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Mrs C Dryden Essay

Introduction We want to welcome you to this module in Theoretical frameworks in Education. We sincerely hope that you will enjoy working through the prescribed book with its interactive text, with the additional assistance of this wrap-around guide. We hope you will find the content interesting and informative. Above all we hope that this module will inspire you to think about yourself, your teaching, your own context and the wider world around you.

We use a pluralistic (more than one), problem-centred approach to expose you to several life views and the practical application of these frameworks in your specific situation. We want to emphasise that there is not one single solution to life’s problems and questions; and there certainly is not one person with all the answers. In the introduction to your prescribed book, Philip and Jane tell us that philosophy wants us to rethink, recreate and transform. Philosophy starts when people start asking questions.

We want you to ask questions while you work through this module. Play around with ideas, and include fellow students in your journey. If you want to contact your lecturers, use the web page (myUnisa), email or telephone to continue with the conversations started in the prescribed book and the study guide. In this study guide we literally guide you through the nine units of your prescribed book; you should therefore use this guide in conjunction with the prescribed book.

We give learning outcomes at the start of each unit. We will give the outcomes of the whole module, as well as the assessment criteria in your Tutorial letter 101. Good luck with your studies Your Lecturers 1 EDC1015/1 UNIT 1 Thinking clearly and learning from experience: the beginning of our new world LOGICAL EMPIRICISM SCHEMATIC OVERVIEW Philosophy of logical empiricism Main divisions Linguistic analysis Logical symbolism Empiricism D Teaching and learning Theory of behaviourism Objectives and results Reinforcement ?positive and negative D Main ideas Verification Objectivity Experience.

Logical truth Analysis Factual truth Measurement Experiments Quantitative research Scientific/mathematical statements D Main proponents B Russel AJ Ayer J Locke D Hume RS Peters BF Skinner & Vienna Circle D Advantages Disadvantages Encourage disciplined thinking Ignore human values Discourage prejudice Considers emotions as unimHelp with clear thinking portant Verifies knowledge Places too much emphasis on science 2.

LEARNING OUTCOMES After working through this unit, you will be able to .give an explanation of linguistic analysis, logical symbolism and empiricism . explain the kind of problems these theories will be able to solve . apply these theories in a teaching/training environment . give the advantages and disadvantages of espousing this way of thinking KEY CONCEPTS Keep the following key concepts in mind when reading through your prescribed book Rethinking our world (RW). We will explain the meaning of the concepts as we work through the prescribed book. . . . . . . . Linguistic analysis Logical symbolism Empiricism Verification Objectivity Experience Analysis.

INTRODUCTION We are going to look at logical empiricism (logical positivism) in this unit. This metatheory/philosophy consists of three branches, namely linguistic analysis, logical symbolism and empiricism (see RW [Rethinking our world ? we will use the abbreviation throughout the guide] p 16). ACTIVITY 1a Logical empiricism has two basic ideas: logic and empiricism. Without looking in a dictionary, try to explain what you think these words mean: ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ACTIVITY 1b Now get the dictionary and write down the definitions you get from it: ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………………………. 3 EDC1015/1 ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. We give concept clarifications as we work through this unit, and explain the three points of view included in logical empiricism.

Briefly, a logical idea is an idea that can be defined precisely. A sentence is logically true if its truth can be determined by an appeal to the meaning of words and its grammatical structure. Empiricism claims that a statement is empirically true if the truth can be determined through sense experience. OVERVIEW Logical positivism thrived during the early part of the 20th century, especially in Britain and the USA. The main objective in this metatheory is to practise science as objectively as possible, and to try and verify all statements.

The point of departure was that personal values, which are subjective, are not important enough to include in research projects. Values are regarded as meaningless, seeing that one cannot verify them. It is proposed that if the research object cannot be proved to be right or wrong, it is not researchable. Emotions like hope, fear, love, religious beliefs and political commitment are seen as not important, because they cannot be measured and checked in the same way scientific statements can be checked. Plato was the first philosopher who tried to get people to think clearly. Read more about his views in RW p 7.

We are now going to discuss the three main divisions of logical empiricism or positivism. Linguistic analysis (RW pp 9±11) The history of linguistic analysis is discussed on p 10 of RW. It is proposed that the main aim in linguistic analysis is to clear our minds of all words that muddle us and confuse the scientific enterprise. You can read a lot about the meaning of words in pp 1±7 in RW. An example of a statement that would be usable in linguistic analysis could be: “Metal expands when heated”. ACTIVITY 1c Give an exact definition of each of the words in the statement.

