Monday, September 26, 2005


Having a BA in Anthropology, I have a natural affinity to the stance being taken in this book. Some of the ideas are not new to me but the words usage and vivid examples are new. Isn’t it a cultural thought style to think in the “container” metaphor hence, we have “the culture of X” as if it were something that can be captured, analyzed, and objectified. It’s brilliant to see such a paradigm shift to thinking outside the box (to use the metaphor of one of my thought collectives). Now about that shift to schema theory and connectionism….

Are they saying that learning is a whole bunch of situations from which the individual learns through exposure? I understand the idea that “learning” occurs from +/- situations (either supervised or unsupervised) but it does leave out other possible feedback situations like elaboration that a child might get as to why something is right or wrong (good or bad). I guess the whole plus/minus thing just seems too simplistic. I can see how it would allow the potential for a computer system to “learn” though. I’m also still sort of wondering about how the connectionist model includes innate knowledge/ability or those natural tendencies people have…gut instinct, being gifted, or talented? Then again, maybe it’s just a heuristic for general learning patterns and not those exceptions. Why is it we want our models and theories to explain everything?

I’ve always thought of the push and pull on culture not centripetal and centrifugal – these words make me dizzy, but I do think they more dynamically (less linearly) explain how culture changes while at the same time maintains itself and does so at the macro and micro level!


Blogger mdl said...

Hello--I found your insights very interesting, especially since you come from an anthropology background. So, can you shed some light on some of the "dirt" they talk about their discipline (that, for example, if you are of a particular school in anthropology, you won't get into any programs unless you lie on your application). academics. they just don't play well with others. ;)

4:50 PM  

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