[-empyre-] benefits of practice to conventional research / could gamification save academia?

Lasse Scherffig lscherff at khm.de
Fri Feb 24 20:20:25 EST 2012

Am 23.02.2012 10:59, schrieb Gabriel Menotti:

> How efficient is this sort of symbolic camouflage to disentangle a
> discipline (structures of thought, conceptual frameworks, methods)
> from the hype (of the past)?
>> From another perspective: should the changing of names/labels (from
> KYB to INF?) be taken as a “superficially” administrative or as a
> “deeply” philosophical operation? Or is it one of these cases in which
> such separation makes no sense whatsoever?

This game seems to complex to me for a simple answer. The shift from 
Cybernetics to computer science (and AI/cognitive science) was 
philosophical (cf. Dupuy: The Mechanization of the Mind) administrative, 
driven by methods (calculus/algebra/engineering vs. 
logics/language/calculation), material (digital computers) and due to a 
hype cycle. Symbolic camouflage indeed is a strategy to carry 
frameworks, methods (Kuhn's paradigms or Fleck's "Denkstil") from one 
field to the other, but I would also assume that many scientists using 
camouflage are not aware of it -- but take up paradigms that have been 
there, albeit invisible (the same holds for Wiener, who with Cybernetics 
quite successfully rephrased what happened in 1930s control theory, 
without saying so).

> Reaching out to the other thread: should we take this rule-bending as
> a form of institutional critique? Can it have long-term effects, or is
> it restricted to opening space for a singular intervention?

and Birringer:
> One might see the humor also in the old high academy positions (Lasse, did you not say that Karlsruhe has no room for practice based Phds and prefers you to write a theoretical/analytical one?)

With the KHM in Köln and the DARC people (and efforts such as News of 
the World) we the two possible strategies of fighting the gamification 
(or neo-liberal makeover/takeover) of academia that make up the subject 
of this thread: The KHM simply rejects Bologna (not issuing any Bachelor 
or Master's degrees) and sticks to the traditional (and theory based) 
Dr. phil. instead of issuing (practice based or not) PhDs. This 
conservative solution paradoxically is quite successful in opening 
possibilities and maintaining freedom. It enables me to write a 
science/humanities crossover dissertation that would not be possible at 
most (German) science or humanities departments, for instance. DARC, on 
the other hand, tries to bend the rules. I honestly hope that the latter 
strategy proofs valid in the long run, but maybe that's only my inner 

> I think we need another word for the opposite of gamification [...]

Just kidding, but actually that's why we are Paidia Institute, referring 
to Caillois' separation of ludus and paidia:
"Caillois also places forms of play on a continuum from ludus, 
structured activities with explicit rules (games), to paidia, 
unstructured and spontaneous activities (playfulness)"

 > I’m curious whether this information remains as a form of silent
 > inspiration to the thesis, or if it is actually written down in some
 > way. Do you refer to the artworks even in passing?

Haven't decided yet, if I should include it and if so: how?

Lots of things to think about. Thanks.

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