Pedagogy and Phrenology

Re: Gene V GlassWhy I Am No Longer a Measurement Specialist

When I was learning research statistics, the standard cautionary tale on construct validity featured the foibles of Phrenology, the onetime pseudoscience that sought to psych out a person’s aptitude and character by measuring the bumps on his or her head to the last decimal place.

It appears that Phrenology never dies, it just fads away in ever new fashions.

Posted in Assessment, Construct Validity, Education, Measurement, Pedagogy, Phrenology, Statistics, Testing | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quiz Biz

When I taught undergrad math, I told my students that tests were simply a means of communication between student and teacher designed to guide the instruction process, that it was a matter of some inconvenience that third parties had taken it on themselves to intrude on that two-way dialogue — but that was just the way the world was and we had to deal with it as best we could without losing sight of the main purpose of what we were about.

As things have turned out in today’s inverted world, corporations and corporate owned politicians have totally perverted the natural student-teacher relationship beyond all hope of recognition.

And it has to stop.

Or the nation will really be at risk …

Posted in Assessment, Communication, Dialogue, Education, Inquiry, Learning, Pedagogy, Teaching, Testing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Zeroth Law Of Semiotics • Comment 7

Re: Peirce List Discussion

I still have in mind trying to show how the principle I dubbed the Zeroth Law Of Semiotics can help us see what is really going on with a number of old puzzles like the Liar Paradox, but the discussion that ensued ranged far more widely than I had anticipated, so give me a while to collect my thoughts and I’ll return to the subject another day.

For anyone else who may have gotten lost along the way, here are the blog posts that I used to chart the discussion in my own mind, patched together from my half of the conversation:

Posted in Denotation, Epimenides, Extension, Liar Paradox, Logic, Nominalism, Peirce, Peirce List, Pragmatics, Pragmatism, Rhetoric, Semantics, Semiositis, Semiotics, Sign Relations, Syntax, Zeroth Law Of Semiotics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Zeroth Law Of Semiotics • Comment 6

Re: Peirce List Discussion

By way of orientation to the task at hand, we are investigating a type of slippage that occurs in the gap between natural language, with the natural assumptions it has evolved to take for granted, rightly or wrongly, and the discipline of logic as normative semiotics.

Just to be clear about my own take on the task, I am not trying to set forth any universal conclusions about self-reference — prior to beginning a thorough analysis I would probably guess that some forms of real or apparent self-reference do make sense while others are more problematic.

One of the things we have our pragmatism for is to clear up conceptual confusions — here I am taking a single example of one such confusion, the so-called liar paradox, to illustrate how setting a communicational problem within the frame of a triadic sign relation and applying the tools of pragmatic analysis (for starters, the pragmatic maxim) can serve to clarify the problematic situation, even to the point of a full resolution.

Posted in Denotation, Epimenides, Extension, Liar Paradox, Logic, Nominalism, Peirce, Peirce List, Pragmatics, Pragmatism, Rhetoric, Semantics, Semiositis, Semiotics, Sign Relations, Syntax, Zeroth Law Of Semiotics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Zeroth Law Of Semiotics • Comment 5

Re: Peirce List Discussion

It may be a day or two before I can get back to the zeroth law of semiotics and how grasping it cures a strain of ills that language and some fashions of logic are heir to, but on the subject of nominalism I found a summary of a previous discussion that may say some things better than I have this time around.

Posted in Denotation, Epimenides, Extension, Liar Paradox, Logic, Nominalism, Peirce, Peirce List, Pragmatics, Pragmatism, Rhetoric, Semantics, Semiositis, Semiotics, Sign Relations, Syntax, Zeroth Law Of Semiotics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Zeroth Law Of Semiotics • Comment 4

Re: Peirce List DiscussionSungchul Ji

General terms are terms like man, woman, child, etc., each of which applies to many individuals, in other words, has a general denotation or a plural extension.  Generally speaking, a general term is treated as bearing an accessory reference, indirect denotation, or other form of association to a general property like man-ness, woman-ness, child-ness, etc. and to a set of individuals like men, women, children, etc.  But a strict nominalist would hold that we have no need of these properties or sets, that all we need are the individual terms that denote individuals individually together with the general terms that denote individuals in a general way.

Posted in Denotation, Epimenides, Extension, Liar Paradox, Logic, Nominalism, Peirce, Peirce List, Pragmatics, Pragmatism, Rhetoric, Semantics, Semiositis, Semiotics, Sign Relations, Syntax, Zeroth Law Of Semiotics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Zeroth Law Of Semiotics • Comment 3

Re: Peirce List DiscussionTom Wyrick

Nominalism takes its name from the idea that “generals are only names” and it goes by the maxims “Do not take a general name for the name of a general” and “Do not multiply entities beyond necessity”.  In other words, we should not confuse a general term, one that applies to many individuals, with a term that denotes a general entity, property, or universal, as those are dispensable in favor of individual entities.

It would be a mistake to think that pragmatism is diametrically opposed to all that.  As far as the advice against confusing signs with objects, the caution against confusing different types and uses of signs with one another, and even the general recommendation to economize our budgets of entities to some degree, if not to the extreme of absolute austerity, pragmatism can go a long ways with that.  The fork in the road comes with the degree to which general entities can be eliminated, wholly or not so wholly.

Posted in Denotation, Epimenides, Extension, Liar Paradox, Logic, Nominalism, Peirce, Peirce List, Pragmatics, Pragmatism, Rhetoric, Semantics, Semiositis, Semiotics, Sign Relations, Syntax, Zeroth Law Of Semiotics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment