All 10 entries tagged Philosophy Planning

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December 27, 2005

Research Notes: Top level concept map

Suddenly I have a plan.

Add a section on the refrain at the start of part 3. Trace its deterritorialization through the subsequent plateaus (remove psychotherapy ?).

"The literary war" – travel writing, empire, geophilosophy, rhizomatic warfare – T.E. Lawrence.

Double articulation: virtuality of chaosmic incarnation and incorporeal complexity producing virtual enunciative nuclei on the one hand, and the simultaneous but different actuality of machinic and spatio-temporal discursivity on the other.

Common virtualities (horizons of indiscernibility).

Actualities (machinic discursivities) that skip between virtualities – percepts independent of affect. Concepts – capable of creating a problematic (virtuality of the concept), rather than being dependent on a precreated problematic. Hence self-positing.

November 01, 2005

Planning Notes: All 95 philosophy research entries keyword tagged

For the last year I have been carrying out an experiment in using Warwick Blogs as a research and writing tool. The recent introduction of tags, as a replacement for categories, offers some new and very interesting possibilities. So I just spent the last few hours tagging my philosophy entries, 95 of them.

A few of the advantages of tags are:

  1. you can easily invent new tags for each new entry;
  2. you can re-use tags previously used in your own blog, or even in other people's blogs;
  3. for each tag, you have an auto-generated page showing all of the entries containing the tag, for example, see the list for the tag deleuze
  4. the most frequently used tags in a blog are listed in the left hand column, linking to pages that show entries for each of the tags;
  5. a page can be accessed for any combination of tags, for example, deleuze and art
  6. you can get a list of entries that contain one or more tags within a department or the whole of Warwick Blogs, for example, this page shows entries on art
  7. a single entry can have more than one tag, thus allowing it to be categorised in more than one way

This is potentially powerful, especially as people are starting to consistently share tags in an organised way. Expect to see this approach used in teaching in the future, especially as Sitebuilder supports a similar keyword tagging system, and we are writing "thematic navigation" tools that exploit it.

As for my own blog, it may well be the most thoroughly tagged blog yet. For each of the 95 philosophy entries, I added tags that represent the concepts covered, as well as the philosophers and books referenced. So now it is possible for me to see a page that lists all of my entries that relate to the concept extended_cognition
or, you can see a page listing entries about the book germinal_life

My ultimate plan is to take the complete list of concepts used in my philosophy entries, add them to a concept map, organise them with connections, and link them back to the pages that list them in my blog.

If you are interested in this idea, then contact me

July 17, 2005

Research Methods Overview: Academic blogging, the evolution of a style

I was recently asked to write a short description of why and how I use Warwick Blogs for my academic work (a PhD in Philosophy as well as related research in e-learning). This led me to consider the various types of interaction that my academic blogging seeks to provoke, and the blogging style that I have evolved to encourage these interactions. In over two years of academic blogging, I have learnt that style is very important.

To start of with, lets ignore the technology and consider the interactions that I am after as a researcher, along with some of those that I wish to avoid. Given that the time that I can spend on research is limited, ensuring that these interactions are productive and of the right kind is paramount. I do not want to risk getting involved with interactions that detract from my precious research time. I'm sure that most lecturers would say the same. Even as I write this entry, I am all the time worried that the use of the term 'originality' below may open up an engagement, a debate, that I really don't want to get into right now.

However, I also do not want to have to spend much time managing these interactions. There is therefore a tricky balance to be found between, on the one hand gaining valuable insight through engaging with others, and on the other hand spending time developing my own ideas and arguments. The low risk option is simply to go into hiding and bury myself in a copy of Difference and Repetition.

The problem, to reiterate, is this:

  • to avoid isolation, with my research becoming irrelevant and obscure;
  • to avoid getting involved in debates and misunderstandings that detract from my own research development.

In a subject like philosophy, the tendency towards isolation is a common side effect of the high degree of specialization and creativity required to develop the necessary level of 'originality' and 'individuality' for a PhD or publication. Again it is a difficult balancing act. What I have learnt is this. I need to have interactions with other philosophers in which we can share concepts, terminology, interests, entities, but without always directly engaging in a debate. We need to know each others territories and directions of movement, and know how to connect with them when required. We need to be able to pass around, try out and develop new concepts, without always having a direct debate about them. In short, we need to constitute a collective 'milieu' in which our own individual developments may occur.

Much of my blogging activity is concerned with the consitution of a milieu, and its use as a means to position myself and my concepts. It certainly works, as I have a constant stream of contacts from that milieu. And there are other blogs that I can read to get an idea of where others are at, although very few of them are by people at Warwick. It may even be that the actual number of people reading my blog is irrelevant. The way in which it forces me to position and explain my concepts is in itself a positive effect. However, it is always good to get a response from someone else who is working in a related area, saying that they find my blog to be interesting, and offering some insight into how there work relates to it.

