ABSTRACT: While we applaud several aspects of Lilian Bermejo-Luque's novel theory of argumentation and especially welcome its epistemological dimensions, in this discussion we raise doubts about her conception of argumentation, her account of argumentative goodness, and her treatments of the notion of “giving reasons” and of justification.RESUMEN: Aunque aprobamos varios aspectos de la nueva teoría de la argumentación propuesta por Lilian Bermejo Luque y, en particular, su dimensión epistemológica, en este debate planteamos algunas dudas sobre su concepción de la argumentación, (...) su análisis de la bondad argumentativa y su tratamiento de la noción de “dar razones” y de justificación. (shrink)
Philosophy of education has an honored place in the history of Western philosophical thought. Its questions are as vital now, both philosophically and practically, as they have ever been. In recent decades, however, philosophical thinking about education has largely fallen off the philosophical radar screen. Philosophy of education has lost intimate contact with the parent discipline to a regrettably large extent--to the detriment of both. The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Education is intended to serve as a general introduction to (...) key issues in the field, to further the philosophical pursuit of those issues, and to bring philosophy of education back into closer contact with general philosophy. Distinguished philosophers and philosophers of education, most of whom have made important contributions to core areas of philosophy, turn their attention in these 28 essays to a broad range of philosophical questions concerning education. The chapters are accessible to readers with no prior exposure to philosophy of education, and provide both surveys of the general domain they address, and advance the discussion in those domains in original and fruitful ways. Together their authors constitute a new wave of general philosophers taking up fundamental philosophical questions about education--the first such cohort of outstanding general philosophers to do so (in English) in a generation. (shrink)
In this review of Christopher Winch's new book, Education, Autonomy and Critical Thinking (2006), I discuss its main theses, supporting some and criticising others. In particular, I take issue with several of Winch's claims and arguments concerning critical thinking and rationality, and deplore his reliance on what I suggest are problematic strains of the later Wittgenstein. But these criticisms are not such as to upend Winch's powerful critique of antiperfectionism and 'strong autonomy' or his defence of 'weak autonomy'. His account (...) of autonomy as an educational aim is important and in several respects compelling. (shrink)
Is 'education' a thick epistemic concept? The answer depends, of course, on the viability of the 'thick/thin' distinction, as well as the degree to which education is an epistemic concept at all. I will concentrate mainly on the latter, and will argue that epistemological matters are central to education and our philosophical thinking about it; and that, insofar, education is indeed rightly thought of as an epistemic concept. In laying out education's epistemological dimensions, I hope to clarify the degree to (...) which it makes sense to regard the concept as 'thick'. I also discuss the relationship between philosophy of education and virtue epistemology and the sense in which being educated might itself be thought to be an epistemic virtue. Finally, I urge virtue epistemologists in particular and epistemologists generally to turn their attention to questions of education, to further both the philosophy of education and epistemology itself. (shrink)
In his recent work in social epistemology, Alvin Goldman argues that truth is the fundamental epistemic end of education, and that critical thinking is of merely instrumental value with respect to that fundamental end. He also argues that there is a central place for testimony and trust in the classroom, and an educational danger in over-emphasizing the fostering of students’ critical thinking. In this paper I take issue with these claims, and argue that (1) critical thinking is a fundamental end (...) of education, independently of its instrumental tie to truth, and (2) it is critical thinking, rather than testimony and trust,that is educationally basic. (shrink)
Central to argumentation theory is a concern with normativity. Argumentation theorists are concerned, among other things, with explaining why some arguments are good (or at least better than others) in the sense that a given argument provides reasons for embracing its conclusion which are such that a fair- minded appraisal of the argument yields the judgment that the conclusion ought to be accepted -- is worthy of acceptance -- by all who so appraise it.
How should we think about the interrelationships that obtain among Philosophy, Education, and Culture? In this paper I explore the contours of one such interrelationship: namely, the way in which educational and (other) philosophical ideals transcend individual cultures. I do so by considering the contemporary educational and philosophical commitment to multiculturalism. Consideration of multiculturalism, I argue, reveals important aspects of the character of both educational and philosophical ideals. Specifically, I advance the following claims: i) We are obliged to embrace the (...) moral and political directives of multiculturalism. ii) This obligation is a moral one: that is, multiculturalism is justified on moral grounds. iii) Far from entailing any philosophically problematic form of cultural relativism, multiculturalism is itself a ‘universal’ or ‘transcultural’ ideal. iv) Moreover, the advocacy of multiculturalism presupposes another kind of universality, dubbed below ‘transcultural normative reach.’ v) Consequently, multiculturalism should not be understood as entailing the demise of ‘universalistic’ dimensions of either philosophy or education. (shrink)
In Educating Reason, Harvey Siegel presented the case regarding rationality and critical thinking as fundamental education ideals. In Rationality Redeemed? , a collection of essays written since that time, he develops this view, responds to major criticisms raised against it, and engages those critics in dialogue. In developing his ideas and responding to critics, Siegel addresses main currents in contemporary thought, including feminism, postmodernism and multiculturalism.
