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An experiment in dialectical interaction of dialoguing, questioning, enquiring and co-enquiring. A participative experimental session in dialogue, co-enquiring,

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Presentation on theme: "An experiment in dialectical interaction of dialoguing, questioning, enquiring and co-enquiring. A participative experimental session in dialogue, co-enquiring,"— Presentation transcript:

1 An experiment in dialectical interaction of dialoguing, questioning, enquiring and co-enquiring. A participative experimental session in dialogue, co-enquiring, and critical reflection a 33 Earth Stewardship Science ResearchInstitute Earth Stewardship Science Research Institute 1

2 Aims of Session. To look at and formulate the meanings and implications of a transformative dialogue and dialectical engagement among individuals of different expertise and backgrounds. 1. To look at and formulate the meanings and implications of a transformative dialogue and dialectical engagement among individuals of different expertise and backgrounds. 2. To distinguish between dialogue and other forms of social interaction and conversations 3. to provide and enrich the skills of critical reflection and dialogical and dialectical interaction among different participants who come from different backgrounds and disciplines and embody different expertise and knowledge base. 3. to provide and enrich the skills of critical reflection and dialogical and dialectical interaction among different participants who come from different backgrounds and disciplines and embody different expertise and knowledge base. 4. To work out the meanings of reflection and distinguish between reflection and thinking 5. To do this in practice and praxis of action and theory where theory and practice/action are interrelated, governed by each other and complement and lead each other so that the practice/action is structured by theory and the theory avoids being abstracted rhetoric and is governed by action, acting and practicing it. 6. To do it in action-reflection, and critically co-reflecting and dialoguing on what is being and was done and achieved, how to improve what is being done and fulfil the intention of constructing a greater transformative dialogue and critical reflection 2

3 Dialectics Dialectics is a method for qualitatively transforming an argument and the understanding of a given phenomenon under discussion in the quest for truth, knowledge, and wisdom in the quest for truth, knowledge, and wisdom The qualitative transformation takes place through through heuristic enquiry and creative dialogue (which includes self- dialogue or reflection) and the creative use of contradictions and questions and answers to resolve problems, strengthen the enquiry and argument strengthen the enquiry and argument and qualitatively transform the phenomenon under enquiry 3

4 Dialectics The dialectical logic is more suitable than the traditional propositional logic for the task of explaining or theorising explaining or theorising how change and reverse how to change and reverse the damage to the planet and its inhabitant and qualitatively transform and improve the sustainability and prosperity of the planet and the quality of life and living of its inhabitants 4

5 The Traditional Propositional Logic The propositional logic and way of constructing theories is the logic that has completely dominated the academy for three thousand years. The propositional logic and way of constructing theories is the logic that has completely dominated the academy for three thousand years. It is the logic of Either Or If …then the logic of Either Or andIf …then The idea is that a tested event can merely have one linguistic proposition that best explains and rationalises it And that the point of research is to look for it, find and explain and rationalise why that proposition is most suitable and valid for the explanation of the tested phenomenon If the research fails to do this and the chosen proposition cannot be shown as superior to the alternative propositions which are inferior - then the research is invalid and fails, alongside its conclusions, findings, aims, intentions and methodologies 5

6 The Propositional logic It is therefore made of constructing, reinforcing and validating the most valid linguistic proposition, or assertion, for the explanation of a phenomenon thereby dismissing and discarding whatever does not follow this proposition It works by explaining how and why the chosen proposition to explain a phenomenon is superior to the alternative propositions which should therefore be discarded and eliminated is superior to the alternative propositions which should therefore be discarded and eliminated 6

7 An example One cannot have contradictions in a single proposition Hence - explaining and theorising who is Alon The linguistic assertion A: Alon is an idiot Cannot include in it the proposition B: Alon is smart Cannot include in it the proposition – Linguistic Assertion B: Alon is smart A becomes invalid when evidence is displayed that Alon is smart and remains valid when more and more evidence is brought and displayed that Alon is an idiot. 7

