Beautiful minds is the name I have chosen for a course that aims to approach thinking not via a prescribed theory, method or discipline but rather adopt an experimental-empirical approach and investigate thought as it is born, lives, evolves (and also dies) in its “natural environment”, that is, minds. Here we are going to experiment with observing thought as it emerges, and if possible, its circumstances of arising and development.
If we are to investigate the ‘zoology’ of thought, what species of thought are there, or, if you wish, what species of mind-producing-thought are there? I would suggest two initial guidelines:
- No a priori assumptions regarding what is to be considered thought and what is not — If we take thought to broadly mean the expression of minds, then, many such expressions wouldn’t be conventionally considered to be thinking at all. In this course, we will consider diverse expressions of minds as likely modes of thinking and try to make sense of them and learn from them.
- Not all minds are expressing interesting or significant forms of thinking and not all forms of thinking are interesting — There are forms of thinking which are very ubiquitous. For example, the forms of thinking that help us to make sense of everyday situations. These may be a topic for observation and study on their own account, but here we will be focusing on singular and non-conventional forms of thinking and the minds that produce(d) them. We are particularly interested to get familiar with, understand, learn and assimilate forms of thinking that are uniquely outstanding, excellent and valuable.