You might be able to do this by using a dictionary: ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4 ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

We can give a very clear and precise definition of all the words in the statement ? we know the meaning of “metal”, “expand” and “heat”. An example of a statement that is not so easily explained could be “God is love”. ACTIVITY 1d Try to define the different words in the above statement as precisely as possible. The dictionary definition will probably not give you a satisfactory explanation, because our personal values are involved in a statement like this. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. What is your scientific clarification of the concept of “God”? We as humans cannot give a clear and precise definition of the words “God” or “love”.

This kind of statement would be meaningless in linguistic analysis. The general advantages and disadvantages of using linguistic analysis are on p 10 of RW. Logical symbolism (RW pp 11±13) Factual and logical statements are important in logical symbolism. A factual statement would be something like “It is raining outside”. This statement can be proved right or wrong. Factual statements are different from value statements in the sense that they cannot be proved right or wrong (see pages 12±13 in RW). Values are something important to you personally.

However, values do not fit the thinking paradigm of logical positivism, because there is no scientific clarification for values. Objective truth is of importance in this frame of reference, and subjective truth is seen as less significant. Mathematical statements are logical statements, eg 2 + 2 = 4. Empiricism (RW pp 13±16) 5 EDC1015/1 The Shorter Oxford Dictionary defines empiricism as “the theory that regards experience as the only source of knowledge”. In other words, empiricism refers to the belief that the only real knowledge one has comes from experience ? either one’s own or those of others.

Empiricists propose that knowledge gained from our senses (eg seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, tasting) is the most reliable kind of knowledge. PROBLEMS RESEARCHED BY LOGICAL POSITIVISTS OR EMPIRICISTS ACTIVITY 1e What kind of problems do you think we could solve by using any of the above points of reference? Give an example from your field of interest. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. The most straightforward problems would be from the natural sciences or in mathematics or language analysis. One could also approach problems in the human and social sciences from this perspective, as long as one uses scientific methods (eg observation, testing, induction or deduction).

If we want to research the question: “Why is the divorce rate so high in South Africa? ” we will probably follow some of these steps: . Set hypotheses . Define precisely what the different cultural/religious groups in the country see as divorce . Find statistics already done on the subject . Get a sample from the population to study . Draw up carefully worded questionnaires APPLICATION IN PRACTICE This way of thinking often reduces human beings to purely physical organisms (a bit like plants and rats in a laboratory).

Researchers who study human beings through the theoretical framework mentioned above are convinced that they can find out why people behave in a certain manner. These scientists believe that they can control human behaviour. This way of thinking is especially part of the theory of behaviourism. Logical empiricism gave rise to this theory. The theory of behaviourism claims that human beings are entirely physical; that our minds are no more 6 than our brains and that our brains are simply complex electronic devices like computers. This “computer” receives input from the world around us and then responds to this input ?

its response is our behaviour. The theory of behaviourism is associated with three people in particular, namely IP Pavlov, BF Skinner and J Watson. Pavlov was the researcher who performed the well-known experiments with dogs, studying stimulus and response reactions known as “unconditioned behaviour”. This theory can be applied with great success in teaching and training. The basic purpose of human sciences is to solve problems by changing people’s behaviour. With positive (reward) and negative (“punishment”) reinforcement, one gets results.

Objectives are important in order to get results. ACTIVITY 1f Give examples of behaviourism in your field of interest. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………………………. In teaching and training one would make use of the concept of “reward” and “punishment”. For instance if you are the teacher/trainer and you need to get your students to attend classes and pass examinations, you could give “debits” for failure to attend class and deduct marks from their test scores; or you might give “credits” for class attendance and maybe award bonus points in tests. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of practices such as these.

