Wednesday, 19 December 2012


What will he ask for next?
The little green man from Mars offers a handy algorithm for seeing what Conductive Education looks like to outsiders. I am surprised that I have brought him out for a run only a couple of times before:

I was recently asked what there is readily to hand on line about András Pető, something scholarly. How would I advise the proverbial little green man to find out?

Simple. I shall suggest that he looks up “András Pető” on Google Scholar (motto: 'Stand on the shoulders of giants'):

Given the Hungarian way of writing names, I suggest that he try “Pető András” too.

There are perhaps other versions of the name that I could suggest, but I do not want him to think from the start that he could be in for a hard time.


There looks to be a quite a bit of scholarly stuff on line mentioning András Pető, and Pető András. The UK version of Google Scholar pulls down 109 hits, and a quick scan suggests that this includes only a few misidentifciations:

The same edition of Google Scholar finds fewer for Pető András (36), with rather a higher number of false identifications.

Items for free

I have no intention of paying up thirty or so US dollars needed actually to read many of the items listed, so I suggest to LGM that we restrict our immediate attention to articles that are available on line in full and for free. Cautioning that I have no way of knowing how representative this minority is of the whole, I find him a good morning's read of online scholarly materials mentioning András Pető (and Pető András).

Job done? Not quite, I would prefer now to leave him to get on with it. but I know from past experience that even knowledgeable humans need considerable help to talk them through 'literature' that on its own is often virtually meaningless and bears little or no relationship to other items found – so this could take the whole day.

AP in scholarly writing freely accessible on line

András Pető
There are also some half-dozen items written in Chinese characters but my computer is presently having compatibility problems and we have to let these go for the moment.

Pető András
Including this one, surely the weirdest offshoot ever:
Not a lot in Hungarian.

What does it all add up to?

There is some interesting and useful stuff in the above lists. And some dreadful nonsense too. By the end of the afternoon LGM is beginning to flag. This is not because the material itself is intellectually onerous but because he is struggling to separate the wheat from the chaff and make sense of the whole. In other fields surely, he asks the people involved have mechanisms that on the whole serve to separate what is worth knowing from what is not, to establish a structure, a hierarchy of knowledge. Here, however, is a field that paradoxically trumpets the virtues of holism while at the same time doing nothing to bind together for itself a coherent, mutually compatible knowledge base.

Take me to your leader
I knew that sooner of later he would ask that. LGM always do.   What do I say to him now?



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