Aristotle was wrong, and sometimes I am too.

Aristotle, the 300s-B.C. philosopher, made a lot of mistakes, so he and I already have that in common. I haven’t done anything quite as monumental as perpetuating a model of the planetary system that everyone erroneously relied on for a thousand years-plus. But I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I don’t think Aristotle’s mistakes negate some of the great ways he approached life and learning though.

First,
he was a tenuous conjecturer. He loved to observe what was around and then come up with ideas based on those observations. But he was often unsure of whether or not he was right. He thought he might be, but was willing to acknowledge that he also might not be. He urged others to check and cross-check him. But he gave people a starting place for ideas. And then later - much, much later - others came along and proved some of his ideas completely wrong.

Second,
he had an enthusiasm for teaching. He loved to share his observations and knowledge…and perhaps more than that, share his process and philosophy for gathering data and knowledge. The problem is, many of his pupils took the concrete aspects of what he taught without absorbing his humility and and willingness to try ideas out with the understanding you might be wrong…and that’s okay. Some of his words and teachings became dogma, but that may not be - probably wasn’t - what he intended. His intent, I hope and believe - was to educate and train his acolytes to develop their own systems and methodologies for examining, observing, and making their own inferences and hypotheses, not to mindlessly, endlessly regurgitate his.

Third,
he loved to classify and organize. The granddaddy of all that. And I love the organization of knowledge, data, and systems in ways that make sense. In fact…

…plug coming up:

I am working on a website right now that combines many of my writings and thoughts on education across a number of disciplines. I shall keep you posted, should you be interested.

Thanks for reading!

Joseph