tsuomela + theory   245

Elements of Surprise — Vera Tobin | Harvard University Press
"Why do some surprises delight—the endings of Agatha Christie novels, films like The Sixth Sense, the flash awareness that Pip’s benefactor is not (and never was!) Miss Havisham? Writing at the intersection of cognitive science and narrative pleasure, Vera Tobin explains how our brains conspire with stories to produce those revelatory plots that define a “well-made surprise.” By tracing the prevalence of surprise endings in both literary fiction and popular literature and showing how they exploit our mental limits, Tobin upends two common beliefs. The first is cognitive science’s tendency to consider biases a form of moral weakness and failure. The second is certain critics’ presumption that surprise endings are mere shallow gimmicks. The latter is simply not true, and the former tells at best half the story. Tobin shows that building a good plot twist is a complex art that reflects a sophisticated understanding of the human mind. Reading classic, popular, and obscure literature alongside the latest research in cognitive science, Tobin argues that a good surprise works by taking advantage of our mental limits. Elements of Surprise describes how cognitive biases, mental shortcuts, and quirks of memory conspire with stories to produce wondrous illusions, and also provides a sophisticated how-to guide for writers. In Tobin’s hands, the interactions of plot and cognition reveal the interdependencies of surprise, sympathy, and sense-making. The result is a new appreciation of the pleasures of being had."
book  publisher  surprise  novelty  experience  literature  theory  psychology 
september 2017 by tsuomela
Theory for the Working Sociologist | Columbia University Press
"Theory for the Working Sociologist makes social theory easy to understand by revealing sociology's hidden playbook. Fabio Rojas argues that sociologists use four different theoretical "moves" when they try to explain the social world: how groups defend their status, how people strategically pursue their goals, how values and institutions support each other, and how people create their social reality. Rojas uses famous sociological studies to illustrate these four types of theory and show how students and researchers may apply them to their interests. The guiding light of the book is the concept of the "social mechanism," which clearly and succinctly links causes and effects in social life. Drawing on dozens of empirical studies that define modern sociology and focusing on the nuts and bolts of social explanation, Rojas reveals how areas of study within the field of sociology that at first glance seem dissimilar are, in fact, linked by shared theoretical underpinnings. In doing so, he elucidates classical and contemporary theory, and connects both to essential sociological findings made throughout the history of the field. Aimed at undergraduate students, graduate students, journalists, and interested general readers who want a more formal way to understand social life, Theory for the Working Sociologist presents the underlying themes of sociological thought using contemporary research and plain language."
book  publisher  sociology  theory 
august 2017 by tsuomela
The PC Debate, Sullied | Chris Lehmann
Responding to Charles Murray Middlebury protest and the reaction of Andrew Sullivan in NYMag.
political-correctness  intersectionality  race  theory  libertarian  critique 
march 2017 by tsuomela
Alasdair Macintyre, Charles Taylor, and the Demise of Naturalism | IndieBound
"Today the ethical and normative concerns of everyday citizens are all too often sidelined from the study of political and social issues, driven out by an effort to create a more scientific study. This book offers a way for social scientists and political theorists to reintegrate the empirical and the normative, proposing a way out of the scientism that clouds our age. In Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, and the Demise of Naturalism: Reunifying Political Theory and Social Science, Jason Blakely argues that the resources for overcoming this divide are found in the respective intellectual developments of Charles Taylor and Alasdair MacIntyre. Blakely examines their often parallel intellectual journeys, which led them to critically engage the British New Left, analytic philosophy, phenomenology, continental hermeneutics, and modern social science. Although MacIntyre and Taylor are not sui generis, Blakely claims they each present a new, revived humanism, one that insists on the creative agency of the human person against reductive, instrumental, technocratic, and scientistic ways of thinking. The recovery of certain key themes in these philosophers works generates a new political philosophy with which to face certain unprecedented problems of our age. Taylor's and MacIntyre's philosophies give social scientists working in all disciplines (from economics and sociology to political science and psychology) an alternative theoretical framework for conducting research. "
book  publisher  political-science  social-science  theory  naturalism 
november 2016 by tsuomela
Open Humanities Press
"The era of climate change involves the mutation of systems beyond 20th century anthropomorphic models and has stood, until recently, outside representation or address. Understood in a broad and critical sense, climate change concerns material agencies that impact on biomass and energy, erased borders and microbial invention, geological and nanographic time, and extinction events. The possibility of extinction has always been a latent figure in textual production and archives; but the current sense of depletion, decay, mutation and exhaustion calls for new modes of address, new styles of publishing and authoring, and new formats and speeds of distribution. As the pressures and re-alignments of this re-arrangement occur, so must the critical languages and conceptual templates, political premises and definitions of 'life.' There is a particular need to publish in timely fashion experimental monographs that redefine the boundaries of disciplinary fields, rhetorical invasions, the interface of conceptual and scientific languages, and geomorphic and geopolitical interventions. Critical Climate Change is oriented, in this general manner, toward the epistemo-political mutations that correspond to the temporalities of terrestrial mutation."
