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Which clippings match 'Situated Construction Of Reality' keyword pg.1 of 1
19 NOVEMBER 2013

Applying Heidegger's Philosophy to Design

"Heidegger's philosophy offers what is arguably the most thorough account of the process of human understanding available. Although his analysis of interpretation is useful if one is to understand activities like innovative design, it never addresses the realm of design directly. Heidegger discusses interpretation at a high level of generality and chooses his examples from interactions between people and physical artifacts, like the use of hammers by carpenters. He is concerned with the nature of understandingly being in the world. While a person's world includes conceptual and imaginative realms like design, Heidegger's examples primarily come from the world of physical artifacts which can be encountered perceptually. ...

Heidegger treats artifacts in the world the same way he would treat design artifacts on the drawing board. That is, he is not really concerned with them as physically present objects of perception. On the contrary, his main effort philosophically is to distinguish artifacts–in–use from traditional conceptions of physically–present–objects. For example, a hammer in use is not understood by the carpenter as an observed object with physical attributes, but is skillfully applied to the activities of the current situation. Furthermore, this skillful use takes place within the context of future–oriented plans and desires, such as the anticipation of the item that is under construction. This is similar to components of a design, which are skillfully arranged in terms of their relationships to other design components and within the context of the anticipated final design. Marks in a design sketch, for instance, are important for their roles within a network of significances, rather than for their physical properties as lines. Interpretation of both physical artifacts and designs is situated. ...

The notion of breakdown in action plays a rather small role in Heidegger's analysis of human understanding. Heidegger uses examples of breakdown in order to make explicit the network of references among artifacts that are only present tacitly under conditions of normal use. Yet, the notion of breakdown has been elevated to central importance in the theories that have tried to adopt Heidegger's analysis to a theory of design and to operationalize this theory for computer support. Thus, breakdown plays an important role in Schön (1985), Winograd & Flores (1986), Suchman (1987), Ehn (1988), Budde & Züllighoven (1990), McCall, Morch, & Fischer (1990), Dreyfus (1991), Coyne & Snodgrass (1991), Fischer & Nakakoji (1992).

The fact that so many writers influenced by Heidegger have focused on breakdown does not provide multiple independent support for this emphasis. ... most of these writers have been influenced by Heidegger only indirectly–either through Dreyfus or through Schön. If one looks closely at the discussions of breakdown in Dreyfus and Schön, one can note an ambiguity in whether they are speaking about a (ontological) breakdown in the network of references or a (practical) breakdown in action. Dreyfus is certainly aware of the ontological role of breakdown, but he is concerned to make his presentation acceptable to an American audience, trained in the rationalist tradition. For the sake of concreteness, he uses examples that stress the breakdown in action. Schön is also aware of the ontological ramifications, but he has couched his discussion in terms of action (e.g., knowing–in–action, reflection–in–action), so it often seems that his examples of breakdown exemplify breakdowns in action rather than breakdowns in situated understanding. Given that it is easier to operationalize breakdowns in action than breakdowns in situated understanding, it is not surprising that people interested in producing practical results from Dreyfus or Schön's theories would tend to emphasize the action–oriented reading of the ambiguous discussions."

(Gerry Stahl, 5 January 2004)


action-oriented reading • Adrian Snodgrass • Anders Morch • anticipation • artefacts-in-use • being-in-the-worldbreakdown • breakdown in action • breakdown in the network of references • breakdowns in action • breakdowns in situated understanding • carpenter • conceptual domain • concreteness • current situationdesign artefactsdesign innovation • design sketch • design theoryDonald Schon • drawing board • Fernando Floresflow • Gerhard Fischer • Gerry Stahl • hammer • Heinz Zullighoven • Hubert Dreyfushuman perception • human understanding • innovative design • knowing-in-action • Kumiyo Nakakoji • Lucy Suchman • Martin Heidegger • nature of understanding • network of references • network of significances • normal use • objects of perception • Pelle Ehn • philosophy of design • physical artefacts • physical attributes • physical properties • physically present • physically-present-objects • rationalist tradition • Raymond McCall • reflection-in-action • Reinhard Budde • Richard Coynesituated construction of realitysituated knowledgessketching ideas • skillful use • Terry Winogradtheory of design