In the past I have always set the comment permissions on my entries so that anyone on the web can comment. This has sometimes resulted in valuable responses ( example ). And on occassion, really good debates have opened up. However, often I find that I recieve irrelevant, uninformed and just plain stupid comments from people who have only a vague notion of what I am writing about. One would imagine that anyone who hasn't spent a lot of time reading Deleuze and Guattari would realise that they have nothing to contribute, but unfortunately the attitude seems to be that in the world of blogs everyone is invited to comment on everything that is written. For most researchers this would be unacceptable. They do not want to feel committed to managing debates that they have no interest in. And they certainly do not ever want their writings to be associated with stupid comments. It seems that the overhead of this extra commitment outweighs the milieu building power of blogs.

So should i retreat back into isolation? That is the response of some of the researchers who I know have tried blogs. However, I have instead started to evolve my own style of blogging that should allow me to continue to use Warwick Blogs effectively. Firstly, I make a distinction between:

  1. entries that I have written simply to position myself within the milieu;
  2. and those in which I am looking for a more direct response.

Entry type 1 ( example ) is given commenting permissions that prevent other people from commenting. However, I will also end the entry with an invitation to anyone with something interesting to say to contact me (via the a link to the 'contact me' form that sends a message to me via email). I have actually found that most of my academic contacts have come through people using this form rather than them writing comments.

Entry type 2 is given open comment permissions, but ends with definite guidance as to what kind of response is required (see the advice at the end of this entry).

To give more of a firm guidance of what each entry is about, and by implication what kind of response i want, I now always start an entry with a short overview paragraph in bold. I am also considering whether I should include set phrases in the title that state what kind of entry each is (as i have recently done with the Warwick E-learning blog). This also allows me to do clever filtering with the RSS to HTML servlet that I have written.

Invitation to comment:

I would be happy to recieve comments on this entry from others who are using blogs for academic research. I would be keen to hear of suggestions for blogging styles and for developments in the technology.

June 21, 2005

My shiny new ePortfolio bibliography page

Writing about web page

Sometimes doing the vast amount of reading required for a philosophy PhD can be really quite painful (although at least sometimes its fun). I need to encourage myself to have a more positive attitude!

Therefore, as an extra incentive for myself, I've created a nice new bibliography page in my ePortfolio. It is split into the following sections:

  • Books I'm currently reading… (as an incentive to actually complete them);
  • Books I'm reading next… (to get me excited about reading them);
  • Books I've recently read… (to give me a sense of achievement);
  • Books that I'm always reading… (to say which books I think are really special).

I've also added thumbnails of the book covers, which is nice, and links to blog entries about some of the books.

Anyone who is interested in any of the books is invited to contact me to discuss them.

May 26, 2005

CMap free concept mapping tool

Writing about web page

I have decided to move my research work from the very professional MindManager software to the slightly less slick but more accessible (as in free) CMap software.

Concept mapping is an essential part of how I work, both in philsoophy and in e-learning. For sometime now I have been building concept maps, and using them for presentations, using the excellent Mindjet MindManager. This is a very slick and professional product, with integration into Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Project. In fact, it seems to have strong project management functionality (something I never use, even for big projects). You can see an example of a MindManager map in my ePortfolio.

After investigating various other applications, I have decided to switch to CMap. This is mainly a result of the need to get more people at Warwick creating and sharing maps. Although MindGenius and Inspirations are available on university computers, I have chosen CMap as it is much more appropriate to research work. Some advantages are:

  • free, but not open source, whereas MindManager costs about £80 (with an educational discount);
  • versions for Windows, Linux and Mac (MindManager is Windows only);
  • not a rigid tree structure, sub-nodes can be joined to sub-nodes by standard 'propositions', making the maps more like a rhizomatic network than an arborescent hierarchy (that's philosophically correct then);
  • drag-and-drop linking between nodes in different maps;
  • CMap collaboration server available, for sharing and version controlled co-development of maps – also includes chat and versioning (not investigated yet).

The thing that I might miss from MindManager is the ability to easily hide nodes (and their subnodes). Each parent node in MindManager has a plus sign next to it. Clicking on the plus hides or unhides the node. This is useful when dealing with a complex map, but also when using a map in a presentation. My technique is to start with the high level nodes, and then reveal the detail in turn. It may be that this feature actually encourages me to put too much detail on a single map. Using the inter map linking feature in CMap, I will be able to move the detail out into seperate maps. Perhaps this will also help me in structuring my ideas more effectively.

Interestingly, the first maps that I looked at from CMap's own server were on exactly the topics that I am researching: autopoiesis and complexity.

You can download CMap for free.

April 29, 2005

Conference proposal: From Monadic Architecture to Nomadic Anarchitecture

Follow-up to A limited aesthetics: the treatment of space in the Critique of Judgement from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

I now have a title for my proposed paper for the forthcoming Leibniz and Deleuze conference at Warwick.

