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Imagination, reason and learning: Toward a pragmatic account of creative thinking

Videmanis, Johanna Hannelore (2001) Imagination, reason and learning: Toward a pragmatic account of creative thinking. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The principle theme of this thesis concerns the nature of the human cognitive process. Currently, the use of the computer metaphor to describe brain processes is ubiquitous. However, this is not an apt model to use when specifying what is going on in the brain. This is because, firstly, the complex and dynamic nature of neurological processes cannot be captured using the computer model of mind, and secondly, it cannot adequately account for cognitive capacities such as understanding, critical thinking, and creativity.

I have suggested that the application of the computer model in mainstream educative praxis may contribute to the teaching/learning dilemma in our classrooms. One major outcome of this dilemma is graduates who are unable to effectively and equitably participate in our everchanging and complex socioeconomic environment. Consequently, I have attempted to provide an alternative conceptual model of what may be happening when we cognize and learn.

To establish an empirical basis for my model, I have applied the insights from quantum theory to explain the unpredictable and intricate nature of neural responses to stimuli. This culminates in a model which characterizes the mind as being inherently creative. By synthesizing the main tenets of Peirce's theory of abduction with Lockwood's conception of the world-brain-mind interface, my model was able to give an explanation of how we may actualize our representations of the world in a particular cognitive event. This model, in a natural way, not only incorporates brain capacities like understanding, critical thinking and creativity, but also explains our logico-calculative learning. This model changes the way we should view cognitive processes and learning.

It implies that teaching strategies need to be implemented which enhance our students' inherent creativity. Indeed, data from researchers into creativity demonstrate the pragmatic successes that can be achieved when creative learning strategies are employed. If all educators encouraged and stimulated critical thinking and their students' natural curiosity, we may see a more tolerant and flexible world community.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Division of Social Sciences, Humanities and Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Ruthrof, Horst
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