Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Philosophical notions within Phenomenology and Pragmatsim

Researchers and Philosophers have traditionally attempted to adopt different approaches to research methods whether trying to understand the mind and behaviour through the creation of theories or trying to answer practical questions. However, in this course, we are using the Qualitative approach which follows two main philosophical notions Phenomenology and Pragmatism.
It took an enormous amount of time for me to understand these notions. Firstly I realized that methods and methodologies are different. Methodology refers to philosophies that guide how the knowledge is discovered, and analyzed in a systematic way, and methods, on the other hand, is specific to gathering data through surveys, interviews etc.
 Pphenomenology refers to the kinds of inquiry or study designed to explore lived experiences. Any experiences whatsoever can be phenomenological topic connected to possible human experience. For example, having a talk with someone, sending an email or a message, listening to a piece of music so forth. In all these questioning we gain the meaningful understanding, there are no ultimate determinations for the meanings of human existence. What is wonderful about phenomenological insight is that they can be surprising, deep, unexpected yet somehow recognizable., but an insight is never final, as it keeps changing in different contexts.

Pragmatism is popularly known as the theory of experimentalism, as it focuses on experiences. It is derived from Greek Word 'Pragma' which means action, it is a reasonable and logical way of doing things or thinking about problems that are based on dealing with a specific situation instead of ideas and theories.  It recognizes that circumstances can be different and in that different actions may be appropriate, hence it does not demand moral uniformity between people across cultures. The pragmatists believe that reality changes due to personal experience. This is in direct contrast to realism and idealism. Another important component of Pragmatism is the application of Evolution to our education. John Dewey American Philosopher believed that evolution was not just a biological truth, but a metaphysical truth as well. He argued that experience was the fundamental component of Pragmatism, one must experience another person's philosophy in order to develop your knowledge in depth.
Looking at both the philosophies, I have understood that both Phenomenology and Pragmatism are based on experience. However, Phenomenology emphasizes on a description of the lived experiences, whereas in pragmatism researchers learn through hand on experimentation either individually or in the group.
Please leave your suggestions and opinions.


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Considering Non-positivist approach

Understanding Non-positivist approach is relatively simpler compared to Positivist approach, for common people like us.  We live in a society and often we anticipate some feedback from our friends and relatives for anything we offer either sevice or help.  Basically we live in an inter-dependant society, with the liberty to live,explore, believe or not in the existence of God who guides every activity in the world. At some point of time philosophers like Plato,Aristotle, Issac Newton with their scientific mindset also believed in the higher power.  So I feel somewhere meta-physical, scientific, and religious world co-exists in order to make sense of the world.
John Locke, the famous philosopher uses Christian religion as justification and says all people are created with natural rights of life, liberty, everybody in nature should have these rights as they are God's gifts. We experience certain emotions  in a set way because every religion gives some sort of structure some principles. All these elements are subjective in nature as no scientific methods have proved it.
Non-positivist mainly engage in these subjective approach where they interact with people which enables greater understanding and gain insights into people's motivation to meanings by seeing the wolrd as they do and build grounded theories using qualitative data.
I would consider non-positvist approach as I beleive that knowledges are created by interacting with people in  a given context or working with them in their environment. Being a performing artist, and a teacher, always I aimed to connect with people and reach out to them through my performances and these experiences are intangible for them as well as for me because these invovle integration of various elements like theme, music, choreogaphy. etc. unike positivist apporach where it needs a scientific interpretation and has to be to measured.
 Non-positivist perspective enables me to know what really matters to me, how I see the world and frame my questions to get my answers. Basically it allows me to work closer to social factors to co-construct reality with my participants. However,  various articles report that qualitiative approach  is more complicated when it comes to collecting data, as we need to consider the concept of truth with each data collected. The most important aspect of  Non-positivist theory I liked is the concept of having multiple Realities and truth exists. It beautifully justifies that Reality is Real, and Truth is universal, but we cannot directly access either, we can only perceive pieces of Reality we can seek Truth or approximate Reality. 

