Talking Trees and Talking Humans: why human cognition is not a natural information processing system

John and Susan Sweller argue that Human Cognition is a Natural Information Processing System.[1] I have many problems with this view, but in this post, I want to highlight a particular mistake in their thinking: the conflation of one-way powers with two-way powers.  Firstly, I shall use the idea that trees talk to each other to explain the distinction between the… Continue reading Talking Trees and Talking Humans: why human cognition is not a natural information processing system

A Portrait of a Reactionary

The mind of a reactionary is marked by a kind of conceptual purism – an insistence that words cannot mean anything that they do not want them to mean. The reactionary does not accept that this is a matter of whimsy, instead they believe that the meaning of words is somehow determined, caused or fixed… Continue reading A Portrait of a Reactionary

Why Doug Lemov’s argument in favour of exams is confused

The cancellation of exams this year has prompted some people to dream of an education system without standardised testing. Some have responded by posting this by Doug Lemov. His argument runs something like this: Given that there is a scarcity of places at the top universities (i.e. not everyone can go to Oxbridge), there must… Continue reading Why Doug Lemov’s argument in favour of exams is confused

What the UK government could learn from some time in the classroom

The paucity of talent in UK politics is such that the press laud any display of even the most basic professional skill as if it were the work of a genius. ‘Wow! “Dom” Cummings is such a genius with the way he gets his stories in the paper, his political messaging and his targeted advertising!’… Continue reading What the UK government could learn from some time in the classroom

Some brief notes on Hinge Certainties

1. The following notes were written for my sixth-formers after the concept came up in class discussion. They are a very brief summary of some of the key ideas in Danièle Moyal-Sharrock’s study of Wittgenstein’s On Certainty, (entitled Understanding Wittgenstein’s On Certainty). I've posted them here following a discussion on twitter concerning Wittgenstein and the temptations… Continue reading Some brief notes on Hinge Certainties

Some notes on Judgements about schools and the curse of the dogma of indirect realism: a brief dialogue

—Is it not true, that the reason why we have such difficulty in knowing what makes a school ‘good’, is because schools are such complex systems that we cannot identify the properties that determine whether a school is good or not? Perhaps, in the future, we will develop models which will bring us closer to… Continue reading Some notes on Judgements about schools and the curse of the dogma of indirect realism: a brief dialogue

Two Conceptions of the Mind: 4. Explanations and teaching…

Note: This is a fourth post in a series of sketches arguing in favour of an anthropological conception of the mind rather than a mechanical conception. The first post can be found here, the second, here, and the third, here. ... What kinds of explanations do we want in order to understand the behaviour of… Continue reading Two Conceptions of the Mind: 4. Explanations and teaching…