Perspectives and Peers 6, Conclusion

Note: This is a selection from Perspectives and Peers, part of tdaxp‘s SummerBlog ’06

Multiple Perspectives Peer Interaction
Elkind Mixed Mixed
Moshman Yes Mixed
Maalouf Mixed Mixed
In-Class Papers
Steinberg and Morris Mixed Mixed
Allen et al Yes Mixed
von Glasersfeld Yes Yes
Out-of-Class Papers
Driver Yes Mixed
Frank Yes Both
Hursh Yes Mixed
Schulman Yes Yes
Schwartz Yes Yes
Subject Yes Mixed

From the above table, one can easily see the strong field support for multiple perspectives but the mixed field support in peer interaction in constructing rationality.

The readings clearly support the value of multiple perspectives. Only three readings do not: David Elkin, Amin Maalouf, and Steinberg and Morris. However, each of these three can be explained as due to particularities of the author or study. David Elkind’s reaction was not explicit and against multiple perspectives as such, but rather implicit in his criticisms of the economic viability of life in the United States. Amin Maalouf’s skepticism towards both is explained by the fact tha the is looking at general populations, not individuals. It is well known that large crowds, and even countries, can act significantly less rational than their constituent members. Likewise, the mixed reading Steinberg and Morris is only possible if one assumes that multiple perspectives are needed to sustain rationality, not just create it. That may be too great of an assumption. Otherwise, every reading argues in support of multiple perspectives. As do the statements of the interview subject.

No such conclusion can be reached about the value of peer interaction. Not only are Elkind and Maalouf still skeptical, but even Moshman qualifies his support The assigned reading in class is generally mixed, and the out-of-class material can contradict each other. Opinions range from peer interaction is needed, to peer interaction and non-peer interaction, to warnings about the “counterproductive” effects of peer interaction from the interview subject.

Given this, multiple perspectives can be seen as the vital element in building rationality and rational behavior. Further research must be done for peer interaction, though, to see what place it has to play.

Perspectives and Peers, a tdaxp series:
Perspectives and Peers 1. Introduction
Perspectives and Peers 2. Books Assigned in Class
Perspectives and Peers 3. Articles Assigned in Class
Perspectives and Peers 4. Other Articles
Perspectives and Peers 5. Interview with the Subject
Perspectives and Peers 6. Conclusion
Perspectives and Peers 7. Bibliography
Perspectives and Peers 8. Interview with Mark Safranski