Making Sense of Sense Making: An Engaged Philosophy Project

Making Sense of Sense Making siteEngaged philosophy is when philosophers dialogue with non-philosophers about real-world issues. If you know me, it’s no surprise that this is how I do philosophy. Here’s my first project! Please participate at http://sensemaking.bethanylaursen.com/

From the overview page:

We all long to make sense of the world, and we talk about it all the time!

“Wait, this doesn’t make sense…”

“I’m trying to make sense of this…”

“Oh! Now this makes sense!”

But what does “sense making” actually mean? How do you know when you’ve got it? This website is your portal to my new audience-interactive project: Making Sense of Sense Making. Every week, I’ll post a video and blog post about what I’m learning, and you get to learn with me too by adding comments. It’s a form of “cyber performance art.”

The “art” part is that I’ll be shaping and interacting with a tangible object–a styrofoam ball–to help me make sense of sense making. The entire ball represents the concept of “sense making.” I’ll shave off facets of the ball as I discover facets of the concept through my readings, conversations, and comments from readers like you. And as I turn the ball over in my hands, I’ll be making conceptual connections and sharing those in each post. Using a tangible object in this way is a form of “constructionism,” a theory that basically promotes learning-by-making. Conversation about the unfolding, constructed learning is super important, so you are key to making this project a success.

At the end of the project (late summer 2016), I’ll post a summary of my findings, probably in a video and several other formats, including a peer-reviewed journal article. This is part of my dissertation at Michigan State University, where I am learning how to help researchers make better discoveries through discovery-insight (“sense making”) tools. First step: what is sense making? Thus, this project. Here we go!