Simon Perkins
31 OCTOBER 2012

Constructivism: a recent perspective on learning with ancient roots

"Constructivism is a recent perspective or philosophy on learning with ancient roots (von Glasersfeld, 1995) that has extensive implications for the use of collaborative learning tools. In employing constructivism, some teachers believe that better learning occurs when knowledge is the result of a situated construction of reality (Brooks, 1990). Unfortunately, although constructivist revolutionaries have ventured onto the battlefield of epistemological change, most have not provided practicing educators with the wherewithal to reconstitute and embed constructivist ideas within their personal philosophies and teaching practices. Teachers might, in fact, design useful constructivistic learning environments and strategies, but may not recognize that they operate from a constructivist paradigm (Harris & Pressley, 1991). Even when constructivism is recognized as valuable, few guidelines exist for implementing and assessing it. So, when CSCL tools enter the instructional arsenal of public schools and higher education settings, constructivism may not be the theory of choice. And, undoubtedly, many scholars and researchers fuel this problem with intense debates that most practitioners simply lack the time and energy to deal with (e.g., see Ernest, 1995; von Glasersfeld, 1995).

Further muddying the debate, there is no canonical form of constructivist theory. Cobb (1994) identified two variations – cognitive constructivist and social constructivist – and there are undoubtedly more. Cognitive constructivists tend to draw insight from Piaget and focus on individual constructions of knowledge discovered in interaction with the environment ... Social constructivists rely more on Vygotsky (1978) and view learning as connection with and appropriation from the sociocultural context within which we are all immersed."

(Curtis Jay Bonk, Donald J. Cunningham and Kira S. King, p.32)

Bonk, Curtis Jay; Cunningham, Donald J. Bonk, Curtis Jay (Ed); King, Kira S. (Ed), (1998). "Searching for Learner–Centered, Constructivist, and Sociocultural Components of Collaborative Educational Learning Tools" in Electronic collaborators: Learner–centered technologies for literacy, apprenticeship, and discourse., (pp. 25–50). Mahwah, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.


etter learning • canonical form • cognitive constructivist • collaborative learning tools • Computer Supported Collaborative Learningconstructivism • constructivist paradigm • constructivist theory • constructivistic learning environments • constructivistic learning strategies • CSCL • CSCL tools • Curtis Jay Bonk • Donald J. Cunningham • embed constructivist ideas • epistemological change • epistemological divergence • Ernst von Glasersfeld • individual constructions of knowledge • interaction with the environment • Jacqueline Grennon Brooks • Jean Piaget • Karen Harris • learningLev Vygotsky • Michael Pressley • Paul Cobb • Paul Ernest • personal philosophies • philosophy on learning • practicing educators • reconstitute constructivist ideas • situated construction of realitysocial constructivistsocio-constructivismsocio-constructivist • sociocultural context • teaching practices


Simon Perkins
30 APRIL 2010

Ethics: immanent, historical, and emergent rather than transcendent, essential and static

"Deleuze and Guattari's notion of ethics does not suggest relativism. Ethics are 'relative,' or related to the condition of their use, however they have criteria. The criteria for ethics according to Deleuze is 'immanent, historical, and emergent rather than transcendent, essential and static' (Hayden 121). Thus Deleuze and Guattari assert that thinking belongs to the earth and is not the manifestation of a knowing subject apart from its environment. Thinking exists as the fluid effect of the interactions that take place between the force of the body and the environment in which it occurs (121). The reciprocal relationality of bodies and milieux implies that each have effects on the other. Evaluation of modes of existence, then, must proceed from the recognition of this reciprocity or symbiosis (121). Such an ethics requires careful study not only of the natural conditions of phenomena, but also of the effects of various modes of existence. Therefore, though ethics implies a continuous process within diverse milieux, this is not to say that it is impossible to distinguish particular modes of existence as more desirable than others (122). However such distinctions are always site–specific, so to speak, and cannot be measured against a transcendent standard."

(Sheri Benning, Rhizomes 15)

Hayden, Patrick. Multiplicity and Becoming: The Pluralist Empiricism of Gilles Deleuze. New York: Peter Lang, 1998.

Benning, S. (2007). "Claybank, Saskatchewan." Rhizomes: Cultural Studies in Emerging Knowledge winter(15).


2007a knowing subject • a transcendent standard • Canada • diverse milieux • ethicsFélix GuattariGilles Deleuze • milieux • modes of existencereciprocityrelativism • Saskatchewan • situated construction of realitysymbiosis


Simon Perkins

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