………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………….. ………………………….. 7 EDC1015/1 UNIT 2

Asking questions: Challenging what the world tells us CRITICAL RATIONALISM SCHEMATIC OVERVIEW Theory of critical rationalism Theory of critical analysis; theory of constant questioning D Teaching and learning Debate/dialogue Explanation Rational problem solving Questioning D Main ideas Debate Freedom of expression Falsifiability Questioning Open society Criticism Explanation Democracy Anti-authoritarian Non-dogmatic D Some supporters Socrates K Popper S Hawking W Brezinska D Disadvantages Makes people feel insecure No help with quick decisions/ immediate action Cannot help with finding meaning in life

Advantages Encourage questioning Promote justice and fairness Basis for democracy Help with problem solving 8 LEARNING OUTCOMES After working through this unit you will be able to . . . . explain what critical rationalism entails discuss the kind of problems to be solved by critical rationalists apply this theory in a teaching/training environment give the advantages and disadvantages of espousing this way of thinking KEY CONCEPTS . . . . . . Critical rationalism Falsification Trial and error Open-mindedness Antidogmatic Anti-authoritarian.

INTRODUCTION Like logical empiricists, critical rationalists emphasise that scientists must be objective. Scientists espousing this philosophy are prepared to have their views criticised and challenged by other scientists. But, unlike logical empiricists, critical rationalists say that values should not be ignored, because values and meaning are important. ACTIVITY 2a Let’s do the same exercise as previously and try to explain the two words “critical” and “ratio” without a dictionary.

………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

ACTIVITY 2b Use the dictionary and see whether you could find the abovementioned words there: ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 9 EDC1015/1 ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………………………. Critical rationalism emphasises the importance of clear thinking and the asking of questions. The driving force behind critical thinking is rationality, that is, the readiness to learn from mistakes and false theories. OVERVIEW Socrates was one of the first philosophers who challenged ideas and beliefs, and he encouraged his students to do the same. Critical rationalism as a philosophy, however, is a 20th century philosophy. The history of critical rationalism is on p 22 of RW.

Karl Popper was the most important supporter of critical rationalism in the 20th century. Critical rationalists believe that nobody starts scientific research with a blank mind. One always starts off with theories or ideas in mind that one needs to test for falsity (read scenarios 1, 2 and 3 in RW pp 21±22). According to Popper, we can find that a statement is definitely false, but not that it is definitely true. This is known as the “principle of falsification”. We usually try to prove something wrong in critical rationalism by using the trial and error method.

ACTIVITY 2c Questioning is really important in critical rationalism. Many people do not question things. People generally accept what religious ministers tell them, what the papers say and what advertisements tell them to believe. Even consumers do not like to complain ? they accept badly made goods and poor service. Do you agree or not? Sketch a scenario from your own life depicting how you allowed yourself to be brainwashed, accepting something uncritically. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………….. ………………………….. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. Read pp 22±23 in RW for a summary of critical rationalism. The whole aim of critical rationalism is to make sure we do not come to 10 believe in an idea that is false.

According to critical rationalists, it is only by testing our ideas using the most stringent tests that we can begin to progress in our knowledge. The principle of asking questions and of falsification makes critical rationalism a very open-minded, antidogmatic and anti-authoritarian philosophy. It is only in open societies that problems are discussed and solved through the free exchange of ideas. Critical rationalists claim that values, like scientific discoveries, must be open to debate. We must be prepared to have our values challenged (read pp 24±26 in RW about values in critical rationalism).

If we are not prepared to respond to these kinds of challenges, we do not support the principle of an open society and democracy. Critical rationalists are bitterly opposed to regimes that silence and intimidate people. Values guide scientific research, but science and objectivity should be used to examine our values. Values that are important in scientific research would for instance be honesty, reliability and truthfulness. If the people doing the research are not honest and reliable, the research results will be meaningless and often even untrue.

The advantages and disadvantages of espousing critical rationalism are given on p 27 of RW. PROBLEMS RESEARCHED IN CRITICAL RATIONALISM Scientists, in critical rationalism, are said to start their research by trying to prove existing theories or research false. In fact, we all do this as we go through life. We grow up believing certain things (usually what our parents, teachers or religious leaders have told us). The experiences we have in life then tell us whether these beliefs and traditions are true or false. Most people modify their beliefs as they grow older.

Most of us, including scientists, find things out by trial and error. In science we will talk about a hypothesis that we check against reality to find out whether it is wrong. The difference between scientific statements and nonscientific statements is that scientific statements can be proved wrong; nonscientific statements cannot be proved wrong. If scientists start asking “why? ” then they start searching for the answer to their question. For instance, why does a stone fall to the ground if I let it go? Why do some people succeed in business while others fail?

