The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Learn to think differently in new English postgrad course

19:38 09/07/2019

The Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) is adding a postgraduate study in English called School of Thinking. The one-year course is being carried out at the university’s Leo Apostel Center for transdisciplinary research.

School of Thinking will focus on training students in how to approach complex problems by thinking more creatively, critically and analytically. The idea is to provide new perspectives and change how they think about tackling a task or situation, whether on a personal, local or more global scale.

Such problems or challenges could be in any sector, whether scientific, sociological, economic or technical. “Through our upbringing and education, we learn typical, well-defined ways to think as well as developing expertise in one specific field,” says cybernetics professor Francis Heylighen. “We love the idea of ‘thinking outside the box,’ but the boxes are still there, and they impede free thought without us even realising it.”

School of Thinking is targeted especially to current or future entrepreneurs, business leaders, politicians, consultants, coaches or any professional regularly confronted with complicated problems that require innovative thought processes to address.

“We want to introduce students to multiple methods of thinking that shake up their firmly held ideas and get them toppling over each other,” says Heylighen. “To find creative solutions for complex problems, we must dare to go beyond the boundaries of conceptual frameworks and disciplines, while remaining critical enough to distinguish good ideas from bad ones.”

Heylighen, a researcher in cybernetics – a field of science that explores the inherent structures and constraints of systems, whether natural or man-made – will teach the course together with other VUB professors, including mathematician and science philosopher Jean-Paul Van Bendeghem.

The VUB’s Leo Apostel Center was launched in 1995 as a transdisciplinary research department that integrates the results of diverse scientific and cultural disciplines. It is named after philosopher and logician Leo Apostel, who donated the proceeds of his Solvay Prize for lifetime achievement to get the centre started. He died the year it opened.

School of Thinking is a one-year programme, and a solid level of English is required. The fee is €4,490, though this is significantly reduced for students on the VUB Research Track. Applications for the 2019-20 year are being accepted until 20 August.

Photo: Andresr/Getty Images

Written by Flanders Today