Philosophy and the American School: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Education

By Van Cleve Morris | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN
Comparative Epistemology and the Educative Process

EPISTEMOLOGY AND EDUCATION

Knowing theories and the nature of learning

If philosophy has anything to do with education, we should expect to find this relationship at the very juncture where we now find ourselves: the juncture between a theory of knowing and a theory of teaching. Our present situation can be contrasted with that in which we found ourselves at the beginning of Chapter Four. On account of the technical and abstract nature of metaphysical problems, it could perhaps be argued that the study of ontology should be left to the philosophers, that it is too far removed from the professional concerns of teachers. But this could never be said of epistemology -- our present concern -- for epistemology is an active and fertile breeding ground for some very important educational ideas. This is so for a variety of reasons.

First, whatever the world is ontologically, it must somehow be "gotten at" by an ordinary human being, by the individual who has neither the sophistication nor the specialized terminology of the trained philosopher, if it is to have any human use to him. That is while ontology is essentially a study of the cosmos, epistemology is the study of how human beings take hold of their cosmos. Epistemology, as it were, introduces

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