Flutterby™! : a dangerous orthodoxy

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

a dangerous orthodoxy

2007-10-05 14:01:37.109576+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

Mackenab: A dangerous orthodoxy, on definitions, mathematics, and the like:

I was a participant in a very ugly Ph.D. preliminary exam this week. It wasn't the student presentation that was ugly. The student presentation was quite nice, in fact; it was the faculty behavior that was ugly. Describing it in detail here would be inappropriate, but I want to talk about something that I think is at the heart of the matter.

[ related topics: Mathematics Education ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-10-05 15:28:08.642644+00 by: ebradway

I was at an academic conference last weekend and there was a presenter at lunch who was talking about where geographic information science is going in the next 20 years. Of course, he was talking about 3D representations and statistical models in more than 4D. He mentioned that social scientists had developed multi-dimensional statistcal models some 50 years prior.

This reminded me of a presentation a prospective faculty member gave on spatial optimization problems and Pareto charts. After his presentation, one of the faculty members asked "Did you read Gaile 1971? He laid out the basic framework showing that those kind of optimization problems were a dead-end." Gaile, a specialist in regional development in Africa, was sitting right next to him. Needless to say, the presenter didn't get the job.

But the point is many of the methods we tend to think of as "leading edge" (especially within logical positivism) were developed decades earlier by social scientists. Social scientists are constantly dealing with ontological ambiguity - which challenges them to work out new epistemologies to better frame the results of their research. I think the "harder" sciences are needing to understand that there's value in break free of logical positivism.