And there are at least a few ideas behind that facade to give it substance. Firstly, a consideration of methodology with an examination of 'problem', 'plane', 'concept' and 'component' from What Is Philosophy? and Bergsonism. And then the questions: what brokenness exactly does Leibniz address? And what brokenness does the substitution (?) of nomadology for monadology fix?

I haven't quite got answer to these questions yet, but I do think that there is some interesting work to be done in examining the spatial and architectural aspects of The Fold. And of course Kant will be there, as the poor relation with his impoverished aesthetics.

I will also see what interesting oddities can be excavated from the more obscure works by Leibniz, such as those translated on this useful site

April 21, 2005

A limited aesthetics: the treatment of space in the Critique of Judgement

I have just decided to try going down a different route: returning to the Critique of Judgement.

Kant allows for an unusually poor range of aesthetic experiences, even by eighteenth century standards. If it isn't containable within a frame, its doesn't count. And by implication, creative activity is limited.

My conjecture is that this is limited by his simplistic understanding of the nature of phenomenal space – an intentional, directed space. In Deleuze and Guattari's terms, striated space. Hence the difficulties that he gets into over purposiveness and autonomy.

A more sophisticated understanding of space would, as in the Logic of Sensation, open up the possibility of a much greater range of aesthetic experiences. And furthermore, it would allow for the recognition of the role of aesthetic experience in all kinds of non-artistic activities, from the everyday to the scientific – in all kinds of spatial operation, all forms of technologies of space. In fact, that all technologies are spatial and hence aesthetic (my real conjecture).

So the task will be to show how notions of smooth space, intensive space and haptic space, the model of the 'creative synthesis of the imagination' that I have built from reading Logic of Sensation and A Thousand Plateaus, can be applied to the Critique of Judgement to disperse some of its problems – for example, the opposition of the beautiful and the sublime. And then how this may be applied to the Critique of Pure Reason.

So, now I go back to reading that again. Is there no escape? This time, maybe.

March 20, 2005

Making the creative synthesis diagram more useful

So the next step is to do a high level pass throgh the concapt map as applied to various instances of creative activity.

However, the concept map has now become too complex and sprawling. Throughout their writings, Deleuze and Guattari explicate and test this model in relation to many different artists, activities, situations and contexts. Each time they add subtley different developments to the model, considering the many different ways in which the synthesis may or may not occur. My next task is to bring the diagram back into some useful form. I will do this by seperating it out into a series of connected diagrams, each showing a particular synthesis – for example, a diagram for the refrain, a diagram for painting, a diagram for portraiture and sound (Kafka), a diagram for travel writing. Will this mean that I have a diagram for the 'imagination' as visual sensation, seperate from a consideration of sound as active memory?

Other tasks include clarifying the different types of relationship between distinct planes in the passage through chaosmosis. Which necessitates a more thorough consideration of what constitutes the 'distinctness' of a plane – different in kind or just degree? As well as a consideration of the 'cosmic forces', which aren't at all mystical, but more akin to a constant entropic and non-recuperable direction against which distinct planes position themselves in a community of deterritorialization (Bataille).

Latest version of plan overview

Writing about web page

Earlier in the week I updated the short overview of my plan on my ePortfolio web pages:

I am currently investigating the creative synthesis of the imagination in the works of Deleuze and Guattari, developing this into a concept map. This will consider the dominance of vision and its relationship to sonorous experience. I am following the MA module Philosophies of Difference II, taught by Darren Ambrose. This is concerned with the aesthetics of Deleuze and Guattari, concentrating upon their book What Is Philosophy? and Deleuze's book on the painter Francis Bacon, The Logic Of Sensation.
My plan is to develop a detailed account of the workings of creativity, derived from Deleuze and Guattari, whilst using this to write a series of schizoanalytic case studies of creative events. These case studies will range across artistic, scientific, philosophic, political, social, animal, environmental and other planes, with the aim of testing Deleuze and Guattari's model in many different circumstances, and discovering differences and similarities between creativity in the distinct planes. This may also identify the extent to which transversality between the planes is a necessary condition for creativity within a plane. The ultimate aim is to settle the question: can there be a technology of creativity? and by implication, can creativity be taught? how? what can our new technology contribute? – having immediate relevance to software design, educational practice and cultural policy.

February 15, 2005

The double agenda of this thesis: a method and an application

The agenda for this thesis is double:

  • on the one hand the task of defining, applying, testing the concept of creativity, seeing what work it can do, what it has done in the past, what it could do in the future, discovering its effects, which pathways it opens up and which it closes down, if it in fact can take us anywhere at all;
  • and at the same time, an elaboration of and testing of the method that is implicit in the investigation, the method or pedagogy of the concept as described by Deleuze and Guattari, and identified as schizoanalysis – that is, schizoanalysis the therapeautic or micro-revolutionary technique taken as a philosophical methodology, bridging between Capitalism and Schizophrenia and What Is Philosophy?