Tools for Comprehensivity

The Measurements of Life (Tools for Comprehensivity)

This resource examines measurement as an important tool for our comprehensivity, our toolkit of ways to better understand the world and each other. It explores and contextualizes measurement inspired by the broad schema called the measurements of life discussed in Chapter 6 of “The Design Way” by Harold G. Nelson and Eric Stolterman.

To provide an exemplar of comprehensive exploration, this resource recapitulates and expands on the idea of comprehensive thinking beginning with experience. The importance of experience was introduced as a source for comprehensive inquiry and action in the resource on The Comprehensive Thinking of R. Buckminster Fuller. Several other resources on experience and our comprehensivity were summarized and expanded upon in the resource on The Ethics of Learning from Experience.

This is the second resource in a series on Tools for Comprehensivity. The first one explored Ambiguity, Contradiction, and Paradox.

The Interpretation of Experience, Information, and Data

R. Buckminster Fuller’s approach to comprehensive thinking starts with Universe: “The universe is the aggregate of all of humanity’s consciously-apprehended and communicated experience”. This all-encompassing inclusion of all the experience of all Humanity is the starting point for any comprehensive inquiry or action. In this way experience is fundamental in all our comprehensive thinking and learning.

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Tools for Comprehensivity: Ambiguity, Contradiction, and Paradox

Comprehensive learning aspires to integrate more and more of Humanity’s traditions of learning to better comprehend the world and how it works. As we learn more and more from these diverse ways of knowing, it becomes increasingly likely that the perspectives, hypotheses, and frames of reference we encounter will seem incompatible or even inconsistent with others. This resource suggests how to better accommodate these ambiguities as tools for our comprehensive practice.

This way of accommodating ambiguity in our learning is a central theme in the profound 2007 book “How Mathematicians Think: Using Ambiguity, Contradiction, and Paradox to Create Mathematics” by William Byers. The book examines ambiguity while it surveys the folklore of mathematics culture and the philosophy of mathematics. It is easy to read and serves as a good introduction to mathematics for readers with weak math skills. It might be especially valuable for those wanting to expand the compass of their comprehensive learning with mathematics.

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Posted by CJ Fearnley in Resource Center, 1 comment