FS 121 - Ecology of Mind

Instructor: Dr. Jeff Bloom - jeff.bloom[at]nau.edu
Northern Arizona University

Short Description:

The notion of “ecology of mind” has to do with how we make sense of the world. This course will focus on how systems thinking and pattern thinking allow us to develop deeper understandings of the connections across a variety of subject matter areas, as well as across personal and cultural contexts. Students will engage in a variety of inquiries throughout the semester and will develop a project of individual interest.

Long Description:

From aboriginal cultures to the “big” thinkers of today, “ecology of mind” has been an important perspective on people’s relationships to the Earth, to themselves, and to others. This course focuses on using systems thinking and pattern thinking to explore how we can connect to a deeper sense of being, to others, and to our environments. As we proceed with our explorations, we will find interconnections across various disciplines (e.g., the arts, sciences, humanities, etc.) and contexts (e.g., cultures and everyday experiences). Through a variety of inquiries students will examine a number of key aspects of such thinking, including: (a) relationships between objects and concepts of various kinds; (b) feedback loops and other non-linear cycles of information and/or materials flow; (c) transformation and change; (d) patterns that extend across and characterize different disciplines; (e) patterns of organization; (f) coordination; (g) continuity; (h) separation and unification; (i) regulation; (j) epistemology or how we see the world; (k) double binds; (l) ecology of mind and nature); and (m) aesthetics and beauty. In examining various objects and phenomena, students will engage and develop skills in the basic aspects of systems thinking and pattern thinking, which include taking multiple perspectives, developing models and explanations, inviting a diversity of ideas, analyzing functions, analyzing meanings, and evaluating the applicability of explanations across contexts. Student work will focus on group and individual inquiries and the development of a major project in an area of individual interest.

Primary Course Pages on this site

Go to the general FS 121 page

Go to the FS 121 Course Readings Page for access to readings and other information - PASSWORD access only

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