Friday, 10 March 2017

Exploring Postivist approach

It is generally accepted that research is based on several interconnected philosophical assumptions. The ideas presented in various literature have changed my way of looking at philosophy and the historical transmission. Further, they have disclosed the possibility of considering classical philosophical problems in a fresh perspective.

I have learned that unpacking assumptions are not as simple as I thought. It gets intellectually tricky. I assumed that I begin with a research question than shop around for the kinds of research approach that best allows me to answer that questions. Only later I realized that starting with research question begins in the middle and I ignored the fundamental necessity of taking the deep look at the belief systems. I had never thought so deeply about positive and non-positive approach. This is what I noticed.
Positive paradigm emphasizes that real and factual happenings could be studied and observed scientifically and empirically and could be elucidated by way of rational investigation and analysis.This positive research approach is something like micro-level experimentation in a lab like setting that can do away with the intricacy of the outside world. The results and outcomes gotten by means of experiment method give important insights and knowledge into the natural world of realism and truth.
Positivism is a strong approach as it affirms the value of science and maintain a strong distinction between true and false, however, positivism fails to acknowledge the cultural, political and social factors that get in between the observer and the truth. It claims that what is True can be verified by science and logical proof, rest everything is either false or meaningless.For example, Positivist are like atheists they don't believe in the existence of God, science cannot demonstrate the existence of God. 
Hope what I have understood makes sense.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Reflecting on Mind Body Paradigm

Rene Descartes theory of dualism, made me realise that in  all these years I believed in 'monism' as most of the Indian classical dance  movments and themes are based on  spirituality which integrates mind and body to achieve the eternal bliss.(Ulitmate essence of the emotions)  That's why it took me so long to understand the theories of dualism. I guess the way we sense our body in the world seems to be just as important as in creating a cultural meaning. For me, we are not located in the world symbolically nor do we experience reality purely through the text, instead, we are in relation with natural and social worlds and it is within this network of interdependence our mind and body functions. Despite this  history and philosophy in the Western world, who emphasized dualism between emotional and rational or mind and body, I believe that humans are multi-dimensional in nature as they are created by an active body located in the various levels of time and space as well as in symbolic dimension.
I noticed some differences of Easteran and Western ideas of mind and body philosohpies and the best way to analyse was through my own experience.
Cartesian dualism may be real in contemporary Western World, but alternative views exists in other philosophical traditions.  Eastern philosophies generally treat mind-body unity as an achievement, rather than an essentail relation. Through research, I discovered that Asian traditions do not separate mind from the body, though mind and body may be conceptually distinguishable from some perspective, they are not assumed to be distinct. For modern western tradition mind-body theorry is primarily concerned with the empirically observable correlations between mental and somatic phenomena. Eastern theories focus on how a disciplined practice allows one to attain body-mind untiy. For example,studyng the western mind-body problem, it is appropriate to investigate the act of raising one's arm,what is the relation between mental inteneion and the somatic movement? In eastern tradition however learnig to hit a baseball would be more appropriate example. In this contrast, we again can see the difference between concentrating on an intrinsic mind-body connection versus an acquired mind-body unity.
Nevertheless, looking at above discussion, I feel there should be more balanced standpoint between the theories of Eastern or Western philosophies seeking relation between intention and movement as well as the practice and achievement of a skill.



Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Indian Aesthetics !

