The second course of the specialization EVALUATING PROBLEMS will show you how humans think and how to utilize different disciplinary approaches to tackle problems more effectively. It advances your knowledge of your own field by teaching you to look at it in new ways.
EVALUATING PROBLEMS is constructed in the following way: Week I. “Thinking about Thinking” – How problem solving evolved in nature, how the mechanics of our brains work, and the psychological biases that can emerge when we think. Week II. “Philosophy, Science, and Problem Solving” – How humans have historically approached problem solving, from ancient times to the present. Week III. “Approaching Problems in the Natural Sciences” – How people in the natural sciences deconstruct problems. Week IV. “Statistics and Problem Solving” – How statistics can be used to evaluate problems and think critically. Week V. “Approaching Problems in the Humanities” – How people in the social sciences and humanities deconstruct problems. Week VI. “Evaluating the Anthropocene” – How to evaluate the problems of the Anthropocene.
The Evolution of Problem Solving
-Welcome to the second course of our specialisation on solving complex problems! In this module, we will introduce you to modes of thinking, how our capacity for thinking has evolved, and the blindspots that can still arise out of our fragile, blindly evolved, mammalian brains.
Philosophy, Science, and Problem Solving
-In this module we shall explore how human cultures evaluate complex problems, taking in global perspectives from history, looking at modern science, and examining cases where contemplation of problems go beyond science into the field of ethics and society.
Approaching Problems in the Natural Sciences
-This module will look at how we evaluate problems in the sciences in its various branches, and contemplate how these methods may lend themselves to our own approach to complex problems.
Statistics and Problem Solving
-In this module we will examine the very important role that statistics play in evaluating complex problems and certain skills and approaches that can be utilised in our own domains.
Approaching Problems in the Humanities
-In this module, we will examine the similarities and differences regarding how we approach complex problems in different areas of the humanities. Given the extreme complexity of human society, a multi-faceted approach is not surprising, but we shall also examine the common threads that run through all approaches.
Evaluating the Anthropocene
-In this module, we shall apply what we've learned to our examination of complex problems in the Anthropocene. In such an age and in such a tangled system an increasingly transdisciplinary approach is required to make the right judgements and arrive at the best solutions.
David Baker, David Christian and Shawn Ross