The aforementioned “Further Iteration”

Posted: November 1, 2007 in Brainstorm, iteration, List, meta, Usability

I said before that I wanted to make a list of everything that interests me. My hope in doing so was to be able to figure out what part of this interest I want to focus on for the paper I am currently working on. I’ll get to that in a moment. Now, the list, including what was and adding what must also be:

  • Development of Technology
  • Process of invention (both user centered and otherwise)
  • Predictive power of science fiction
  • Conflict between ‘popular’ fiction and ‘Literary’ fiction (as examined through usability)
  • Pedagogy
  • Peer responding/editing
  • Parallels (between programing/writing)
  • Parallels and links between Philosophy and English Studies
  • Iteration
  • Writing Studies
  • Writing History
  • Philosophy
  • Logic
  • User Centering
  • Ease
  • Accessibility
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • New Media
  • Usability
  • History of writing
  • Methods of writing
  • Audience

The list is likely to continue to grow. Realistically, it should always grow; I should constantly be advancing what I am interested in.

Right now, though, I need to focus. My original problem with the paper I was writing was, I think, that I wasn’t focused enough. I didn’t follow my own mental model. Let me digress to explain that.

My mental model of different academic levels is as follows: As an undergraduate, you read a book. As a Master’s student, you read one chapter of that book. As a PhD student, you read one sentence of that chapter. This metaphor is really just about how focused on a subject you get. I’ve never BEEN a PhD student (though hopefully that will change within the next 10 months), but that is my impression. A PhD is about becoming an expert in a very small part of a large field.

When I was an undergraduate, I studied philosophy. It was a very broad field, but as I reached my senior year I started to focus on logic and philosophy of science. I wrote an honor’s thesis about The Only X and Y Principle (the idea that the identity relation of two things, X and Y, depends only on those two things and not on anything outside of them). That was my first experience of really focusing.

I then moved into a graduate philosophy program, which did not go as well as I wanted it to. I think that I was perhaps too focused; already I was worried about just one sentence (the only X and Y), and wasn’t willing to read the rest of the chapter, to strain the metaphor a bit.

My point is that in the past, my problem has usually been that I am TOO focused. Now it seems that my problem is the reverse. Well, it’s good to experience the whole range.

In an effort to lessen the problem, I have to think what slice of my interest I most want to write about right now. Figuring this out deserves a story itself, but I feel that I’ve rambled on enough for this entry. In an effort to keep this blog as user-friendly as possible, I would have to cut the post if I went any longer. Rather than do that, I am electing for the cognitive break of starting a new post, which I will do presently.

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