The deeper you dig the better the treasures!!!
I was fascinated as I kept reading about the history of classical dance of India, its rich cultural traditions. Classical dance having very strong Hindu fundamentals was always associated with worship and rituals and therefore it was clothed in sanctity. Hinduism is nothing but a way of life and it accepted that laws governing the conduct of man and society are man-made and it has to be flexible and dynamic subject to change, thus it does not say that set of rules made thousands of years ago should be valid today.
since ordinary people could not have the erudition to read and understand great Epics, the profound philosophies were translated and presented in the form of parables and stories in these epics for the guidance of common people.  These great Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata were later translated in the form of poetry so that they could teach greatest truths of life in an easy way without taxing the mind. These spiritually evolved tales were told to children to teach them fundamental truths of faith, religion, and morality. Traditionally, dancers viewed the creative process and suggested a divine truth and regarded art as a means of experiencing a state of bliss.
An awareness of the salient features of the vast background of Indian dancing could help formulate some of the demands traditionally made on the spectator. The Spectator was also expected to have an inner preparedness to receive this vision and be a potential artist.  Thus all Indian arts, especially the arts of music and dance require a trained and initiated spectator as well.
For a traditional Indian dancer/artist, regardless of the field in which he/she worked, artistic creation was the supreme means of realizing the universal Being.
Art is always considered as a Discipline...and this discipline is a means of achieving a state of complete harmony of life which leads to a recognition of one's truer self. Each aspect leads to another, the spiritual, mental and physical discipline required in the search for complete harmony is nothing but 'YOGA'. There is some similarity between Hindu's ideology as I can link the theoretical work of John Dewey(1934) and Eliot Eister(2002) who have looked at the arts broadly. They have established the significance of the expression of creativity, lived experience, learning through the body, and the power of the arts to encapsulate cultures.
Accepting this major concept of Hindu spiritual and philosophical thought the artist was indeed like the worshipper, and art became a spiritual discipline.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Structure and Streamline Ideas of Reasearch Proposal!


Clarity of idea enables one to gear up to work towards a particular area.  After our 5 pm chat yesterday and after watching the video clip about being right or wrong posted by Adesola, I have taken courage to write few things about structuring our research proposal.  These are the excerpts from   

Research Proposals: A Practical Guide: A Practical Guide

By Denscombe, Martyn

The basic aims of Research proposal are not complicated as we think.  Firstly, research proposal has to appeal our thinking whether it would be worthwhile and are there clear and obvious benefits
(Knowledge) to be gained from undertaking this investigation. 
Secondly, thinking if the inquiry is feasible, it is not sufficient just to have a good research idea, the idea needs to be something that can be accomplished and delivered. I mean it needs to be realistic. Having established precisely what the research needs,  the next question is fairly obvious how to collect relevant literature, how much data is required. I am following these steps, hope this works.
 Reading from blogs, online journals and other links from google are helping me to collect literature. As I have understood the Structure of research proposal should have these headings. Title, aims/background, literature review, research questions, methods adopted, ethical issues, finally the conclusion. 
Although no universally applicable and correct format exist for Research Proposal 
(Locke etal.2000:7) there is still a strong family resemblance underlying the structure and headings. 
The analogy is something like house building, plans have to be drawn up to show that the house will be structured sound and that it would meet necessary requirements in terms of building regulations. Well, the same logic applies to our research inquiry I guess. 

Sunday, 5 March 2017

5th March 2017 Our Second skype chat of Module Two!!

 In today's skype chat as always, module one and module two students discussed views and ideas about AOLs.  How to improve our critical thinking without focusing too much on what is right or wrong. As a student, I feel whatever stage we are in, we look for some guiding force someone who can just show us the direction to move forward.  I also believe that we cannot know the truth unless we ourselves are confronted with it. With this belief, I started to read various articles relating to Indian classical dance and its nuances.. as I read I got hooked up with the concept of dance beyond the studio and its impact on the holistic development of a dancer. The inference from what I read..the more familiar you are with the aspects of Indian culture the more natural classical dance will feel to you and the more comfortable and effortless your performance will seem.  Life and theatre are not apart and an understanding of life through theater is realistic, holistic and enjoyable at the same time. The Indian theater and its magical influence has a unique methodology, leading one to a holistic understanding of oneself, and, leading one thereby to holistic self-development. Indian Theatre, as other forms of Theatre, is essentially for representation through performance and includes in its ambiance drama, dance, music and stage art and craft, literature, history to carry forward the communication as a story telling skills. 
I feel as a teacher /performer this holistic concept fits into a wider field of research inquiry and I think I have got the direction to move forward!!!