brain structures to form the foundation for subjective conceptualization in the human brain.  In other words, our abstract ideas are constructed with copies of sensorimotor neurological structures as a foundation.  “It is the rule of thumb among cognitive scientists that unconscious thought is 95 percent of all thought—and that may be a serious underestimate.”

Categorization, the first level of abstraction from “Reality” is our first level of conceptualization and thus of knowing.  Seeing is a process that includes categorization, we see something as an interaction between the seer and what is seen.  “Seeing typically involves categorization.”

 Our categories are what we consider to be real in the world: tree, rock, animal…Our concepts are what we use to structure our reasoning about these categories.  Concepts are neural structures that are the fundamental means by which we reason about categories.

Human categories, the stuff of experience, are reasoned about in many different ways.  These differing ways of reasoning, these different conceptualizations, are called prototypes and represent the second level of conceptualization

Typical-case prototype conceptualization modes are “used in drawing inferences about category members in the absence of any special contextual information.  Ideal-case prototypes allow us to evaluate category members relative to some conceptual standard…Social stereotypes are used to make snap judgments…Salient exemplars (well-known examples) are used for making probability judgments…Reasoning with prototypes is, indeed, so common that it is inconceivable that we could function for long without them.”

When we conceptualize categories in this fashion we often envision them using spatial metaphors.  Spatial relation metaphors form the heart of our ability to perceive, conceive, and to move about in space. We unconsciously form spatial relation contexts for entities: ‘in’, ‘on’, ‘about’, ‘across from’ some other entity are common relationships that make it possible for us to function in our normal manner.

When we perceive a black cat and do not wish to cross its path our imagination conceives container shapes such that we do not penetrate the container space occupied by the cat at some time in its journey.  We function in space and the container schema is a normal means we have for reasoning about action in space.  Such imaginings are not conscious but most of our perception and conception is an automatic unconscious force for functioning in the world.

Our manner of using language to explain experience provides us with an insight into our cognitive structuring process.  Perceptual cues are mapped onto cognitive spaces wherein a representation of the experience is structured onto our spatial-relation contour.  There is no direct connection between perception and language.

The claim of cognitive science is “that the very properties of concepts are created as a result of the way the brain and the body are structured and the way they function in interpersonal relations and in the physical world.”


Quotes from “Philosophy in the Flesh” by Lakoff and Johnson

Questions for discussion

Is all of this of any importance for ‘the man on the street’?  I think so because if we comprehend these fundamental facts about human perception and motor movement we will better comprehend why we do the things we do.

We live our lives by our abstract ideas, i.e. morality, flag, nation, patriotism, value, motive, good, right, fairness, etc.

Do you think it is important for ‘the man on the street’ to comprehend how concepts are made?

 

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Can we talk about thinking?
« Reply #2 on: 24/02/2009 14:01:30 »

 

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