Online-Journal für systemische Entwicklungen

More than Cool Reason: „Withness-thinking“ or „systemic thinking“ and „thinking about systems“

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John Shotter

John Shotter

John Shotter, Emeritus Professor of Communication am Department of Communication, University of New Hampshire und Research Associate am Centre for Philosophy of Natural & Social Science (CPNSS) an der London School of Economics, London, UK,  ist einer der wichtigen Wegbereiter des Sozialen Konstruktionismus in den Geisteswissenschaften (Foto: Sein theoretischer Fokus liegt auf der Bedeutung des Körpers und konkreter Praktiken im Kontext sozialer Kommunikation, also auf dem, was man mit dem Stichwort Embodiment nur sehr allgemein markieren kann. Neben seinen umfangreichen theoretischen Arbeiten und Veröffentlichungen ist er in ständigem Austausch mit Praktikern aus dem Feld der systemischen Therapie und des Gesundheitswesens. In einem spannenden Aufsatz für das International Journal of Collaborative Practices aus dem Jahre 2012 befasst er sich mit dem Unterschied zwischen „systemic thinking“ und „thinking about systems“.

Im abstract heißt es: „Many of our difficulties in our practical lives are not of the form of ‘problems’ that we can solve by reasoning; nor are they ‘empirical problems’ that we can solve by discovering something currently unknown to us by the application of a science-like methodology. They are difficulties of a quite another kind: they are relational or orientational difficulties to do with how we, as practitioners, spontaneously respond to features in our surroundings with appropriate anticipations ‘at the ready’, so to speak, thus to ‘go on’ within them without being (mis)lead into taking any inappropriate next steps. Difficulties of this second kind are not solved but resolved in the course of our ‘moving about’ within our surroundings and in our tentative explorations of the possible next steps they make available to us. Thus the outcomes of our inquiries as practitioners are not to be measured in terms of their end points – in terms of their objective outcomes – but in terms of what we learn along the way in the course of the unfolding movements they led us into making. In other words, rather than resulting in nameable ‘things’ out in the world, i.e., products, their results come to be registered in our (still in process) embodied capacities and sensitivities. What is special about this kind of learning without explicit teaching is that it occurs spontaneously and throughout our lives; it is basic and prior to all our more self-conscious learning and teaching. It gives rise to what I have elsewhere called withness-thinking or thinking systemically, and my purpose here is to explore the collaborative nature of the practices involved in such sensitivities coming to be shared within a social group.“
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