Thursday, September 29, 2011

On the Myth of Multitasking - Introduction

This entire post is, for the time being, an unproven assertion. Since our second son, Étienne, was born on August 29 (and even before, because my wife was in the hospital with complications for a time), my blogging has been intermittent at best. Why? Because multitasking is a myth.

There are several problems with that statement, none of which dissuades me from making it but all of which I would nonetheless like to probe, if for no other reason then to get myself back into the habit of blogging.

One problem is the widely held folk belief that certain people (women, in particular) can multitask.

Another problem is the fact that, well, in a sense we can all multitask. After all, I currently have three programs open on my laptop, some with multiple windows for a total of five windows.

The main problem, then, is the linguistic one. It is the problem that derails and renders ludicrous so many discussions between intelligent adults. The problem: what do I mean by "multitasking"? It does not have one static meaning, as much as I might try to argue for one. So to discuss the statement "multitasking is a myth," we need to agree upon the following process:

1) I explain what I mean by it.
2) You accept my definition as the topic of discussion.
3) We then use it to evaluate the statement.

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