Author Archives: Peter J. Taylor

About Peter J. Taylor

Peter Taylor is a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston where he teaches and directs undergraduate and graduate programs on critical thinking, reflective practice, and science-in-society. His research and writing focuses on the complexity of environmental and health sciences in their social context, incl. Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement (U. Chicago Press, 2005) and Nature-nurture? No (2014, http://bit.ly/NNN2014). On reflective practice, see Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research & Engagement (with J. Szteiter, 2012, http://bit.ly/TYS2012).

Internet support for finding teachers/lessons with the goal of understanding some aspect of mathematical thinking well enough to explain to others

Untested draft of method that represents
a) an extension of mathematical thinking (provisionally defined here);
b) follows the premise that no teacher would be prepared to guide every student in developing their mathematical thinking in the diverse ways that interest different people and
c) ditto in developing their life long learning to respond to changes in work, technology, commerce, and social life that continue to change our needs and capacities for mathematical thinking.
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What constitutes mathematical thinking?

What constitutes mathematical thinking?  I am teaching a course on mathematical thinking without defining the term for the students or myself.  I want a working definition to arise from the explorations we undertake during the course. Continue reading

1-day workshop-Impossible to Simply Continue Along Previous Lines: Changing Life in Times of Crisis

“Impossible to Simply Continue Along Previous Lines: Changing Life in Times of Crisis”
One-day workshop before the 4S conference, Boston, Tues 29th August 2017

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“Impossible to Simply Continue Along Previous Lines” A Partial Design Sketch of Enactable Social Theorizing

Overview of Notes on Enactable Social Theorizing assembled in 2012, followed by key points of each of the notes. Comments welcome to help nudge me to revise and develop the notes. Continue reading

Five principles or themes for addressing unruly social and ecological complexities

On the presumption that the dynamic flux of ecological and social complexities cannot be well understood from an outside view…
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Five Fundamental Gaps In Nature-Nurture Science

Difficulties identifying causally relevant genetic variants underlying patterns of human variation have been given competing interpretations. The debate is illuminated in this article by drawing attention to the issue of underlying heterogeneity—the possibility that genetic and environmental factors or entities underlying a trait are heterogeneous—as well as four other fundamental gaps in the methods and interpretation of classical quantitative genetics:
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Heterogeneity, not randomness, sets challenges for quantitative genetics and epidemiology: A response to Davey Smith’s “gloomy prospect”

Social epidemiologist Davey Smith (2011) argues that epidemiologists should accept a gloomy prospect: considerable randomness at the individual level means that they should keep their focus on modifiable causes of disease at the population level. The difficulty epidemiology has had in moving from significant population-level risk factors to improved prediction of cases at an individual level is analogous to the lack of success in the search for systematic aspects of the non-shared environmental influences that human quantitative genetics claims overshadow common environmental influences (e.g., the family’s socioeconomic status which siblings have in common). This article responds to the argument and analogy, aiming to draw three audiences—social epidemiologists, human quantitative geneticists, and philosophers of science—into a shared discussion that centers not on randomness, but on heterogeneity in various forms.
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