book  publisher  series  philosophy  environment  climate-change  theory 
december 2015 by tsuomela
Reconstructing Macroeconomic Theory to Manage Economic Policy
"Macroeconomics has not done well in recent years: The standard models didn't predict the Great Recession; and even said it couldn't happen. After the bubble burst, the models did not predict the full consequences. The paper traces the failures to the attempts, beginning in the 1970s, to reconcile macro and microeconomics, by making the former adopt the standard competitive micro-models that were under attack even then, from theories of imperfect and asymmetric information, game theory, and behavioral economics. The paper argues that any theory of deep downturns has to answer these questions: What is the source of the disturbances? Why do seemingly small shocks have such large effects? Why do deep downturns last so long? Why is there such persistence, when we have the same human, physical, and natural resources today as we had before the crisis?"
economics  macroeconomic  theory  working-paper  research 
september 2014 by tsuomela
Culture Machine
"Culture Machine is an international open-access journal of culture and theory, founded in 1999. Its aim is to be to cultural studies and cultural theory what 'fundamental research' is to the natural sciences: open-ended, non-goal orientated, exploratory and experimental. All contributions to the journal are peer-reviewed."
journal  academic  critical-theory  cultural-theory  theory  culture 
august 2014 by tsuomela
Frontiers | Embodied Cognition is Not What you Think it is | Cognitive Science
"The most exciting hypothesis in cognitive science right now is the theory that cognition is embodied. Like all good ideas in cognitive science, however, embodiment immediately came to mean six different things. The most common definitions involve the straight-forward claim that “states of the body modify states of the mind.” However, the implications of embodiment are actually much more radical than this. If cognition can span the brain, body, and the environment, then the “states of mind” of disembodied cognitive science won’t exist to be modified. Cognition will instead be an extended system assembled from a broad array of resources. Taking embodiment seriously therefore requires both new methods and theory. Here we outline four key steps that research programs should follow in order to fully engage with the implications of embodiment. The first step is to conduct a task analysis, which characterizes from a first person perspective the specific task that a perceiving-acting cognitive agent is faced with. The second step is to identify the task-relevant resources the agent has access to in order to solve the task. These resources can span brain, body, and environment. The third step is to identify how the agent can assemble these resources into a system capable of solving the problem at hand. The last step is to test the agent’s performance to confirm that agent is actually using the solution identified in step 3. We explore these steps in more detail with reference to two useful examples (the outfielder problem and the A-not-B error), and introduce how to apply this analysis to the thorny question of language use. Embodied cognition is more than we think it is, and we have the tools we need to realize its full potential."
embodied  cognition  psychology  theory 
april 2014 by tsuomela
Notes from Two Scientific Psychologists: Grounded vs. embodied cognition: a (hopefully uncontentious) note on terminology
"Our Frontiers paper made the case that embodied cognition is, by definition, a fairly radical affair. We argue ...if perception-action couplings and resources distributed over brain, body, and environment are substantial participants in cognition, then the need for the specific objects and processes of standard cognitive psychology (concepts, internally represented competence, and knowledge) goes awa"
embodied  cognition  psychology  theory 
april 2014 by tsuomela
What Do you Mean by Archive? Genres of Usage for Digital Preservers | The Signal: Digital Preservation
"One of the tricks to working in an interdisciplinary field like digital preservation is that all too often we can be using the same terms but not actually talking about the same things. In my opinion, the most fraught term in digital preservation discussions is “archive.”"
