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Thread: Enquiry Demands the Ability to Formulate Questions

  1. #1 Enquiry Demands the Ability to Formulate Questions 
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    Enquiry Demands the Ability to Formulate Questions

    “I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write.” Augustine of Hippo. I am coberst and I approve of this message.

    “Joseph Schwab said in 1962 that science is most commonly taught as a “rhetoric of conclusions." He developed sophisticated arguments for teaching science as enquiry."

    An independent mind is one that is grounded in ‘enquiry’. Enquiry demands the ability to develop significant questions and the ability to utilize good judgment while separating the wheat from the chaff.

    John Dewey, a great philosopher, psychologist, and pedagogy discussed the discrepancy between the skills valued in adults and the skills taught to children in schools. Dewey lamented the fact that independent thinking skills were demanded of adults but our children were being taught the converse in our schools.

    My grade school, high school and college education convinces me that Dewey is accurate. I am a retired engineer and my contact with the sciences of physics, mathematics, chemistry, and engineering were completely an experience that was algorithmic (a step-by-step procedure for solving problems) in nature. Later I took courses in the humanities and these were more of a historic enquiry into who thought what and why they thought it at the time that they did so.

    In my opinion the natural sciences do not prepare an individual to become an independent mind whereas the humanities do a better job of that.

    Does your schooling lead you to agree with me and Dewey?

    Quotes from http://www.findarticles.com/p/articl...01/ai_n8934732.


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  3. #2  
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    Where did Dewey agree with your contention that humanities do a better job than natural sciences of preparing an individual for independent thinking?


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    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
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    In my opinion the natural sciences do not prepare an individual to become an independent mind
    As a practicing engineer, who works among graduates of engineering schools from all around the world, I have to say you are out of touch.

    You write about engineers and scientists as if they are one-dimensional beings. They obviously are not. The ones I know are of all political stripes, have all kinds of outside interests including community work, art, philosophy, environmentalism, music, literally any category of activity you could think of. I even know some who are independent enough to admit to being atheists, while others are Catholics, Buddhists and Muslims.

    Enquiry demands the ability to develop significant questions and the ability to utilize good judgment while separating the wheat from the chaff.
    You could substitute "Engineering", Science" or "Poetry" for "Enquiry".

    The poet and the scientist are both, in essence,
    striving to really see the world, not only in its
    culturally and verbally imposed aspects, but in
    its immediacy and its inexhaustible wonderment.
    The poet is mainly concerned with the impact of
    the world on the spirit, and he spends his time
    trying to lure subtle feelings out into the open
    and express them clearly, in a way that will bring
    them forth again. The scientist, much the same,
    is trying to ferret out and clearly express relations
    between the superfi cially disconnected aspects of
    the world. Like the poet, he is only satisfi ed with
    a coherent, esthetically simple description of our
    experience. Both are attempting new and unheard
    of exploits in perception, both are exploring that
    terra incognita of mind where anything may be
    discovered by the man who can open his eyes wide
    enough to see it.
    The Scientist as Poet
    Arthur Winfree, EP '65
    The Cornell Engineer, November 1964
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370
    Where did Dewey agree with your contention that humanities do a better job than natural sciences of preparing an individual for independent thinking?
    Good question! A good question is the best place to start on the journey of a life time, which I call self-actualizing self-learning.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    In my opinion the natural sciences do not prepare an individual to become an independent mind
    As a practicing engineer, who works among graduates of engineering schools from all around the world, I have to say you are out of touch.
    I hope that you are correct and that I am incorrect. However, I see little evidence to support your conclusion..
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  7. #6 Re: Enquiry Demands the Ability to Formulate Questions 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coberst
    In my opinion the natural sciences do not prepare an individual to become an independent mind whereas the humanities do a better job of that.

    Does your schooling lead you to agree with me and Dewey?
    I find it rather bizarre how many people define "an independent mind" as agreeing with them and their ideology! LOL Now think about it honestly for a minute. Would an answer of yes to your question be any kind of evidence of an independent mind? LOL

    Now I am someone with an education to the masters level in both the sciences and the humanities, and as a matter of fact my answer to your question is, NO. Not only does my schooling not lead me to agree with you and Dewey but I very much disagree with the pair of you.

    An independent mind is not something that is acquired by being told what and how to think by some professor. Nor is it acquired by doing assignments in these classes. It is acquired in hours spent alone, asking your own question of yourself. It is only when you make a question a thing of your own personal interest that you will approach reading either in the science or in the humanities as an opportunity for piecing together the answers to these questions that are close to your heart.

    Education does not create independent minds, but it does give the independent mind some of the building blocks that will be helpful in finding better, more insightful and more intellegent answers.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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  8. #7 Re: Enquiry Demands the Ability to Formulate Questions 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    An independent mind is not something that is acquired by being told what and how to think by some professor. Nor is it acquired by doing assignments in these classes. It is acquired in hours spent alone, asking your own question of yourself. It is only when you make a question a thing of your own personal interest that you will approach reading either in the science or in the humanities as an opportunity for piecing together the answers to these questions that are close to your heart.

    Education does not create independent minds, but it does give the independent mind some of the building blocks that will be helpful in finding better, more insightful and more intellegent answers.
    Well said.
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  9. #8 Re: Enquiry Demands the Ability to Formulate Questions 
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    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Education does not create independent minds, but it does give the independent mind some of the building blocks that will be helpful in finding better, more insightful and more intellegent answers.
    Such independence of thinking as I have was acquired through the Scottish educational system.
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  10. #9 Re: Enquiry Demands the Ability to Formulate Questions 
    Forum Radioactive Isotope mitchellmckain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by mitchellmckain
    Education does not create independent minds, but it does give the independent mind some of the building blocks that will be helpful in finding better, more insightful and more intellegent answers.
    Such independence of thinking as I have was acquired through the Scottish educational system.
    Ah well yes, I must grant you that there must be some truth to this then. What one encounters at university is not only answers which you did not know but also questions you have not thought to ask. And in that case, I must also grant that you are more likely to encounter questions that challenge your presumptions in the humanities than in the sciences. Furthermore I think I have overlooked my pre-collegiate education, probably due to the way in which the question was posed contrasting the sciences with the humanities. In my pre-college education, I must admit that I had several educational experiences that did a great deal to introduce such un-thought of questions. One such experience was a single year in a catholic school in sixth grade (while living with my grandmother that year). The other experience was my introduction to existentialism in high school english class.
    See my physics of spaceflight simulator at http://www.relspace.astahost.com

    I now have a blog too: http://astahost.blogspot.com/
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