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Berkeley COMPSCI 260A - Lecture Notes

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CS260Human-Centered ComputingCourse OutlineJohn Canny1/21/09What to expect A pragmaticperspective on HCI and designing ―systems in context‖. We cover many popular theories within HCI, and explore their application to design.  Semester-long project should build on theories you’re exposed to, in a non-trivial way.– We’ll provide tools for doing thisWhat to expect Most of the topics we cover have had a fair influence on system design, some are ―computational theories‖ e.g.Ethnomethodology  Social network analysis We’ll cover many topics, but there will be a lot of common ground and we will try to build something new out of it.  Our first step is pre-theoretical. We cover pragmatism which is a uniquely open-minded perspective, and has had a huge influence on social science theory.Context: The 1860sAmerica is fighting an ideological war that is deeply divisive: ―..if civilization and progress are the better things, why they will conquer in the long run, we may be sure, and will stand a better change in their proper province—peace—than in war, the brother of slavery…it is slavery’s parent, child and sustainer at once..‖-Oliver Wendell HolmesThe 1870sA ―metaphysical club‖ forms at Harvard including C.S. Peirce, William James, O.W. Holmes and others. These discussions lay the groundwork for pragmatism. Over time (many decades), these ideas were developed by these three and by John Dewey and George Herbert Mead. Many of the key ideas were developed in the 1870s by Peirce, and then ignored until James’ essays 20 years later.Charles S. PeirceA mathematician first and one of thefounders of modern logic. He contributedmuch to boolean, predicate and relationallogic, and to quantification. At the same time, his philosophical works were ―outside the system,‖ and he saw the development of scientific and mathematical knowledge as social processes. Coined the term ―pragmatism‖ from the Greek word πραγμαfor ―action‖ in an article in 1878.Peirce’s ―How to Make Our Ideas Clear‖An essay from 1878, lays out the foundations for pragmatist thought. Difficult language, but very original:Human behavior is based on ritual or habit.Behavior involves cycles of doubt  action  beliefDoubt is a challenge or gap in belief. It triggers action (contemplation) about what to do in the circumstances.The result is a belief (what to do in context) which over time becomes habit.Peirce’s ―How to Make Our Ideas Clear‖Belief therefore has two key pieces: A context, which must be perceptible – what to do in ―this‖ situation, where ―this‖ can be remembered and recognized. A schema for action in that context.Peirce’s ―How to Make Our Ideas Clear‖Pragmatic notion of ―belief‖: Beliefs are different to the extent that holding them has different practical consequences for a person.  If there is no difference in any situation, then from a pragmatist perspective they are the same belief.  Several examples: transubstantiation,…, forces and accelerationsWilliam JamesStudied painting, chemisty, anatomy, natural history in several universities.He completed his MD at Harvard in 1869. He never practiced. Shifted to psychology and philosophy, eventually landing a teaching position at Harvard in 1874. James was the best-known popularizer of pragmatism. He drew primarily on Peirce’s ideas, but also Dewey and Schiller’s.James’ PragmatismIn ―What pragmatism means‖ 1907, James discusses pragmatism as a meta-theory. Observes that its approaches blunts many of the distinctions between various ―-isms‖ and ―-ologies‖. ―Science and metaphysics would work hand in hand‖…pragmatism agrees with nominalism, utilitarianism, positivism, but not rationalism. ―lies in the midst of other theories like a corridor in a hotel‖James: ―What Pragmatism Means‖Pragmatism is ―a method and a genetic theory of what is meant by truth‖Old theory ------------- new factsnew theoryScience proceeds by ―grafting‖ or layering new theory on old. He calls this the ―genetic development of ideas‖Contrasts the ―rationalist temper‖ vs. the ―pragmatist temper‖James on TheologyOne challenging aspect of James’ perspective is its support for ―non-scientific‖ belief. For James, the value of an idea is its practical impact. If an idea leads to better behavior (determined by social consensus), then it is a valid belief. So religious beliefs, superstition, cultural tradition, etc. are all potentiallyvalid belief systems.Similarly, scientific beliefs are not a-priori more valid or desirable. Their value must be demonstrated.James PragmatismShares the view that knowledge originates in experience of the world with empiricism and positivism. But includes the ―social world‖ as an essential feature. This is how ―practical‖ is defined, and where practical action happens. For this reason, pragmatism has had a huge influence on social science.In Europe…In 1900 there were two leading philosophers in Europe.Henri Bergson was a predecessor of Merleau-Ponty and Piaget, and an ally of the pragmatists. Bertrand Russell was a logician, and the author of ―A History of Western Philosophy‖. Bergson died young and his influence fadedIn Europe…By the turn of the century, mathematics had finally completed some critical ―housekeeping‖ of its foundations. In David Hilbert’s 1900 Math Society address, he proposed a bold program for the mechanization of mathematics and physical sciences.Automobiles, Flight, the Paris exposition, heralded the way to a ―technology century.‖ The 1914-18 war removed any doubt. Bergson did not survive it.And in Russia…Post-revolutionary Russia was establishing itself as a Marxist state. Its intellectuals set about creating an idealsociety. This was the era ofSergei Eisenstein in film,Stanislawsky in acting (―method‖), Rodchenko, Kandinsky in painting, Shostakovich in music,Mikhail Bakhtin in literature.Lev VygotskyVygotsky was an extraordinary scholarwho studied Law, and taught Literature, History of Art and Psychology by age 22. For many scholars of this time, Marxism provided a unifying framework for scientific, social science, and aesthetic discourse. Vygotsky took it very far, developing theories of knowledge, development, and education that were profoundly influential. His other major influence was William James.Vygotsky - EducationVygotsky is (with Piaget) the


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