Reflexive thought-ecologies: a reflection on practice

Varey William (Murdoch University, Perth, Australia)


ISSN: 0368-492X

Publication date: 11 November 2013



The development of capacities for sustainability thinking by large-scale social systems requires of the skilled practitioner complex abstract logics. There is an intricate complexity of relationships to consider in the observation of the landscape of thought. This paper aims to introduce a matrix as an orientating heuristic to guide this form of praxis and provides reflections on its use in the enactment of social learning.


The signifiers for four different orientations to learning and four abstractions in levels of learning are described. The configurations that result from their conjunction generate a matrix of 16 alternatives. These are combined into a heuristic to guide and inform reflexive praxis.


The conjunction of these two dimensions enables observations of the cybernetic interactions between levels of learning and orientations to learning. This depiction prompts considerations of the ethics and aesthetics of large-scale collaborative learning. In reflecting on the use of the heuristic device in practice, four primary observations are offered as possible considerations to inform ethical practice.


The value of this research is in enabling awareness of the relationship between levels of learning and orientations to learning. The originality is the application of apithology principles to the multi-dimensional learning landscapes found in complex thought-ecologies.



Varey, W. (2013), "Reflexive thought-ecologies: a reflection on practice", Kybernetes, Vol. 42 No. 9/10, pp. 1470-1478.

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