LOs and Metanoia - Reflective Practice LO26990

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 07/12/01

Replying to LO26971 --

Dear Organlearners,

Artur F. Silva <artsilva@mail.eunet.pt> writes:

>In the previous mail I have summarized the main
>criticisms made by Schon to the Positivist Technical
>Rationality. Schon presents Reflective Practice as an
>alternative to that positivist epistemology.


>"There is nothing in common sense to make us say
>that know-how consists in rules or plans which we
>entertain in the mind prior to action. Although we
>sometimes think before acting, it is also true that in
>much of the spontaneous behavior of skillful practice
>we reveal a kind of knowing which does not stem from
>a prior intellectual operation." (RP, pg. 51).

Greetings dear Artur,

I am not hinting that anybody does not understand what Schon is saying
here. But perhaps (without pushing my own work to substitute that of
Schon) I may point you to what I have written on the ESCs (Elementary
Sustainers of Creativity).

An important requirement of an ESC is that not only all humans (of
whatever label) may participate in it, but at least also other kinds of
animals. In other words, an ESC even has to allow for the "intellectual
operations" of animals which most people would rather call instincts. It
is exactly for such a "Reflective Practice" which Schon speaks of that I
have developed the concept of an ESC and identified up to now 5 of these

Our parrot Caru is very fond of my wife. She raised him (her?) as a small
featherless chick. She plays with him every evening like you and I would
play with a human baby. But like most of us, my wife also has to work to
keep the pot cooking. So Caru becomes lonely during the day. His problem
is how to overcome this loneliness. He has solved a number of problems
like opening the door of his cage or to warn the dogs to keep their
distance. But this problem he cannot solve despite every new attempt.

His first attempt was to shriek his head off when my wife arrives in the
evening, using every possible word in his vocabulary. He is still doing
it. In fact, many cars may drive past our house, but as soon as ours
approaches, he identifies its sounds and then begin shriecking, telling my
wife such she must give attention soon.

His next attempt was to tell her in the morning when she leaves that she
must not forget him. He will begin to shriek as soon as he hears the
engine of the car running. He will even call the names of our two dogs
Jack and Gina, making them anxious.

But this morning he began to tell her even earlier that she must not go
away. As soon as she took the keys of the car, he began calling out every
word which he knows. In other words, he has now succeed in connecting the
sound which the keys make with the running of the engine a couple of
minutes later.

Perhaps I will have to help in solving his problem. He has no interest in
the TV. Somehow I must get hold of a video recorder and make some
recording of my wife speaking and see how he will react to this.

The neurological system of higher ordered animals is indeed one of the
wonders of this world. I might try to learn and understand a parrot from
my human point of view, but a parrot has its own "parrot learning and
understanding" of the world. I think it is this "kind of knowing" which
Schon refers to, a knowing which humankind share with other higher ordered

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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