Existential football – a.k.a. the production of knowledge revisited

Today’s revision efforts have been focussed on production of knowledge. Of all of the blocks in the module, this has been my favourite. I enjoyed writing the final TMA on individual differences (and really enjoyed the mark that I got for it) and both of the two probable exam chapters are fascinating as well.

If I get a choice on the exam, I’m still leaning towards writing about bystander intervention and Francis Cherry’s critique of Darley and Latanės work. There are so many angles to critique and counter critique from, the course themes of power and situated knowledges are everywhere and I can even remember all of the details of Darley and Latanės experiment. I also remember the two experiments that Cherry uses as part of her critique and even better – as she uses these for support while arguing from a social constructionist epistemology I can use that to either counter-critique her work or suggest a potential reconciliation between perspectives … which is what I think she is kind of arguing for anyway by the end of her paper (“standpoint epistemology”). Wonderful stuff!

The embodiment chapter is interesting too, however. It may be the only chance I have in the exam to look at phenomenological psychology in any depth. This is because I’m pretty certain that I’ll choose to do a question on attitudes over attribution due to the fuzziness of Langdridge and Butt’s critique of the FAE and worse, their non-explanation of how phenomenology accounts for attributions. I have however seen a valiant attempt at this on the OU forum today. I hope I don’t embarrass Katie by name-checking her here, but I thought it was a fantastic exposition of a line of argument that would work very well in the exam.  I’m sure I could remember it, but I’m just not convinced that I could make the argument with any real conviction! Fundamentally, I have a real problem in believing that French and German existentialists have very much to say about the “real world” – which of course, according to them, doesn’t exist!!! Like so many of the chapters, the one on attributions is interesting, but not well written when it comes to working out how to revise it or write an assignment from it.

So as the group processes block is largely mainstream vs discursive, I already have a chance to talk about power and situated knowledges if I want too. Additionally, the embodiment chapter seems far easier to bend to a discussion of agency-structure than any of the group processes material (although I suppose that it could be used in a critique of Janis vs Potter & Reicher) or even the attitudes chapter which is easier to focus a discussion around individual-social dualisms and power in my view.

Maybe I will have made my mind up by Thursday afternoon!

While I was thinking about existentialist philosophy and its role in psychology earlier on today, it led me naturally to procrastinate by looking up on YouTube the “Bruces” sketch from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, as well as the “Philosopher’s Song”. However, I also found this little gem that I’d forgotten about – a football match involving German philosophers taking on the Greeks. It’s brilliant – and here it is to finish off with tonight. For those who don’t want to know the result, look away now 🙂


  • Gail Ollis

    Grateful for the much-needed grin. To mangle another footballing moment: I wish it was all over…. It isn’t yet!

    • tim

      It’s this bit of the commentary that I like best:

      “Socrates scores, got a beautiful cross from Archimedes. The Germans are disputing it. Hegel is arguing that the reality is merely an a priori adjunct of non-naturalistic ethics, Kant via the categorical imperative is holding that ontologically it exists only in the imagination, and Marx is claiming it was offside.”

      It sounds like a lot of my practice arguments for Thursday. Oh dear.

      Hope it goes well for you on Thursday Gail!


  • Katie Stanley

    I’m very flattered to have a mention on your blog! I agree, it is a bit of a fuzzy argument but I kinda like it anyway! I may very well end up doing the question on attitudes but hedging my bets in trying to prepare for both. Like you I think bystander intervention is more straightforward but embodiment not bad either. Whatever question comes up I have a feeling the exam will be easier than last year’s Dd303!.

Your thoughts?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.