Author Archives: Otto Laske

06/29 – Limitations of Frankfurt School Hauptseminars From a Perspective of the Dialectical Thought Form Framework (DTF)

June 2019 / Feature Articles

Otto Laske

While resurgent interest in the writings of the Frankfurt School, especially Adorno, is over-focused on the ideological content of his writings, a much more relevant aspect of Adorno’s work is that of a teacher of ‘deep’, or dialectical, thinking. Adorno’s ‘Negative Dialektik’ spells out his teaching only in a form once-removed, rather than giving an experience of his and Horkheimer’s practice in real time. This practice found its focus in what an admirer of …

4/22 – A New Approach to Dialog: Teaching the Dialectical Thought Form Framework – Part I: Foundations of Real-World Dialog

Feature Articles / April-June 2017

Otto Laske

If a simple epigram could sum up what is essential to thinking dialectically it should be that it is the art of thinking the coincidence of distinctions and connections. Its essence is fluidity structured around the hard core of the concept of absence and the 1M-4D relations it implicates. – Roy Bhaskar (1993, p. 190)

To my students


Technologically driven culture change, impoverishment of undergraduate and graduate education due to a focus on

4/22 – A New Approach to Dialog: Teaching the Dialectical Thought Form Framework – Part II: Dialoging Tools of Dialectic

Feature Articles / April-June 2017

 Otto Laske

Part II: Dialoging Tools of Dialectic

Using a Short Table of Thought Forms

The reader now realizes that in order to understand the world around it, the thinking ego uses thought forms, and that grouped together thought forms make up a living, transformational system that increasingly develops over a person’s life time (“mind”).

Since the mind is a “system”, thought forms never exist in isolation; they are therefore always ready to be deepened,

4/22 – A New Approach to Dialog: Teaching the Dialectical Thought Form Framework – Part III: Teaching Programs for, and Applications of, Dialogical Dialectic

Feature Articles / April-June 2017

Otto Laske


Part III: Teaching Programs for, and Applications of, Dialogical Dialectic

How to Develop a Teaching Program for Dialectical Thinking

Teaching dialectical thinking in a world dominated by logical thinking is a task of tall order. There is apparently no place for such thinking in a world governed by algorithms and formal- logical models.

At the same time, re-vitalizing dialectical thinking is of great value just because it provides a broadening of perspectives, not only …

11/30 – How Roy Bhaskar Expanded and Deepened the Notion of Adult Cognitive Development: A Succinct History of the DialecticalThought Form Framework (DTF)

Feature Articles / August-November 2016

Otto Laske

“The major problems in the world (today) are the result of the difference between how nature works and the way people think.” – Gregory Bateson

“Logic merely defines how the world must be if we are to successfully apply certain techniques.” – Roy Bhaskar

This article explains in the most simple terms possible how Roy Bhaskar, in his book on Dialectic: The Pulse of Freedom (1993), simultaneously deepened and expanded the notion of adult …

8/15 — From “Developmental Theory” to a Dialogical and Dialectical Epistemology: Introducing Three Modes of Structured Dialog with Clients

Feature Articles / August - November 2014

Otto Laske

In this text, I focus on the central relevance of interviewing skills in being able to lead a dialog in the structured way made possible by the Constructive Developmental Framework (CDF), whether it be social-emotional or cognitive. I do so in the context of showing that the certification as a Master Developmental Consultant/Coach at the Interdevelopmental Institute (IDM) is not based on “developmental theory”, but rather on a discipline derived from it by me, …

09/3 – Reflections on the Ethics of Process Consultation in the 21st Century

Feature Articles / August-November 2013

Otto Laske

To memory of social critic Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979)


In this paper, I am taking a critical, socio-historical perspective on what is presented today as “factual” insight into the structure of the development of adults, both social-emotional and cognitive. I intend to show that the scientific construct of “adult development” is actually an affirmative codification of a historical situation that gradually came into existence through the demise of the uomo universale of the Renaissance. …

Living Through Four Eras of Cognitive Development

Feature Articles / August 2012

Otto Laske


In this paper, I outline the graspable existential meaning of human cognitive development. By “existential” I refer not simply to the epistemological positioning of a person to the world as a knower, but the conceptual forces of the social world itself in which this positioning occurs. This world is suffused in language and is the context in which concepts are constantly being created and modified. As a result of this social process, individuals …

Feature Article: Change and Crisis in Dialectical Thinking: On the Need to Think Again When Getting Involved with Change

Feature Articles / October 2009

Otto Laske

otto laskeAbstract

I explore the concepts of “change” and “crisis” in order to put issues important in the current recession into perspective from the point of view of Western dialecticism, including what we know empirically about adult cognitive development. Specifically, I detail the diffraction of dialectic into three moments and show that they need to be coordinated to grasp change in transformational systems. In conclusion, I briefly relate these thoughts to present organizational problems and …

Leadership Coaching Tip: From an Adult-Developmental Perspective

Leadership Coaching Tips / March 2007

Interdevelopmental Institute (IDM),

Laske imageI understand “Coaching Tips” as highly generic suggestions thought to apply to all kinds of clients. From an adult-developmental perspective, such suggestions should be specific to different levels of social-emotional and cognitive maturity, measured by semi-structured interview (Laske, 2006). The notion is that generic coaching tips need to be customized to the developmental “size of person” of the client.

Below, I am taking a stab at formulating some developmental Coaching Tips specifically …