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Naturalizing Philosophy of Education: John Dewey in the Postanalytic Period

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Jerome A. Popp examines the role of Dewey-based pragmatism in the past, present, and future of philosophy of education. He insists that even though Marx-ian utopian thought subjugated Dewey’s ideas during the 1970s, Dewey’s epistemological arguments are directly relevant to contemporary philosophy. He contends that not only are Dewey’s arguments related to how we think abo Jerome A. Popp examines the role of Dewey-based pragmatism in the past, present, and future of philosophy of education. He insists that even though Marx-ian utopian thought subjugated Dewey’s ideas during the 1970s, Dewey’s epistemological arguments are directly relevant to contemporary philosophy. He contends that not only are Dewey’s arguments related to how we think about philosophy of education; they actually improve the thinking reflected in the literature. Dewey’s arguments, he demonstrates, provide the basis for both a rejuvenated account of conceptual analysis and a criticism of the utopian relativism currently dominating the literature. Popp notes that empiricism, manifested in the philosophy of education as analytic philosophy, holds that scientific findings, especially from psychology, have no place in philosophy. But contemporary writers in the philosophy of science contend that to justify the methods of science we must consider what is known about intelligence and cognitive processes. These arguments are relevant to the ways in which we justify claims about proper education. Naturalizing epistemology (using the results of science in philosophic theories) leads to an enhanced account of Dewey’s instrumental approach to normative inquiry and strengthens attempts to justify educational practices. Dewey’s critique of utopian approaches to social theory is bolstered by contemporary arguments in epistemology and the philosophy of science. These arguments reject the attempt by some in philosophy of education to solve value questions through an appeal to utopian thinking. Popp agrees with Dewey’s view that the proper goals of education cannot be stated in these terms.


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Jerome A. Popp examines the role of Dewey-based pragmatism in the past, present, and future of philosophy of education. He insists that even though Marx-ian utopian thought subjugated Dewey’s ideas during the 1970s, Dewey’s epistemological arguments are directly relevant to contemporary philosophy. He contends that not only are Dewey’s arguments related to how we think abo Jerome A. Popp examines the role of Dewey-based pragmatism in the past, present, and future of philosophy of education. He insists that even though Marx-ian utopian thought subjugated Dewey’s ideas during the 1970s, Dewey’s epistemological arguments are directly relevant to contemporary philosophy. He contends that not only are Dewey’s arguments related to how we think about philosophy of education; they actually improve the thinking reflected in the literature. Dewey’s arguments, he demonstrates, provide the basis for both a rejuvenated account of conceptual analysis and a criticism of the utopian relativism currently dominating the literature. Popp notes that empiricism, manifested in the philosophy of education as analytic philosophy, holds that scientific findings, especially from psychology, have no place in philosophy. But contemporary writers in the philosophy of science contend that to justify the methods of science we must consider what is known about intelligence and cognitive processes. These arguments are relevant to the ways in which we justify claims about proper education. Naturalizing epistemology (using the results of science in philosophic theories) leads to an enhanced account of Dewey’s instrumental approach to normative inquiry and strengthens attempts to justify educational practices. Dewey’s critique of utopian approaches to social theory is bolstered by contemporary arguments in epistemology and the philosophy of science. These arguments reject the attempt by some in philosophy of education to solve value questions through an appeal to utopian thinking. Popp agrees with Dewey’s view that the proper goals of education cannot be stated in these terms.

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