06 Feb How Endoxa Started – My Story
This product is the result of the long journey that my career has taken. I started as a chemical engineer working in industrial R&D. I worked on process engineering, product design and then on consumer research and eventually, market research. 25 years spent outside the UK in 5 different countries, and an arc from testing machines to finding out about how people think.
Towards the end of that career, I decided to add a new toolbox to my mind – I started a Philosophy degree by distance learning. It was a shock to study something so different, so much to read, essays to write… I nearly gave up after 2 weeks! But I completed the degree and learned a lot about reasoning and argument.
Back in the UK and thinking what to do next, I started studying argumentation more closely. I had long thought that essays were not the natural way to represent argument – the best way would be more like a network. My revision notes for philosophy exams looked like engineering flowsheets – visual maps of reasoning. Why couldn’t argument be taught and learned like that directly, rather than having to construct them myself each time?
It turns out that there is a lot of previous work and promising research into the visualisation of argument, but no real product that exists. After a lot of trial and error, and some setbacks, I came up with a design and tested the prototypes with students. This led to the development of the first production version of the software.
The product is perhaps what you might expect from an engineer who took to philosophy. It is the “Lego” approach – build an argument out of simple bricks, and add a calculation engine to evaluate the results. It is simple, intuitive, unbiased, interactive – and allows collaboration without coordination.
I believe that it is vital for students to study reasoning and to have a simple and flexible way to understand arguments. Firstly for their studies, but also because this is the only way we can engage in problem-solving with one another without conflict. Reasoning together brings us closer to truth.
Julian Plumley B.A. M.Eng
Founder & CEO – Endoxa Learning Ltd.
Endoxa Learning visualises academic arguments to help students learn key subject knowledge while improving their critical thinking skills. They are guided through subject-relevant arguments step by step, with facts and context exactly where needed. Our lessons are the ideal way to introduce students to the arguments, improve essay-writing and develop the important life skill of critical thinking.