2017/11/29 Tim Ingold | “The Art of Paying Attention” | The Art of Research Conference (web video)

Doing science should be wayfinding (pathfinding), says #TimIngold , gaining grounding in the art of paying attention, towards research as the pursuit of truth. Truth is more than objective facts, where science and art are embraced with materials, so that we can see the quality inside the natural world as it forms, rather than as the artifacts after it’s dead.

Tim Ingold, The Art of Research Conference, 2017/11/29

[42:00] So this it is the fundamental problem with science, that it is founded on a dilemma, that it tells us that we are parts of the world, and yet it can only have the knowledge it has by saying that as scientists, we stand outside the world.

[42:23] So we need to be able to show how knowledge can grow from the inside of being, from the crucible of our participatory and observational of involvement with the world around us, that is, within the give-and-take of life.

[42:37] And of course that takes us right back to the issue of data, from which I began. And it takes us also to the idea of research which is a central topic for this conference.

[42:53] Research again is one of those words that has become used and abused to the point that no one any longer knows exactly what it means.

[43:01] Or, it’s lost its grounding. And I want to insist that research is, and must be, the pursuit of truth. If we live …. If we lose that — if we say “oh truth, that’s too hot to handle, I don’t know what truth is” — then we we lose any grounding for research as a legitimate and ethical activity.

[43:23] Now, of course, there are all sorts of ways of defining truth, but here is mine: Truth, I argue, is the unison of imagination and experience in a world to which we are alive and that is alive to us.

[43:45] That means that truth depends on our full and unqualified participation in the world, from which it follows to, that truth is absolutely not the same as objectivity These are very different things.

[44:01] And I think at the moment we are in grave danger of conflating truth and objectivity because of the current panic about post-truth. Nobody wants post truth but most of the people, most of the commentators, who are warning us of the dangers of a post truth era, in which sort of anything goes, in which using the data one can invent any kind of story, is that they’re assuming that truth means pure and simple objective fact.

[44:37] it was a pure and simple objective fact that there were more people at Obama’s inauguration than a Trump’s. Okay. And it was post truth to pretend otherwise but if that is all we mean by truth — how many people were at the inauguration, was it this number or that number — then that is a very very reduced a very impoverished sense of what truth is. And I think it’s a real challenge — and this is a challenge for art as much as anything — to insist upon what truth means, beyond the mere facts of objectivity. […]

[45:14] At the end of the 19th century, the chemist Friedrich August Kekulé …

[45:48] … He said to the to the aspiring scientist: Note every footprint, every bent twig, every fallen leaf, and there you will see where next to place your feet. So. An then he called this way of doing science — and, so, you’re going walking very delicately through through the woods, and noting every twig, every every fallen leaf, and then deciding, yes, that’s the next place to put your feet — he called that pathfinding. And he thought of science as a pathfinding — or I would call it wayfaring. And the thing is, that the path finder corresponds with things in their formation rather than being informed by what is already precipitated out.

[46:34] The pathfinder doesn’t just collect, but accepts, what the world has to offer because he is paying acute attention to everything. And I think it’s here rather than [rather than] in arrogating to itself the authority to represent a given reality, it is here that science can join with art as a way of knowing in being. That is that in practice the hands and minds of scientists, just like the hands and minds of artists, absorb into their ways of working a perceptual acuity attuned to the materials that have captured their attention.

[47:18] And so as these materials vary, so does experience. And what that suggests is that in practice scientists are differentiated by their actual experience of working with stuff. That a glaciologist, really having spent so much time with ice, really appreciates — and in a tactile haptic way — the qualities of ice. It’s almost looking at ice with icy eyes and … and a botanist, or a mycologist, as my dad was, would … look at fungi with … eyes that already have a sort of fungal quality inside them. And that was the science that I grew up with as the son of a mycologist.

[48:02] In my childhood, in which we were — I and like my peers were — felt a sort of wonder in the beauty of the natural world. It was a it was a science founded in care, in attentiveness, and in gratitude, for what we owe the world, for our existence

[48:27] What concerns me now is that science, as it is presented to schoolchildren today, has turned Wonder and gratitude into commodities. They no longer guide its practices. They no longer guide the practices of science. but are used … to advertise its results, so that more and more science has listed art in order to promote its hard sell. To offer images that beautify its results, that soften its impact, and mask often its collusions with corporations whose only interest in research is that it should drive innovation. Because in a neoliberal economy of knowledge, only what is new, sells.

Source: Tim Ingold, “”The Art of Paying Attention” | The Art of Research VI Conference: Catalyses, Interventions, Transformations | November 29, 2017, Espoo, Finland at http://artofresearch2017.aalto.fi/programme.html . Video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Mytf4ZSqQs

About

David Ing blogs at coevolving.com , photoblogs at daviding.com , and microblogs at http://ingbrief.wordpress.com . A profile appears at , and an independent description is on .

