Category Archives: 29

29 Abstractions & Arborescence

Abstract thinking is well-respected because it seems to be more difficult to isolate ideas, but it also means ‘drawn away’ from reality, context, and relationships, and wrapping and nesting them into hierarchical trees will just increase the problems.


In a very inspiring paper, R. Williams, S. Gumtau and J. Mackness offer much insights about a wide spectrum of the cognitive development. It appears very clear and suggests how all the pieces fit together: From embodied cognition, synesthetic abilities, metaphors, to generalizations and abstractions.
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Posted in 29, Cognitive Styles | 1 Comment

Off the Pedestal

In a great summary of much of his work, “My Viva”, Stephen Downes addresses some august ideas about knowledge construction — and topples them off their pedestal. Abstract ideas such as: representations that “stand for” concepts, and propositions “encoding” knowledge, were unchallenged presuppositions. But “recognizing” is the crucial thing.
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D & G and Connectivism

Trying to dive into Deleuze & Guattari, some interesting stuff caught my eyes which aligns well with my understanding of both Connectivism and McGilchrist’s book about the Making of the Western World.
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Posted in 29, rhizo14 | Tagged | 8 Comments

Wrapping and grasping

Jenny is  asking why we often try to capture and … package something.  If I understood McGilchrist correctly, this is a feature of one of the two fundamental “modes of operation” of our brain, and much of our daily life … Continue reading

Posted in 29, Uncategorized | 2 Comments


Today’s OLDaily points to a paean of abstraction. I wonder if it is really useful to glorify the abstract in this radical, literal, narrow (well: abstract) sense, or if we are conflating it with other forms of generalizations or indirections, such as patterns or metaphors.
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Labels vs. Concepts

When I wanted to curate a coherent assembly of my old blog posts, I was soon reminded again of Stephen Downes’ explanation: “the problem is that you’re tied to the sign, word and symbol.” I ended up with unnamed clusters of tags, because the interesting concepts lie between these tags, in the connections.
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Posted in 29, Visualization | Leave a comment