Logic and Language of Education [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 21 (4):753-754 (1968)

Kneller's main concern is that, "If we are to understand the problems, policies, and concepts of education, we must first examine carefully the language of educational discourse." This book is a sober and readable review of several problems in modern philosophy, in which are revealed some of the strategies used by the giants of language philosophy to analyze difficult philosophical propositions and paradoxes. Each chapter of historical exposition is paralleled with a chapter of applications to problems in educational philosophy. The early part of the book is a review of John Dewey's central theses, plus a few words on research methodology in general, both of which are related to the conduct of classroom lessons; the second part of the book, which Kneller calls "Formal Analysis," is an exceedingly competent precis of work in the philosophy of science, especially Wittgenstein's and Carnap's, followed by a series of important caveats to educational researchers, reminding them of some of the serious problems of inference and generalization in the behavioral sciences; the third section, featuring Ryle, Austin, and Strawson, is called "Informal Analysis," and is principally a discussion of "ordinary language" philosophy, with applications to the familiar clichés and slogans of school administrators and politicians. Kneller favors this last group, since he feels that informal analysis is more "practical and humane," and his feelings are supported by some current conflicts between hard and soft educational research. The basic exhortation of this book, though, is that people who talk and think about education should be more philosophically competent about it, even if their philosophical blunders have not yet affected their ability to teach and make policy. He maintains that educational philosophy will not add anything new to the educational universe, but rather, clarify what is already there.—E. H. W.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 0034-6632
DOI revmetaph196821492
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