Thursday, January 19, 2012

Heuristics

I am taking a dissertation proposal writing seminar with renowned scholar, Zeke Hasenfeld.

The first time I took a class with Zeke, I was embarrassed because I did not know what the title of the class meant when I enrolled (Epistemology), but thanks to Zeke, I do now.  I like to use the word all the time now, less to show off my new found knowledge (although that is part of it - it is hard-won, people!) and more because it is such an important word!  How do we know what we know?  What is the nature of reality (ontology)?

Now, we are exploring heuristics, or "tools for invention and social science discovery" - basic tricks for producing ideas.  Zeke teaches me fancy words and the depth of meaning behind them.

What's exciting about heuristics is that these tools are not just useful to social scientists eager to have something to say.  They are tools for inspiring creativity in any field.  In both the arts and sciences, practitioners are motivated by having something to say.

"Imagination proposes and rigor evaluates.  There is a continual exchange between intuition and method."

What is the difference between "imagination and foolishness"?  "Rigor and secure explanation."  The left and right brain working together in concert. Thoughts and feelings cross-checking each other until wholeness and integration are reached.  Elegant. Simple.

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