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Some Philosophical Orientations of Educational Research


Some Philosophical Orientations of Educational Research You Do What You Think, I Think Jurgen Habermas Knowledge and Human Interest (1971) There is a relationship ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Some Philosophical Orientations of Educational Research

Some Philosophical Orientations of Educational
  • You Do What You Think, I Think

Jurgen Habermas
  • Knowledge and Human Interest (1971)

There is a relationship
  • Between our knowledge
  • And our interests - what we want to use knowledge

Habermas (Frankfort School)
  • Was a reaction to positivism.
  • Positivism is the philosophy that the only true
    knowledge is knowledge based on actual sense
  • True knowledge only comes from affirmation of
    theories through strict scientific method.

In Positivism
  • Metaphysical speculation is avoided.
  • Positivism was developed by Auguste Comte (the
    first sociologist) in the mid 19th century.

The Positivistic idea
  • is sometimes referred to as a "scientistic"
  • it is often shared by those who believe in the
    necessity of progress through scientific
    progress, and by those who argue that any method
    for gaining knowledge should be limited to
    natural, physical, and material approaches.

In Educational Psychology
  • a positivistic approach is favoured by
  • BF Skinners work (I did these experiments, and
    people respond to positive and negative
    reinforcement, ergo we should )

Comte first theorized
  • about positivism
  • He saw the scientific method as replacing
    metaphysics in the history of thought, and who
    observed the circular dependence of theory and
    observation in science

Comte theorized that
  • society undergoes three different phases in its
    quest for the truth (the Law of three stages).
  • These three phases are the theological, the
    metaphysical, and the positive phases.

In the theological phase
  • Whole-hearted belief in all things with reference
    to God. (God had reigned supreme over human
    existence pre-Enlightenment.)
  • Humanity's place in society was governed by the
    Church with humans accepting church doctrines and
    not questioning the world.

In the metaphysical phase
  • (the time since the Enlightenment to the time
    right after the French Revolution) was steeped in
    logical rationalism.
  • In this second phase universal rights of humanity
    are most important.
  • Humanity is born with certain rights, that should
    not and cannot be taken away, which must be
  • Democracies and dictators rose and fell in
    response to humans innate rights.

In Comtes positive (final) phase
  • The central idea is that individual rights are
    more important than the rule of any one person.
  • Humanitys ability to govern itself makes this
    stage different from the rest.
  • Any person can achieve anything based on his or
    her individual free will and authority.

In Comtes positive (final) phase
  • Insight is democratic - because we all can - and
    should - see the same things.
  • If we can just figure things out (using science)
    we can overcome the naturalistic fallacy (the
    belief that we can move from the is to the
  • The third principle is most important in the
    positive stage.

Knowledge constitutive interests
  • Divides knowledge into three categories
  • - Technical empirical knowledge
  • - Practical Interpretive knowledge
  • - Emancipatory (critical) knowledge

Technical empirical knowledge
  • Arises out of the Enlightenment and is, in
    essence, scientific.

Technical empirical modes of understanding
  • involve developing a theory and then making sets
    of highly contrived observations that seek to
    either prove or disprove the theory.
  • The Fraser Institute follow this logic. the word
    limitation cannot be found in their work.

Practical Interpretive knowledge
  • Seeks to measure the world as we live it.
  • Learning and knowledge evolve from observing the
    world as it comes.
  • At the core of this is language and
    interpretation. language mediates reality, e.g.
    Fred Rayners language of work

Practical Interpretive knowledge
  • is represented by the wisdom of experience. e.g.
    there is a reason for Freds language being thus

Emancipatory knowledge
  • Is achieved through a process of 'critical
  • We ponder the state of our knowledge, and what
    has brought us to think in such ways.

To emancipate one's thinking
  • is to think about what we think, why we think it,
    and what has influenced us to think this way.
  • For example, how has the culture of teaching
    that I learned at the University of Alberta
    influenced my actions?

Habermas believes
  • technical empirical knowledge is so in love with
    itself that it poorly tolerates challenges to it
    as a basis of knowledge.

When referring to science
  • Habermas terms this dominance 'scientism. the
    bi-serialized hard data
  • This is science's belief in its own supreme
  • Thus, there is a 'hegemony' of science over

Habermas notes that
  • ultimately, truth cannot be grounded in evidence,
    but in consensus. his bias
  • However, the two (evidence and consensus) draw
    together in Habermas' "ideal speech situation".

Habermas Ideal Speech Situation
  • The 'ideal speech situation' requires what we
    would think of as "fair play" in dialogue.

Habermas Ideal Speech Situation
  • All participants must have equal opportunity to
  • They must have the right to assert, defend, or
    question any factual or normative claim.

Habermas Ideal Speech Situation
  • This interaction also must not be constrained by
    active role or status differences or
    "one-sided binding norms.

Habermas Ideal Speech Situation
  • Finally, participants in an ideal speech
    situation must be motivated only by the desire to
    reach a consensus about the truth of statements
    and the validity of norms.

Your Task
  • We are going to work together to see if we can
    analyze how orientations of educational research
    might be explained by Habermas critique.