First Principles of LO LO11722

Rol Fessenden (76234.3636@CompuServe.COM)
08 Jan 97 00:02:45 EST

Replying to LO11714 --

Tony is interested in the question of 'first principles', but questions
the purpose of connecting Newton's laws of motion with Sege's five

I think we are actually saying the same thing, perhaps one of us (me) with
a scientist's background and language, and one with some other background.
A bit like two cultures trying to understand each other. I realize that
the Newtonian model deals with causes and effects, and for me this is a
valuable viewpoint, even though I also recognize it's limitations. I used
Newton only as a concrete example -- an illustration -- to clarify. And I
suggested Senge's five disciplines, not as definitively 'first principles'
butagain, only as possible examples. Let me see if I can clarify some of
the confusion.

= begin quote ==

The effort to connect the notion of (scientific) principles and Newton's
law of physics with Senge's five LO disciplines is confusing. What is the
purpose of such an exercise?

== end quote ==

The 'effort' is not to make any such connection. The effort is to
understand what I call the 'first principles' of creation of LO, and which
I believe you call "research on describing why and under what conditions
learning occurs." These are in fact two different ways to say the same
thing as far as I am concerned. I used the above example in response to
Marilyn to ensure we were talking about the same thing.

When you ask "What is the role of learning in whatever end state or
condition we are trying to achieve and/or maintain," Marilyn offered one
possible role which I think has potential. What do you think? Your
opinion that learning is a means rather than an end is a very important
one, and I am curious what others here think. I agree with you here, but
much of what has been said in this forum seems to speak of learning as an
end in itself.

When you say, "to go back to Newton and the confusion for me, one cannot
understand Newton's laws without understanding the properties of matter,"
that is actually not the case. In fact, no such theory existed when
Newton described his laws, and does not fully exist today. The beauty of
first principles is that one can single out some properties -- Newton
chose mass, distance, and time, and derived a few others like velocity and
acceleration -- and showed they explained everything he wanted to explain
about Newtonian mechanics. These components constitute substantially less
than a complete theory of matter, and yet they describe any Newtonian
phenomenon a non-physicist can observe in the real world. Getting back,
therefore, to first principles, and trying to use your language, I am led
to wonder what components of theories of organization we really need to
consider when we try to understand the fundamental and most important
causes of learning. Does this make sense? Please let me know what is


Rol Fessenden LL Bean, Inc 76234,

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