Multicultural Critical Theory

I’m interested in the change in attitudes among B-school admins.  Chicago, though, refuses any kind of self-reflection, a pattern it shares with its school of economics.

Critical thinking is the hot new thing in business school pedagogy and, among the graveyard of business school fads, this one is pretty fundamental.

But I came from a liberal arts background, and between all the handwringing from myself and relatives about its value under a system that seems to demand narrowing vision, declining ideals — lay low, don’t rock the boat — what I got out of it was an understanding of the value of metaphor.  Most of science, and I use that broadly, in the late nineteenth and twentieth century has been directed towards diverging, tinier and tinier spheres of study.  So much has specialization separated research that even types of geographers don’t speak the same language.  (“The New Economic Geography, Now Middle-Aged” http://www.princeton.edu/~pkrugman/aag.pdf)  A diverse vocabulary of metaphors, however, is necessary to access the space between the spheres, and mine it for meaning.  Cognitive psychology revived the introspective methods of Freud and Jung, who had been completely rejected by BF Skinner and the behavioralists, to give us new incites about memory and learning that we would never be able to construct out of the behavioralists’ paradigm — not because bahavioralism is findamentally wrong (it’s fundamentally right) but humans are limited instruments of detection and analysis and the subject of memory, for instance,was just beyond our capacities under behavioralism.

Going back has a tremendous value, I’ve found, in solving the problems that others haven’t yet been able to solve.  B-school students could probably benefit more from understanding the tension between Classicism and Romanticism than flow charts of critical thinking, which feels seems like a very hemmed in way of going about expanding thought processes.

 

 

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