RE: [xmca] Problem solving and expertise

From: Paul Dillon <phd_crit_think who-is-at>
Date: Tue Jul 03 2007 - 14:02:49 PDT

  I really liked your statement:
   "I think sometimes we consider somebody an expert because of who they are." In rhetoric, "ethos", the reference to the character/social position of the speaker, is always an element of persuasive speech.
  Your further points about the qualities that inhere in individuals -- the reference to "divine faeries" in particular -- made me think of the concept of supernatural grace as taught in Catholic theology. Perhaps in a secularized world the need for this kind of socially charismatic trait (Durkheim's discussion of mana) becomes transferred into the secular domain and, as Jay has pointed out, always disguises some forms of power relations.
  Your illustration of Snoop doing ads with Lee Iacoca was a great example of this. The supernatual grace/mana that ad-people identify as a compelling element to include in a commercial being this expert essence, this reification of the abilities each displayed in their respective domains of activity.
  Nevertheless to just dismiss the idea of "expertise" (maybe "mastery"?) without substituting it with a broader concept would fail to take into account the fact that people, in every culture I have had contact with, actually do recognize individuals from whom they believe they can learn how to do some activity amd whom they imitate ; e.g., musicians routinely learn how to play exactly like someone whose music they like before they try to develop their own style.

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Received on Tue Jul 3 14:06 PDT 2007

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