In Biro and Siegel (1992) we argued that a theory of argumentation mustfully engage the normativity of judgments about arguments, and we developedsuch a theory. In this paper we further develop and defend our theory.
In two recent papers, I criticized Ronald N. Giere's and Larry Laudan's arguments for 'naturalizing' the philosophy of science (Siegel 1989, 1990). Both Giere and Laudan replied to my criticisms (Giere 1989, Laudan 1990b). The key issue arising in both interchanges is these naturalists' embrace of instrumental conceptions of rationality, and their concomitant rejection of non-instrumental conceptions of that key normative notion. In this reply I argue that their accounts of science's rationality as exclusively instrumental fail, and consequently that their (...) cases for 'normatively naturalizing' the philosophy of science fail as well. (shrink)
It is with some trepidation that I offer this critical review of Feyerabend's new book. I do not relish the prospect of getting involved in one of the nasty little fights Feyerabend picks with those who criticize his work. Nevertheless, Feyerabend's work cries out for critical attention. Of particular interest is the degree to which this new work deepens or enhances Feyerabend's earlier castigations of Reason. Fans of Feyerabend will be disappointed to learn that Feyerabend's philosophy is not deepened or (...) enhanced in any significant way, and that his responses to his critics are on the whole unconvincing. (shrink)
This paper considers two philosophical problems and their relation to science education. The first involves the rationality of science; it is argued here that the traditional view, according to which science is rational because of its adherence to (a non-standard conception of) scientific method, successfully answers one central question concerning science''s rationality. The second involves the aims of education; here it is argued that a fundamental educational aim is the fostering of rationality, or its educational cognate, critical thinking. The ramifications (...) of these two philosophical theses for science education are then considered, and a science education which takes reasons in science as its fundamental feature is sketched. (shrink)
In his (1988), Brian Baigrie criticizes my earlier discussion of the rationality of science (Siegel 1985). In this response, I argue that (1) Baigrie misses the point of my tripartite distinction between different questions one can ask about science's rationality, (2) Baigrie's argument that the history of the development of methodological principles is crucial to philosophical discussion of the rationality of science is flawed, and (3) Baigrie's charge that my view is "anemic" rests on a failure to appreciate the point (...) of my tripartite distinction. (shrink)
The traditional views of science as the possessor of a special method, and as the epitome or apex of rationality, have come under severe challenges for a variety of historical, psychological, sociological, political, and philosophical reasons. As a result, many philosophers are either denying science its claim to rationality, or else casting about for a new account of its rationality. In this paper a defense of the traditional view is offered. It is argued that contemporary philosophical discussion regarding the rationality (...) of science is plagued by a failure to distinguish among three different questions, all taken to be "the" question of the rationality of science. Once these questions are delineated, it becomes possible to answer one of them in such a way that the traditional link between science's rationality and its method is reestablished--although the scientific method is itself given a non-traditional rendering. In short, it is argued that there is a feature of science which is appropriately characterized as its method; that this method does in fact secure science's rationality; and that science is therefore correctly construed as preeminently rational. It is suggested in addition that the philosophy of science is itself best seen as a primarily epistemological activity, and consequently that a correction from the excessively historicist conception of recent philosophy of science is in order. (shrink)
In his 1983 article, Paul A. Roth defends the Quinean project of naturalized epistemology from the criticism presented in my 1980 article. In this note I would like to respond to Roth's effort. I will argue that, while helpful in advancing and clarifying the issues, Roth's defense of naturalized epistemology does not succeed. The primary topic to be clarified is Quine's "no first philosophy" doctrine; but I will address myself to other points as well.
Gerald Doppelt's recent ?Kuhn's Epistemological Relativism: An Interpretation and Defense? (Inquiry, Vol. 21 , pp. 33?86) offers a reconstruction of Thomas Kuhn's views concerning theory choice in science in which Kuhn's ?incommensurability thesis?, and his epistemological relativism, are defended. It is argued that Doppelt's reconstruction fails to provide an adequate defense, and that both Kuhn's incommensurability thesis, and his epistemological relativism, as reconstructed by Doppelt, remain philosophically unacceptable.
Reichenbach's well-known distinction between the context of discovery and the context of justification has recently come under attack from several quarters. In this paper I attempt to reconsider the distinction and evaluate various recent criticisms of it. These criticisms fall into two main groups: those which directly challenge Reichenbach's distinction; and those which (I argue) indirectly but no less seriously challenge that distinction by rejecting the related distinction between psychology and epistemology, and defending the "naturalizing" of epistemology. I argue that (...) these recent criticisms fail, and that the distinction remains an important conceptual tool necessary for an adequate understanding of the way in which scientific claims purport to appropriately portray our natural environment. (shrink)