archive  archives  theory  definition  data-curation 
march 2014 by tsuomela
The Knowledge Pyramid: A Critique of the DIKW Hierarchy - The University of Arizona Campus Repository
"The paper evaluates the Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom (DIKW) Hierarchy. This hierarchy is part of the canon of information science and management. The paper considers whether the hierarchy, also known as the ‘Knowledge Hierarchy’, is a useful and intellectually desirable construct to introduce, whether the views expressed about DIKW are true and have evidence in favour of them, and whether there are good reasons offered or sound assumptions made about DIKW. Arguments are offered that the hierarchy is unsound and methodologically undesirable. The paper identifies a central logical error that DIKW makes. The paper identifies the dated and unsatisfactory philosophical positions of operationalism and inductivism as the philosophical backdrop to the hierarchy. The paper concludes with a sketch of some positive theories, of value to information science, on the nature of the components of the hierarchy: that data is anything recordable in a semantically and pragmatically sound way, that information is what is known in other literature as ‘weak knowledge’, that knowledge also is ‘weak knowledge’ and that wisdom is the possession and use."
data  information  knowledge  wisdom  hierarchy  theory  information-science 
september 2013 by tsuomela
The Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom Hierarchy and its Antithesis - The University of Arizona Campus Repository
"The now taken-for-granted notion that data lead to information, which leads to knowledge, which in turn leads to wisdom was first specified in detail by R. L. Ackoff in 1988. The Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom hierarchy is based on filtration, reduction, and transformation. Besides being causal and hierarchical, the scheme is pyramidal, in that data are plentiful while wisdom is almost nonexistent. Ackoffâ s formula linking these terms together this way permits us to ask what the opposite of knowledge is and whether analogous principles of hierarchy, process, and pyramiding apply to it. The inversion of the Data-Information-Knowledge-Wisdom hierarchy produces a series of opposing terms (including misinformation, error, ignorance, and stupidity) but not exactly a chain or a pyramid. Examining the connections between these phenomena contributes to our understanding of the contours and limits of knowledge."
data  information  knowledge  wisdom  hierarchy  theory  information-science 
september 2013 by tsuomela
The Work of Art in the Age of Mediated Participation: Crowdsourced Art and Collective Creativity | Literat | International Journal of Communication
"Online crowdsourced art is the practice of using the Internet as a participatory platform to directly engage the public in the creation of visual, musical, literary, or dramatic artwork, with the goal of showcasing the relationship between the collective imagination and the individual artistic sensibilities of its participants. Discussing key examples and analyzing this artistic practice within multiple theoretical frameworks, this article fills a critical gap in the study of contemporary art and participatory culture by developing a typology of online crowdsourced art and exploring the levels of artistic participation. In view of its reliance on the artistic contribution of a large pool of geographically disperse participants, this type of art raises important questions about notions of collective creativity, authorship, and the aesthetic significance of digital participation."
art  crowdsourcing  research  theory  participation  creativity  collective  communication 
july 2013 by tsuomela
Overview communication theories of the UT Communication Studies
"The theories presented here are related to communication. Students can use these theories as a rich source for a better understanding of the theoretical fieldwork of communication. Choosing a theory for an assignment or report is made easier, since you are able to ‘browse’ through the different theories. All theories which are selected are used in the courses of Communication Studies. Stay critical when you use a theory, because theories are subjectively measured. A lot of theories are mentioned below, make your own judgment about which theories are most helpful and think why they are helpful"
communication  reference  theory  learning 
february 2013 by tsuomela
To the Precinct Station: How theory met practice ...and drove it absolutely crazy | Thomas Frank | The Baffler
"The reason Occupy and the Tea Party were such uncanny replicas of one another is because they both drew on the lazy, reflexive libertarianism that suffuses our idea of protest these days, all the way from Disney Channel teens longing to be themselves to punk rock teens vandalizing a Starbucks. From Chris Hedges to Paul Ryan, every dissenter imagines that they are rising up against “the state.” It’s in the cultural DNA of our times, it seems; our rock ‘n’ roll rebels, our Hollywood heroes, even our FBI agents. They all hate the state—protesters in Zuccotti Park as well as the Zegna-wearing traders those protesters think they’re frightening. But here’s the rub: only the Right manages to profit from it."
