Tag Archives: theory

“Therapy wars” and the human sciences

170130-psychology(by Eileen Dombrowski from OUP blog) Thanks largely to the cognitive sciences, we’ve learned much in recent decades about how our own minds work. As knowledge flows from research journals to the popular media, recent findings in psychology have stimulated considerable commentary and advice on dealing with the problems that trouble our minds. Psychoanalysis and cognitive behavioural therapy, complex topics within a complex area of knowledge, have drawn lay readers and listeners not just out of interest in knowing how their minds or brains work but also out of hopes to relieve problems and improve their own health.

No doubt at least some of your students will have had exposure to psychoanalysis, even if only through sensationalistic movies. No doubt, too, they will have encountered the currently much promoted cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and its applications to everyday practices – there are even “apps” available for meditation and stress relief, for example. “Mindfulness”, a close adjunct to CBT, is, your students may observe, very much in the air. But how seriously should we take the different approaches of psychoanalysis and CBT as ways of achieving better mental and emotional health? Continue reading

TOK and the User’s Guide to Economics

Chang-Economics(by Theo Dombrowski, from OSC TOK blog August 13, 2014) Interviewed in the TOK Course Companion, economist Susan McDade (working with the United Nations) comments that “most economic theories” used in the West are based on “assumptions [that] can be pointed out to be weak or not always true” and argues for a complex series of values that are typically ignored by economists.Economics, as we recognize in TOK, is very much a human science – inescapably human in its study and interpretation of aspects of human behaviour. In this regard, a useful further resource for our TOK treatment of the human sciences is a new book by Ha-Joon Chang, Economics: The User’s Guide. Continue reading

big bang, big smile: happy moment in sharing knowledge

(by Eileen Dombrowski, from OSC TOK blog April 4, 2014) In TOK, we speak of the natural sciences as shared knowledge — as knowledge built collectively as scientists publish their work and others use it toward their own.  But rarely is scientific knowledge shared with quite such a personal touch as in this video.   Continue reading