8 An example Similarly The proposition The proposition (B) Alon is smart contain the proposition A) that Alon is an idiot Cannot contain the proposition (A) that Alon is an idiot It becomes invalid when evidence is being displayed that Alon is an idiot and remains valid when more and more evidence is brought and displayed that Alon is smart. 8

9 The Propositional logic Hence The traditional propositional logic alternative ideas The traditional propositional logic is the logic of debating and out-weighting alternative ideas that do not follow one’s own ideas, views and theories Debate – “strife…beat down, bring down, lower,. reduce, lessen, diminish…take away” It means completely dismissing ideas, rigorous, quality researches, insights and explanations just because they do not follow your own views 9

10 The dialectics Dialectics is the logic of synthesis and qualitative transformation is the logic of synthesis and qualitative transformation– Creating something new and improved from fusing different things and from doing the enquiry and research themselves It is the logic of “And” creation of and transformation of the existing into an improved new thing A + B = C For example Alon studies why he is stupid, reaches an understanding why he is stupid and fuses and uses this knowledge in researching ways of becoming smart/er A + B = C C = Smarter Alonexplains (theorises, accounts for) how he became smarter and includes and fuses his input on why and how he was stupid and what he did about it to change, qualitatyively transform and become smarter (C) Alon explains (theorises, accounts for) how he became smarter and includes and fuses his input on why and how he was stupid and what he did about it to change, qualitatyively transform and become smarter (C) Assuming being and becoming smart/er is the desired outcome for Alon and being stupid is the undesired and the contradiction (anti-thesis) of the desired 10

11 The Dialectics Hence, working at eliminating the contradictory propositions instead of working at eliminating the contradictory propositions in order to validate the tested proposition, as is the case in traditional propositional logic, dialectical logic uses and fuses contradictions and everything in one’s disposal to strengthen and improve the existing and forge a new construction that transforms both the contradictions and itself dialectical logic uses and fuses contradictions and everything in one’s disposal to strengthen and improve the existing and forge a new construction that transforms both the contradictions and itself. 11

12 The Dialectics During dialectical thinking, there is an enquiry and dialogue during which one propositional idea, assertion and response pushes forward and transforms the one preceding in the search for truth and a solution to a presented problem and enquiry Different relevant propositional enquiries and responses Different relevant propositional enquiries and responses transform each other. They are not eliminated, or turned against each other, debated and out- weighted. But, rather, Are attended to enquired into, used, sought to be understood and analysed concretely and profoundly, fused and included Are attended to, enquired into, used, sought to be understood and analysed concretely and profoundly, fused and included in the analysis and accumulated knowledge and understanding and the construction and validation of the dialectical theory in the analysis and accumulated knowledge and understanding and the construction and validation of the dialectical theory. 12

13 Earth Stewardship Science Explanation At the Africa Earth Observatory Network - Earth Stewardship Science Research Institute (AEON-ESSRI) we are working at improving the prosperity of the planet and quality of life of its inhabitants Doing it dialectically means that within the dialectical logic and epistemological grounding all the disciplines, positions, arguments and theories available work and co- enquire together in dialogue and co-creation of something new and improved – within the dialectical logic and epistemological grounding all the disciplines, positions, arguments and theories available work and co- enquire together - in dialogue and co-creation of something new and improved – into how to improve and qualitatively transform the prosperity and sustainability of the planet and the wellbeing and quality of life of humanity and human beings 13

14 Earth Stewardship Science Explanation We test our co-constructed ideas and implement them in practice We push forward, complement, add to and qualitativelytransform each other and each other’s ideas positions, arguments and thinking We push forward, complement, add to and qualitativelytransform each other and each other’s ideas positions, arguments and thinking. Rather than Debate or/and work at discarding each other’s ideas, thinking, arguments and positions to validate and show off our own ideas and ourselves 14

15 Reflection and Dialogue People carry out enquiries and offer possible explanations on their own, reflectively, and with other people within a dialogue that aims to complement, enrich and qualitatively transforms their limited reflections on their own. The reflection is important to establish an autonomous, critical, analytical and challenging ‘I’ (an individual) who can analyse ideas and reconstruct and reshape them and to examine and reevaluate the action that he or she is doing Yet, sharing and using the input and critical thinking/ reflection of other people improves the quality of the reflection and knowledge and understanding summoned up and achieved in isolation It provides, uses and fuses the insights of other people If done well the co-reflection becomes Dialogue that complements, enriches and pushes forward (qualitatively transforms) the reflections, ideas, positions and explanations of the individual ‘I’s is an important essence and part of the dialectical process. 15