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Talk Video Streaming

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Translate
Beyond this media queue
This content is syndicated to Twitter. For professional perspectives, look to Coevolving Innovations; for a photoblog, look to Reflections, Distractions.
  • Beyond the Tavistock and S-cubed legacy
    While it’s important to appreciate the systems thinking foundations laid down by the Tavistock Institute and U. Pennsylvania Social Systems Science (S3, called S-cubed) program, practically all of the original researchers are no longer with us.  Luminaries who have passed include Eric L. Trist (-1993), Fred E. Emery (-1997), and Russell L. Ackoff (-2009).  T […]
  • Socio-Technical Systems, Service Systems Science
    In order to move forward, the Systems Changes Learning Circle has taken a step backwards to appreciate the scholarly work that has come before us.  This has included the Socio-Psychological Systems, Socio-Technical Systems and Socio-Ecological Systems perspective, from the postwar Tavistock Institute for Human Relations.  The deep dive on “Causal texture, co […]
  • Causal Texture of the Environment
    For those who haven’t read the 1965 Emery and Trist article, its seems as though my colleague Doug McDavid was foresighted enough to blog a summary in 2016!  His words have always welcomed here, as Doug was a cofounder of this web site.  At the time of writing, the target audience for this piece was primarily Enterprise Architecture practitioners.   [DI] Pub […]
  • Causal texture, contextualism, contextural
    In the famous 1965 Emery and Trist article, the terms “causal texture” and “contextual environment” haven’t been entirely clear to me.  With specific meanings in the systems thinking literature, looking up definitions in the dictionary generally isn’t helpful.  Diving into the history of the uses of the words provides some insight. 1. Causal texture 2. Conte […]
  • Trist in Canada, Organizational Change, Action Learning
    Towards appreciating “action learning”, the history of open systems thinking and pioneering work in organization science, the influence of Action Learning Group — in the Faculty of Environment Studies founded in 1968 at York University (Toronto) — deserves to be resurfaced. 1. Trist in Canada 2. Environmental studies, and contextualism in organizational-chan […]
  • Remembering Doug McDavid
    The news that Doug McDavid — my friend, colleague, and one of the original cofounders of the Coevolving Innovations web site in 2006 — had passed, first came through mutual IBM contacts.  More details subsequently showed up on LinkedIn from Mike McClintock. Doug left us on May 9, while working at his desk, likely in the very earliest hours of the morning. Hi […]
  • 2020/10 Moments October 2020
    Clear autumn near home in Toronto, extended with a family vacation within Canada to Vancouver, where the Covid rates are more favourable
  • 2020/09 Moments September 2020
    Discovering more of the neighbourhood, bicycling mostly in the mornings.
  • 2020/08 Moments August 2020
    Moderate summer temperatures in a city normally overheated with activity, residents gradually emerging as public venues opened cautiously.
  • 2020/07 Moments July 2020
    Daytimes full of new work assignment and training, evenings and weekends bicycling around downtown Toronto as it slowly reopens from pandemic.
  • 2020/06 Moments June 2020
    Most of month in Covid-19 shutdown Phase 1, so every photograph is an exterior shot. Bicycling around downtown Toronto, often exercising after sunset.
  • 2020/05 Moments May 2020
    Life at home is much the same with the pandemic sheltering-in-place directives, touring city streets on bicycle, avoiding the parks on weekends.
  • 1969, 1981 Emery, System Thinking: Selected Readings
    Social Systems Science graduate students in 1970s-1980s with #RussellAckoff, #EricTrist + #HasanOzbehkhan at U. Pennsylvania Wharton School were assigned the Penguin paperback #SystemsThinking reader edited by #FredEEmery, with updated editions evolving contents.
  • 1968 Buckley, “Modern Systems Research for the Behavioral Scientist: A Sourcebook”
    Resurfacing 1968 Buckley, “Modern Systems Research for the Behavioral Scientist: A Sourcebook” for interests in #SystemsThinking #SocioCybernetics #GeneralSystemsTheory #OrganizationScience . Republication in 2017 hardcopy may be more complete.
  • Wholism, reductionism (Francois, 2004)
    Proponents of #SystemsThinking often espouse holism to counter over-emphasis on reductionism. Reading some definitions from an encyclopedia positions one in the context of the other (François 2004).
  • It matters (word use)
    Saying “it doesn’t matter” or “it matters” is a common expression in everyday English. For scholarly work, I want to “keep using that word“, while ensuring it means what I want it to mean. The Oxford English Dictionary (third edition, March 2001) has three entries for “matter”. The first two entries for a noun. The […]
  • Systemic Change, Systematic Change, Systems Change (Reynolds, 2011)
    It's been challenging to find sources that specifically define two-word phrases -- i.e. "systemic change", "systematic change", "systems change" -- as opposed to loosely inferring reductively from one-word definitions in recombination. MartinReynolds @OpenUniversity clarifies uses of the phrases, with a critical eye into mo […]
  • Environmental c.f. ecological (Francois, 2004; Allen, Giampietro Little 2003)
    The term "environmental" can be mixed up with "ecological", when the meanings are different. We can look at the encyclopedia definitions (François 2004), and then compare the two in terms of applied science (i.e. engineering with (#TimothyFHAllen @MarioGiampietro and #AmandaMLittle, 2003).
Contact
I welcome your e-mail. If you don't have my address, here's a contact page.
%d bloggers like this: