Meta-question about abstraction
July 18, 2012 1:36 PM Subscribe
Philosophy / education: how can I search for topics related to the ability to generalize and manipulate abstractions?
posted by knz to education (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I am thinking about the process of acquiring / learning abstraction in humans. Today a friend/colleague was struggling with a jargon word in my field which refers to either a class or an instance depending on context, and I found it difficult to find a good explanation to get the point across to him. It is not the first time I see this happening, and it happens to me too. For example today again I was struggling understanding the notion of category in haskell from my previous understanding of algebraic structures.
Now I want to understand better what are the mental processes involved in the distinction between particular and general, how education deals with this, and what it says about our understanding of reality (ie how we make models out of what we preceive). I want especially to understand why it's hard, why different people struggle differently with it, and whether there are methods to optimize the learning of generality.
So I would like to start researching / studying this topic but I don't know from where to start. For now it feels to me like my interest in this topic should bring me to the essence of education, some areas of psychology, some fundamental problems in philosophy, and concepts from logic, but I have not clue which keywords to use in my search.
Hence my appeal to the hive mind. Do you know of either
- search terms / keywords?
- key publications (books, academic articles) that cover this area?
- key people / blogs talking about these topics?
- studies previously made in that direction?
- anything else you can think of that may be relevant?