16 Dialogue Heath et al., (2006), p. 368 dialogue is “a skill, that needs to be learned” and “is (or should be) part of a culture—our culture” and “is an element of social existence, and an important one…[since] without dialogue, civilization is not possible...[even though] The call for dialogue became a core part of our sociality in the latter part of the 20 th century, and it clearly continues as a social hope as we confront the problems of a new era. (page 367) Dialogue in a multicultural society must begin by deconstructing the structural and ideological constraints that shape both reality and dialogue itself” and thus “effective dialogue requires a critique of reality and a critique of social practices within that reality (Kersten, 2000)”. (pp l) Heath, R. I., Pearce, B. W., Shotter, J., Taylor, J. R., Kersten, A., Zorn, T., Roper, J., Motion, J., and Deetz, S. (February 2006). The Processes of Dialogue: Participation and Legitimation. Management Communication Quarterly, Kersten, A. (2000). Diversity Management: Dialogue, Dialectics and Diversion. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 13 (3),

17 Dialogue Heath et al., (2006 p.346) acknowledged the influence of Buber (1965) and perceived “ dialogue, as viewed by Buber” to depend on whether the participants have in mind the other or others in their present and particular being and turn to them with the intention of establishing a living mutual relation between themselves and the others dialogue, as viewed by Buber” to depend on whether the participants have in mind the other or others in their present and particular being and turn to them with the intention of establishing a living mutual relation between themselves and the others. Buber, M. (1965). Between Man and Man (R. G. Smith, Trans.). Macmillan. New York. Heath et al., (2006 p.346) acknowledged the influence of Buber (1965) and 17

18 Dialogue dialogue is both a quality of relationship that arises, however briefly, between two or more people and a way of thinking about human affairs that highlights their dialogic qualities. Cissna and Anderson (1998 p.64.), Cissna, K. N., and Anderson, R. (1998). Theorizing About Dialogic Moments: TheBuber-Rogers Position and Postmodern Themes. Communication Theory, 1, The Buberian existential approach to dialogue and the Rogerian humanistic approach to therapy and the relationship between client and therapist, that draws on Buber, is crucial here as it talks about an unconditional acceptance and really trying to understand and reach the other person engagement and care for the social other 18

19 Dialogue Heath et al., effective dialogue assumes three things: (a)that participants have the capacity to understand and acknowledge their own worldview and express it competently, that participants are able to understand the worldview of the Other (a) that participants are able to understand the worldview of the Other,and that through discourse, participants develop common language and common ground (c) that through discourse, participants develop common language and common ground. (p. 361) 19

20 Dialogue Heath et al., One of the challenges for dialogue…is the tension between being open to alternative outcomes on one hand and being goal oriented on the other hand p. 367) openness to alternative outcomes is an important dimension of dialogue (p. 367) Gadamer To conduct a conversation requires…that one does not try to out-argue the other person, but that one really considers the weight of the other's opinion. Gadamer (1975/ p. 330) Gadamer, H. D. (1975). Truth and Method. Sheed and Ward. London. 20

21 Dialogue Paulo Freire Freire (1973), in the essay Extension or Communication, has pointed out that for True humanism, to engage in dialogue is not to engage without commitment and that dialogue is not to invade, not to manipulate, not to “make slogans”…it is to devote oneself to the constant transformation of reality. Freire, P. (1973). Education for Critical Consciousness. London: Sheed and Ward. Freire (1996, p. 71) also stressed that dialogue is rooted in men’s incompletion…from which they move out in constant search – a search which can be carried out only in communion with others a search which can be carried out only in communion with others. Freire, P. (1996). Pedagogy of the Oppressed. London: Penguin Books. 21

