Theodore Scaltsas

Professor

Background

Dory Scaltsas (西奥多 斯卡特萨斯) holds a Chair of Philosophy in the Philosophy Department.

He is developing the theory of BrainMining [脑发掘] of emotive lateral solutions: Harvard Business Review (哈佛商评); and The Leader's Guide to Problem Solving

He received his doctorate in philosophy at Oxford University (D.Phil.), where he wrote his thesis on Aristotle’s metaphysics, supervised by John Ackrill and Peter Strawson. He studied philosophy and mathematics at Duke University (B.S.), and at Brandeis University (M.A.).

Dory continues his Affiliation with his alma mater, Oxford University, Wolfson College.

Dory’s first appointment was at Oxford University, New College, as Lecturer in Philosophy, 1980-84. He then joined our department and has since held Research Fellowships at:

Current Research:

                                                          Creative Design of Digital-Well-being

                                                            BrainMining for Sociopreneurship

 LET'S GET LATERAL --  LATERAL LAB

Introduction to Creative Thinking 

BrainMining [脑发掘]  [utilise our anchoring bias to solve problems creatively]

Emotive Lateral Thinking and Valuative Intelligence   [increase our space of solutions)

Creative thinking is what we are not taught, either at school or at university. Yet, it is ranked a top-trait by employers. It not being artistic, or entrepreneurial. It is about solving problems in novel ways, and tackling insoluble predicaments; problems in our personal lives, our social relations, and in business challenges. Let’s get Lateral aims to reverse this trend at Edinburgh University, and make individual and group creative thinking skills and methodology accessible to all. You will learn the way we can use our mental powers, our emotions, and even our innate cognitive biases, to spark off lateral solutions.

Projects:

  • C2Learn: BrainMining was the basis for the award of C2Learn, a European Commission research project for teaching creative thinking  in schools (€3.3M; 2012-2015). 
  • Archelogos Argument-Base: The Arguments in Plato and Aristotle.  Pioneering Digital Humanities Project, 1990-present. Dory founded and directs Project Archelogos, a research project for the creation of an argument-database, using a new methodology for the analysis into arguments of Plato’s and Aristotle’s philosophical texts. Project Archelogos enjoys wide international collaboration and received the Henry Ford Foundation Award for the Preservation of European Culture in 1997.
  • Argument Visualisation Projects: A further series of his projects centre on Argument Visualisation -- the use of computers to graphically represent the structure and conceptual relations between theses and/or arguments:
    • GnosioGenesis, 2001-2002.
    • The Philosophy of Socrates, 2001-2003.
    • TechnoSophia, 2000-2003.
    • Elenchus: Arguments For/Against Democracy 1999.
    • Digital Democracy, 1998.
    • LogAnalysis, 1996-1998.
  • Emotions First: The Role of Emotions in Reasoning,  with EU Marie Curie Fellow, Dr Laura Candiotto.  Investigating Greek philosophers' theories of action where the battle between our desires grounded the pattern constitutive of our rationality. 

 

Creative Valuative Intelligence

Valuative Intelligence complements Emotional Intelligence, targeting values rather than emotional states. 

Creative Valuative Intelligence generates solutions that cannot be generated by deliberative practical syllogism. It results from a combination of BrainMining and Valuative Intelligence. We would be wrong to think that creative thinking or lateral problem solving are restricted to industrial products; they apply equally in the domain of emotions and values, as, e.g., in politics and social relations. We need to understand and learn how creative thinking 'works' in the emotive and valuative domains, in order to apply it to our everyday well- being.

Dory is currently working on Creative Thinking and on Valuative Intelligence, in his theory  BrainMining. Societal values (social, cultural, ethnic, religious, gender, etc. values) give rise to desires, as emotions do as well. Yet values behave differently than emotions; and values are susceptible to different kinds of alteration than emotions are. Emotionally intelligent agents can discern, and even predict their own and others’ emotional states; but Valuative Intelligence is not only a discerning ability. Valuatively Intelligent agents can indeed discern their own and others' value commitments; and they can distinguish them from emotional commitments. However, what is most challenging is the management of the interplay between the two sets of desire: emotive and valuative desires. How do valuative desires measure against emotive desires? How best to synthesise the two kinds of motivation into action? Can their synthesis be creative?   

Digital technology is driving societal change at an increasingly higher rate. Smart technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), is driving valuative intrusion into our personal lives at a galloping rate. (E.g. see the 'Ethics of Drones': https://hbr.org/cover-story/2017/05/drones-go-to-work) Challenging our values affects our emotions and our well-being, as well. How can we prepare for such value-overhaul? We certainly need to methodologies to manage our desiderative interplay. But more, can we turn the tables on smart technology intrusion and change this predicament to our advantage? Can we develop the capacity to design our values creatively, to generate a new conception of flourishing and well-being for ourselves? This is not just a defensive mechanism; it is an unprecedented opportunity to design thoroughly innovative ways of flourishing, afforded by the dawning era of digital well-being.

Visiting and research positions

  • Harvard University (1987-8)
  • Princeton University (1989)
  • University of Sydney (1991)
  • Dartmouth College (1993)
  • Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa (2000)
  • University of Cyprus (2005)

Publications

Books

Archelogos publications

Argument Analyses of Plato’s and Aristotle’s works at: http://archelogos.com/archelogos/database.htm

The Archelogos projects have been supported by the Leventis, the Carnegie, the Leverhulme, and the Kostopoulos Foundations, the Directorate of Education of the European Community, and the Hellenic Ship-owners Association in London.

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Course Organiser for the Structure of Being
  • Course Organiser for Ancient Theories of Existence

Undergraduate teaching

Greats: Aristotle lectures

Ancient Theories of Existence

The Structure of Being

Contact Hours: Wed's 1:00-2:00, DSB 6.03.

 

Current PhD students supervised

Research summary

BrainMining; Creative Lateral Thinking and Emotional Intelligence; Ancient Philosophy; Contemporary Metaphysics.

Current research interests

Dory’s current research is on the theory of BrainMining - emotive thinking - creative lateral solutions; on the relation of emotions to creative lateral thinking; and on emotions in decision making. He is also developing a theory of Duoist Creative Thinking on the basis of Yijing metaphysical principles of Chinese thought. He leads and participates in research projects for the development of methods for teaching creative lateral thinking in schools.  His has further research interests in ancient metaphysics, contemporary metaphysics, and ancient epistemology. 

Project activity

  1. Digital Exhibition of Zeno of Citium and Stoicism, for Cyprus' EU Presidency. Within the framework of Cyprus' Presidency of the European Union 2012, the Secretariat for the Presidency and the Cypriot Ministry of Education and Culture funded the creation of an Exhibition of the Ideas of Zeno and Stoicism.
  2. Creative Emotional Reasoning C2Learn Funded by EU 7th Framework Programme ICT (Information and Communication Technologies, €3.3M) to explore lateral thinking, emotions and creativity.
  3. Emotions First - The role of emotions in reasoning, Marie Curie Fellow suprvision, Dr Laur Candiotto, 2015-2017.
  4. Project Archelogos, Mr George David - 3E + Leventis Foundation. (See under Publications below).
  5. Latest research grants/projects