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Assignment Prompts
1. CONCEPTUAL ANALYSIS (Sowa) (one page and half length)
Conceptual analysis is a human cognitive activity. Our aim is to identify the concepts “behind” the words. Look carefully at the Sowa-Sloman heuristic. Try it out with two or three concepts that are important to you.
2. PICTURES—AND A THOUSAND WORDS (Hall) (one page and half length )
If there are concepts “behind” words, then most certainly there are concepts “behind” the various images that we see.
Going from images (visual signs) to concepts is non-trivial. Pick two or three examples from Hall and review them critically.
3. EXPERIALENTIALISM AND MENTAL MODELS (Senge) (Three pages length)
Senge’s book is about systems thinking. Systems’ thinking is a human cognitive activity. Systems thinking use systems concepts to help us understand the referent systems “out-there”. These systems concepts are valuable in their own right, and we will definitely review the most prominent ones.
But for us, the most important area to study in the Senge book is a mental model. These mental models are typically conceptual models, but they still may contain intuitive, sub-conceptual components.
A paradox is a conflict between what we expect on the basis of our own mental models versus what we actually find to be the “state-of-affairs” and “out-there” in the referent world.
Describe your own experiences with your own mental models. Surely there are two or three vivid examples that you can remember when your mental models did not quite match what you have found in your surroundings.
Language is technology to alter other peoples’ mental models (Roy Hagman). Describe your experiences encountering other people’s thinking and world views. What did they say? What did you say? What did you both mean? Describe two or three examples that are vivid in your mind of encountering other people’s mental models that did not quite match yours.

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