Artificer Learning#2

This series of posts was written by myself and a friend for a Futures journal. It may be seen as a bit ‘out there’ and academic, but I do think it deals with issues that are important for education. Especially for education that deals with skills.

Moving to action

Moving to embrace action as a vital part of praxis this article argues that we need to embrace the design process that shapes action viz. Idea | Design | Implementation (action). We have found that, to be effective, 3/4ers of the energy is absorbed in Design and Implementation rather than conceptualising the idea.

In conventional academic processes, cognition absorbs some 3/4ers of the energy – the reverse of Artificer Learning. The conventional counterpoint to the academic – the practitioner – usually has their actions limited in scope by their auspicing body (e.g. employer, sponsor, commissioning body) so that bigger conceptual issues are seldom engaged. This fundamental flaw in education (actionless conception and conceptless action) has not been adequately identified or explored previously.

Types of actions

There is a need for various types of action:

. Communicative action**, may be seen as a fundamental requirement for Phronetic actions – which answer the collective question ‘how then should we live?’
. Instrumental action has two subsets – strategic action (direction of intent of the action) and operational or tactical action (implementation of the action)
. Artifice action is directed to prototype development (including the above actions and integrates self building (integrity), block building (actual project), community building (ethics), and mind building (learning by making) all braided together).

On the separation of thinking and doing

Boyte (1995) after Arendt, explains that it was Plato who introduced ‘the division between those who know and do not act and those who act and do not know’, and that by ‘sheer force of conceptualization and philosophical clarification, the Platonic identification of knowledge with command and rulership and of action [or practice] with obedience and execution overruled all earlier experiences and . . . became authoritative.’ This view was possibly maintained and extended by esoteric beliefs such as the Judeo-Christian one of original sin – where the manifest world, and potentially our actions therein, is seen as tainted.

We continue to action Plato’s separation of thinking and doing and forget Aristotle’s Phronesis – virtuous action – in which the two are inseparable.

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