occupy  2011  history  critique  politics  leftism  ideology  academic  theory 
february 2013 by tsuomela
Mankind Rising: Why Evolutionary Developmentalism Will Inherit the Future – Ever Smarter World
"What is evolutionary developmentalism (“universal evo devo”)? It is a minority view of universal change in science and philosophy today, a simultaneous application of both evolutionary and developmental thinking to the universe and its replicating subsystems."
evolution  development  future  theory  optimism 
december 2012 by tsuomela
n+1: The Theory Generation
"If you studied the liberal arts in an American college anytime after 1980, you were likely exposed to what is universally called Theory. Perhaps you still possess some recognizable talismans: that copy of The Foucault Reader, with the master’s bald head and piercing eyes emblematic of pure intellection; A Thousand Plateaus with its Escher-lite line-drawing promising the thrills of disorientation; the stark, sickly-gray spine of Adorno’s Negative Dialectics; a stack of little Semiotext(e) volumes bought over time from the now-defunct video rental place. Maybe they still carry a faint whiff of rebellion or awakening, or (at least) late-adolescent disaffection. Maybe they evoke shame (for having lost touch with them, or having never really read them); maybe they evoke disdain (for their preciousness, or their inability to solve tedious adult dilemmas); maybe they’re mute. But chances are that, of those studies, they are what remain. And you can walk into the homes of friends and experience the recognition, wanly amusing or embarrassing, of finding the very same books. If so, you belong to what might be called the Theory Generation; and it has recently become evident that some of its members have been thinking back on their training. "
literature  review  history  theory  cultural-theory  novel  fiction  irony  from instapaper
october 2012 by tsuomela
Information Need: A Theory Connecting Information Search to Knowledge Formation - $59.50 : American Society for Information Science and Technology, Bookstore
Charles Cole digs deep into the need that motivates people to search for information and articulates a theory of information need as the basis for designing information retrieval (IR) systems that engage the user's knowledge/belief system. Cole describes how such systems use signals from the user's own information environment to reduce overload, improve search results, and enhance the usefulness of information delivered on mobile devices. He explains the benefits for disadvantaged sectors of society and profiles a working system. Information Need is an important text for researchers and students in information science, computer science, and HCI, and for anyone interested in current IR theory, practice, and systems design.
book  publisher  information  theory  from delicious
august 2012 by tsuomela
Towards a diachronic ethnography of media and actual social changes « media/anthropology
"n this paper I address the question of how to study media and social change ethnographically. To do so I draw from the relevant media anthropology literature, including my own research in Malaysia and Spain. I first sketch a history of media anthropology, identifying a number of key works and themes as well as two main phases of growth since the 1980s. I then argue that anthropologists are well positioned to contribute to the interdisciplinary study of media and social change. However, to do so we must first shift our current focus on media and ‘social changing’ (i.e. how things are changing) to the study of media in relation to actual social changes, e.g. the suburbanisation of Kuala Lumpur in the 1970s to 2000s, or the secularisation of morality in post-Franco Spain. This shift from the ethnographic present continuous to the ethnographic past tense simple (how things changed from A to B) – a move from potential to actual changes – does not require that we abandon our commitment to ethnography in favour of social history. Rather, it demands new forms of ‘diachronic ethnography’ that can handle the processual, finite logic of actual social changes."
media  change  social  ethnography  history  theory  media-studies  from delicious
july 2012 by tsuomela
UnderstandingSociety: Organizations and the Chicago school
"World War II brought about a set of changes in organizational America that made the Chicago School approach less appealing to the mainstream. "The conflictual, processual, local theories of the Chicago School made little sense in a world now conceived as grand, unified, and even static, a huge mechanism for steady expansion in a non-ideological, managed world" (416). But this stability was short-lived, and Abbott believes that the Chicago approach is once again worth studying."
sociology  intellectual  history  1h20c  20c  process  organizations  theory  from delicious
july 2012 by tsuomela
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