22 Freire Dialogue is Critical, loving, humble and communicable stance for a position” which is renowned for “respecting another person’s position”. the man who has made a radical choice does not deny another man’s right to choose, nor does he try to impose his own choice” (Sic) and in turn “can discuss their respective positions” and whilst “he is convinced he is right”, he nevertheless still “respects another man’s prerogative to judge himself correct” and “tries to convince and convert, not to crush his opponents”. Also, Freire (1996 p.109.) warned us that to impede communication is to reduce men to the status of “things” – and this is a job for oppressors, not for revolutionaries. 22

23 Freire Furthermore, echoing his ideas throughout his life, Freire (1996 pp.73/4) stated that without dialogue there is no communication, and without communication there can be no true education” “without dialogue there is no communication, and without communication there can be no true education” and that “only dialogue, which requires critical thinking, is also capable of generating critical thinking”, He stated (1996 p.148) that whereas “in the theory of antidialogical action, conquest (as its primarily characteristic) involves a Subject who conquers another person and transforms her or him into a “thing”,…”in the dialogical theory of action, Subjects meet in cooperation in order to transform the world”. He stressed that “no one can…unveil the world for another” and although one subject may initiate the unveiling on behalf of another, the others must also become Subjects of this act. (p. 149) 23

24 Action Our aim in this session is to work at qualitatively transforming and co-constructing ideas as for improving the prosperity of the planet and the wellbeing and quality of life of human beings, human existence and humanity. To support enrich and empower each other into bringing our best into the group and session And to avoid putting each other down and cancel each others’ ideas, thinking and positions just because we do not agree with them. Also avoid using our credentials, age, background, NRF ratings, Euro-centrism, gender, ethnicity to try to force ourselves and our theories and ideas on the group, the views of the members, and each others 24

25 Action We want to synthesise our individuals’ (our ‘I’s) positions, knowledge, strengths and weaknesses into the creation of a Gestalt of the whole greater than the sums of its parts and create something new and improved that was not there before And see what happen Perhaps we can start regular face-to-face meetings in Port Elizabeth and electronic meetings online for those living far away. 25

26 Action Let us discuss together ways of reversing the crises in the planet and ecology and qualitatively transforming the within a trans-disciplinary And see what happens and if we manage to have a proper transforming dialogue rather than debate or just conversation and interaction. Let us see if we can really relate to and engage with each within a dialectical dialogue and transform each other to co-create knowledge and qualitative ontological transformation in ourselves, our ideas and our co-constructed explanations as for how to improve the prosperity of the planet and quality of life and wellbeing of its inhabitants It is not as easy as it seems. It is very difficult and challenging It is not as easy as it seems. It is very difficult and challenging. 26

27 Questions What do you think of that? How do you relate to that? What are your intentions, views, aims and objectives for the issue of improving the prosperity of the planet? Let’s see how we interact with each other? Are we intimidating people? Is the space open and free to really co-enquire, test, reflect and transform the ideas of others and our own ideas? 27

28 Questions Have we managed to shed our egos, superiority or inferiority conflicts, complexities and insecurities and really heed each other’s saying and being here with us in the world, understand what the other person says, really hear and engage with him, and just be focused on ourselves, our positions, views, sayings? 28

29 Questions Do we let the other people be and become and enrich them and let ourselves be enriched by them? Are we interested in the others? Do we get the others? Do we work to get them? How do we see a good transformative dialogue? 29

30 Questions Let us co-construct theories of dialogue and dialogic engagement What makes dialogue different than conversation or co-reflection together? What is dialogue? How to approach it and do it? How to dialogue? How to test and evaluate it? 30

31 Action Let us dialogue on dialogue and dialectics and qualitative transformation of people, ideas, the world and the prosperity of the world Was the interaction constructive, democratic and enabling transformation of co-enquiring and participants’ reflections, or whether it was impositional and dominating? Did it enable the opening up and transformation of other people, and knowledge, ideas and understanding? or was it is confrontational, Have participants out-weighted and shut down and oppressed the ideas and creativity of others, and of ideas, knowledge and explanations, thereby preventing and hindering qualitative transformation? And see and evaluate what happens 31


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