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

By Van Cleve Morris | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
The Contemporary Outlook: Experimentalism

EXPERIMENTALISM AND AMERICAN EDUCATION

The rationale of a scientific age

Essentialism, as we stated earlier, may still be considered the most widely practiced philosophy in the American school. But there are many who say that its star is failing and that its place is about to be taken by Experimentalism. Certainly in theoretical circles -- in teachers' colleges and schools of education -- Experimentalists have captured almost all of the major strongholds. Understandably this causes much hand-wringing and brow-wiping among the more conservative elements in the educational community, and they are delaying their retreat as long as possible and leaving the field to the newcomers only with the greatest reluctance.

One of the things which tend to delay full acceptance of Experimentalism is its rather marked novelty as a philosophic system. As noted earlier, when we come to Experimentalism we must recognize a sharp break in continuity -- both historical and analytical -- with the older views of Idealism, Realism, and Neo-Thomism. One of the things that characterize this break is the somewhat unorthodox way in which Experimentalism was born. The earlier philosophies were, for the most part, products of

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