They're thought of as the scourge of the internet, but Aimie Cronin finds trolls aren't always dangerous and, in fact, can sometimes be helpful. Proud Waiheke residents bemoaned his contempt of the place, and he has been reliably trolling it ever since.
If people who pride themselves on their progressive approach to education can agree on one thing, it is that the child is not an empty vessel.
There is no place for such ideas of emptiness in 21st century pedagogy. One tweet-length piece of evidence: Education-as-usual assumes that kids are empty vessels who need to be sat down in a room and filled with curricular content.
Tweets leave no room for footnotes, and hardly anyone feels obliged to go back and look at who proposed the idea of the empty vessel and why on earth they might have thought that it made sense. Instead, the idea is ripped out of context, passed on in a game of digital Chinese whispers, and vilified in a manner that speaks not of radicalism but of thoughtlessness.
What we want to do here is not just set the record straight about the child as an empty vessel, but we also want to suggest that the time has come to take the truly radical step — the truly progressive step — the truly thoughtful step of embracing the idea of emptiness.
The idea of the human mind as originally an empty vessel or a blank slate has a long history dating back at least to Aristotle see De Anima, bk. The idea then disappeared for almost two millennia before surfacing again in the early modern period in the context of a how to write a thesis defence about innate ideas.
Locke was an ardent anti-dogmatist, and the view that there were innate ideas was, as he saw it, pure dogmatism.
No, the human mind is not something upon which indubitable ideas are writ by the Divine Hand. The human mind in its original condition is a tabula rasa or a blank sheet of paper — the blank tablet described by Aristotle. And the tabula rasa and the blank sheet of paper are the empty vessel a term which neither Aristotle nor John Locke actually used.
All teachers who employ textbooks either paper or digital in the classroom assume in practice that the students pouring into the classroom have a certain intellectual emptiness which needs to be filled in one way or another.
The alternative would be a Platonic classroom, devoid of textbooks, relying entirely on a discussion in which the children clarify the ideas that they find within themselves, with the teacher playing the role of the good Platonic midwife assisting in the process of cognitive birthing.
But perhaps the thing that provokes so much opposition is not the idea of emptiness itself but the passivity of the learner that is supposed to follow from it. But this is just sloppy thinking. Locke was an Enlightenment champion of individual liberty, not a theorist of standardised mass schooling.
Indeed he argued that the only acceptable class-size was one, and he was such a critic of contemporary schooling that he argued it would be better for the child to be educated at home.
Crucial for him was the liberty of the child speaking out against a myriad forms of unfreedom, including tight clothing for girls, for instance and the great empiricist had an acute sense of the individuality of the child, insisting that the parents and the tutor of a child pay close attention to the inclinations and talents of the individual, matching the course of education carefully to them.
Clearly, the tweets that are supposed to be light years away from the terrible pedagogy of the 17th century are often little more than footnotes to Locke.
Locke was right about that original emptiness. The problem here has nothing to do with the reasons for his online vilification. The argument that needs to be made concerns freedom, and it has more to do with our understanding of social life and less to do with the mind of the individual child.
It is a difficult argument to make because our thinking about freedom has progresssed so little since the seventeenth century. To make the argument we need to think about human freedom and its connection with emptiness, the point being to argue that if we are friends of freedom, we must also be friends of emptiness, in a sense.
Locke did a lot to establish the idea that education understood in the broadest sense to include all aspects of child-rearing ought to be an education for freedom.
The child is to be brought up to be a member of a society that would be the realisation of freedom. Although Locke preferred the word liberty, arguably the Greek word autonomy is better since it highlights the way in which a free society gives the law the nomos to itself.
Every society is autonomous in this sense, but very few are organised around an understanding of that autonomy. All too often societies fall back on the idea that something beyond them is dictating the law their highest values to them. Locke himself was guilty of this shrinking away from autonomy.
Despite his lengthy arguments against innate ideas in his theory of knowledge, when he turns to politics he bases his argument on the supposedly innate idea of Natural Rights — as if rights were not a social construct but were something written in the book of Nature.
In his Emile, at the point where the young man being educated is first able to look in an intelligent way at the confusing array of cultures, he is told a didactic story that ends thus: There is one open to all eyes: It is from this great and sublime book that I learn to serve and worship its divine Author.
No one can be excused for not reading it, because it speaks to all men a language that is intelligible to all minds. In the passage of time since the s when Emile was published, it has become harder to believe that there could be a single universal language intelligible to all minds to provide a common ground for a global society of perpetual peace.
Whatever nature says, its message needs to be interpreted, and that will inevitably occur within the frameworks of a very particular, historically specific language that will not be intelligible to all minds.
There is no way for the book of nature to imprint itself directly on our intellects. The work of interpretation is unavoidable. Rather than basing our culture on the book of nature, we find ourselves having to write the book ourselves in our own, very particular language.Daniels v Minister of Defence (/)  ZAWCHC 74; (6) SA (WCC) (21 June ).
The thesis draws the reader’s attention to the essay and persuades them to continue reading. Included in the thesis is the basis of your argument and why it is significant to the essay.
Without a strong thesis, your argument might seem irrelevant to your readers and cause them to discontinue reading the essay. 1 Masters Thesis Defense Guidelines Candidates for master’s degrees at Kent State University may be required or may choose to write and defend a thesis.
JUST WAR AND IRAQ: I said below that I have yet to hear a satisfactory answer on why a quick war with Iraq would not be more just than the status quo of immiserating sanctions.
Now Glenn Reynolds links to a Michael Walzer essay on a war with Iraq that provides one response. The key grafs: "Defending the embargo, the American overflights, and the UN inspections: this is the right way to oppose.
Writing a Thesis Defense Paper!After years of “on the job training” teaching others (and myself) how to write better, here is single sentence that captures your objective in a thesis defense paper. It was , the 50th anniversary of the suspected flying saucer crash at Roswell in New Mexico, and the heyday of the paranormal mystery series The X-Files.