Header image: a slice from a silk screen study for a rug by Anni Albers

About the name:
Instead of partitioning complex situations into well-bounded systems and backgrounded or hidden processes, we can examine “intersecting processes” that cut across scales, involve heterogeneous components, and develop over time. (Elaboration)

Blog posts in 2010 have also addressed critical thinking and reflective practice in environment, biomedicine, and social change (including change in the academic community), but starting 1/1/11, these were posted at my new blog, “Puzzle—Create Change—Reflect.”  Posts that combine reflective practice and intersecting processes will be cross-posted.

About the author:
pjtpacificmar17bcroporiginalPeter J. Taylor–Critical thinking and critical pedagogy/reflective practice became central to my intellectual and professional project as I encouraged students and researchers to contrast the paths taken in science, society, education with other paths that might be taken, and to foster their acting upon the insights gained (Biology & Society program, Cornell, 1990-96; Eugene Lang Professor for Social Change, Swarthmore College, 1997-98; U. Mass. Boston, Critical & Creative Thinking graduate program/Science in a Changing World track, 1998-present). Bringing critical analysis of science to bear on the practice and applications of science has not been well developed or supported institutionally, and so I have contributed actively to new collaborations, programs, and other activities, new directions for existing programs, and collegial interactions across disciplines…. (read more)

Why a blog?
1. To make sure I write every morning (even if the post is drawn from past work) before the busy-ness of teaching and administration takes over my day.
2. To see if these daily bits of writing and thinking (and recalling past writing and thinking) combine in ways that lead to new insights.
3. To expose my work more widely, including unpublished work, in the hope that kindred thinkers might come across it and make contact.

Q: What constitutes a kindred thinker? A: Someone who is interested in addressing complex situations “that cut across scales, involve heterogeneous components, and develop over time” and extending this interest to the interpretation of the researcher-in-social-context and to engagements that modify the directions that researchers take (including their own).

Q: What is my attitude about non-kindred thinkers who submit comments? A: Ad hominem comments disparaging others will not be approved for posting. Other comments will be accepted even if that means giving “airplay” to agendas of which I am quite critical. Sometimes I may have time to respond to such comments as I would as a teacher; sometimes not. I may also learn about research and ways of arguing that I need to think more about.

4. To complement, not substitute for, the personal connections through workshops [e.g., NewSSC] or regular conversations [e.g., ISHS].

Q: What combination of kinds of internet-facilitated connectedness is generative, sustaining, sustainable?

I have been exploring this question with colleagues who make effective use of social media, e.g., making friends after twittering during conferences or having their blogs viewed after commenting on other people’s blogs. The best result seems to be nested kinds of connectedness, with some people linked in immediately responsive and helpful ways and others just aware of one’s existence. This is a topic for more exploration, reflection, and discussion.


See August 2011 progress report