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CCK11 What is missing in Connectivism?

February 16, 2011

According to Downes:

 There is no entity called a ‘soul’ and commonly understood as some sort of non-corporeal self described by or explained by the theory of connectivism.
In this connectivism is consistent with other scientific theories and domains, such as chemistry, physics, mathematics, etc.

 He has pinned connectivism to a number of philosophical positions:

The philosophical foundation for connectivism as expressed by Stephen Downes is pinned to a materialist, epiphenomalist position that borrows from eliminative materialism to explain the absence of the self, or identity (soul).


Cconnectivism has no soul.  It does not welcome the soul.


There are other viewpoints and criticisms of this type of approach to understanding the world, some examples below:

Schopenhauer wrote that “…materialism is the philosophy of the subject who forgets to take account of himself”.

In philosophy, the theory of materialism holds that the only thing that exists is matter; that all things are composed of material and all phenomena (including consciousness) are the result of material interactions. In other words, matter is the only substance. As a theory, materialism is a form of physicalism and belongs to the class of monist ontology. As such, it is different from ontological theories based on dualism or pluralism. For singular explanations of the phenomenal reality, materialism would be in contrast to idealism, neutral monism and spiritualism.

It has been criticised as a spiritually empty philosophy.


In the philosophy of mind, double-aspect theory is the view that the mental and the physical are two aspects of the same substance. 


He regards the mind, soul and body as different aspects of the same underlying reality—”dual aspect monism”—writing that “there is only one stuff in the world (not two—the material and the mental) but it can occur in two contrasting states (material and mental phases, a physicist might say) which explain our perception of the difference between mind and matter.”


Polanyi claimed that absolute objectivity (objectivism) is a delusion, and therefore a false ideal, because humans are not capable of removing themselves from the universe they are observing, and because humans necessarily have biases that influence the scientific questions they seek to answer and the answers they hope to discover.[1] He also criticised the notion that any scientific method yields truth mechanically. Instead, he argued that all knowing is personal, and as such relies upon fallible commitments.

What saves his claim — that all knowledge is personal — from relativism is his belief that personal experience connects us to objective realities. Unlike relativists he criticized, Polanyi argues that objective reality exists, but that humans are merely incapable of being objective. Yet, through experience, humans are able to perceive aspects of reality, and through the process of scientific discovery improve the accuracy of personal knowledge.



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