“On World-disclosure and the Difference Between Experiment and Exploration” by Sönke Ahrens (Apr 16)

In this presentation I would like to discuss why it is important to distinguish between the terms experiment and exploration as two forms of world disclosure. These terms are rarely systematically distinguished. Sometimes they are used as synonyms, sometimes in a hierarchical order when an experiment is described as a form or method of exploration. Sometimes experiment is understood as a rigorous method in the natural sciences and sometimes as a playful and untamed approach in the arts, as an exploration of possibilities. This confusion can be explained as an effect of an underlying paradox which comes into play when we think about the unknown and which is known best in the wording of Plato. Meno’s Paradox is that inquiry is either impossible or unnecessary as we either know what we are looking for, which would make inquiry unnecessary or that we do not know what we are looking for, which would make inquiry impossible. I suggest to understand this paradox as an empirical challenge for research and learning strategies and will argue that a better understanding about how scientists and learners explore and experiment empirically can help us to address epistemological challenges better theoretically. And that is by distinguishing clearly between experiment and exploration as two forms of world-disclosure. World-disclosure is a term borrowed from Heidegger and is used here as an attempt to conceptualize practical ways of dealing with this paradox in difference-theoretical terms. The other aim of this presentation is to explain what exactly that means.

Philosophy Seminar Series
Date: Thursday, 16 Apr 2015
Time: 2pm – 4pm
Venue: AS3 #05-23
Speaker: Sonke Ahrens
Moderator: Dr. Qu Hsueh Ming

About the Speaker:

S ahrensSönke Ahrens works in the field of Philosophy of Education with a focus on epistemology. In the last two years he worked as a substitute Professor for Philosophy of Education at the University of the German Federal Armed Forces in Munich, Germany. His research draws from philosophy, sociology and cognitive psychology and is an attempt to understand the impact of social change for education from different angles. His main interest, however, lies in the development of a General Theory of World-Disclosure. The English translation of his doctoral thesis on this topic “Experiment and Exploration. Forms of World-Disclosure” was published with Springer last year.