Why do some managers get the best out of their staff while others provoke hostility and resentment? Why do some people work more effectively than others? All these “why” questions need some explaining. According to critical rationalism, the aim of science is to find satisfactory explanations ? we do this by trying to reject that which is false and then find a more acceptable explanation. People often do not argue in a rational way, and so their explanations will be unacceptable/unsatisfactory. 11 EDC1015/1 ACTIVITY 2d The classification of various types of false arguments can be found on pp 27±29 in RW.

Read through this section and try to think of your own examples of the different types of false argumentation. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………………………. Read the statements on p 23 of RW and answer the questions. APPLICATION IN PRACTICE In the classroom or lecture hall the principles of open-mindedness, debate and dialogue could be practised with great success. ACTIVITY 2e Take a theme that is important in your field of interest and explain how you would apply the above principles in practice: ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 12 UNIT 3 How in the world can we give our lives meaning? EXISTENTIALISM

SCHEMATIC OVERVIEW Existentialism Theory on the meaning of life D Teaching and learning Individuals should find their own meaning in life D Main ideas Self-examination/Self-discovery Decisionmaking/Choicemaking Meaning of life Understanding of existential purpose Opposed to nihilism D Some proponents Jean-Paul Sartre, Frantz Fanon, Jean Baudrillard, Jacques Derrida, Frederick Nietzsche, WEB du Bois D Advantages Questions people’s ideals and values.

Seeks openness about ourselves Requires us to trust our instincts Helps us to spot fakes Encourages us to enjoy life more Disadvantages May make us too trusting Can be confusing at times May lead to despair Can cause anger and helplessness May be disruptive 13 EDC1015/1 LEARNING OUTCOMES After working through this unit, you will be able to .explain the central assumptions of existentialism . compare existentialism and hermeneutics .

Describe ways in which existentialism can/cannot help us understand problems . draw on existentialism in your teaching practice KEY CONCEPTS . . . . . . . Existentialism Nihilism Self-examination Self-discovery Decisionmaking Choicemaking Meaning of life INTRODUCTION ACTIVITY 3a Let’s do the same exercise as previously and try to explain the word “existence” without a dictionary. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ACTIVITY 3b Use the dictionary and see whether you could find the abovementioned word there: ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 14 Existentialism asks the question “what is the meaning of life? ” or “why do I exist? ” Individuals need to find meaning for their own existence. There is no single answer to the above questions. Every person will find a unique answer to the questions. The way people respond to this question will depend on factors including their cultures and belief systems. Existentialists believe that people should not be told what their unique lives mean.

Freedom of choice/decision is very important. OVERVIEW Socrates already talked about the risk of living an “unexamined life”, but the philosophy actually only gained momentum in the 20th century in reaction to modernism, reliance on technology and the two World Wars. Read more about existentialism and its proponents on pp 34±37, 40 and 42 in RW. Nihilism is the opposite of existentialism ? read about nihilism on p 39 in RW.

The general advantages and disadvantages of espousing existentialism are on p 40 of RW. PROBLEMS RESEARCHED IN EXISTENTIALISM In this unit we look at the different ideas and concepts of existentialism mentioned in the schematic overview.

The different activities below are meant to guide you to discover these ideas and concepts. You will also discover how existentialism can/cannot help you solve your everyday problems. ACTIVITY 3c Read p 35 (RW) on Michel Foucault’s thoughts on the influence of institutions such as schools, churches, the family and the civil service on human existence. Tell us which of these institutions influenced you, whether in a positive or negative way. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ……………………………………………………………………………………………….

………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ACTIVITY 3d On the same page, Foucault argues that “human beings are essentially free and unformed”. Another philosopher who advocated the freedom of human 15 EDC1015/1 beings is John Locke. He argues that “we are all by nature free and equal”. But how valid are these claims about freedom and equality? In what ways do you feel that you are human, free and equal?

………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ACTIVITY 3e Perhaps the questions asked in 3d are a bit depressing, more like nihilism, which is described on p 39. How would you respond to the following question: “What is the purpose of your existence?

” ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ACTIVITY 3f Read the section, “Existentialism in a nutshell”, on p 42 (RW). If you were to follow Socrates and examine your life, within your culture and belief system of course, how would you describe it?

………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ACTIVITY 3g Existentialists do believe that there is purpose and meaning to life, and that we should try to discover them for ourselves (p 40 RW). Tell us how you would want to spend your life, and why.

………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………….. ………………………….. 16 ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. APPLICATION IN PRACTICE ACTIVITY 3h Reflect on how your knowledge of existentialism could assist you in trying to help a learner/student in your class/lecture hall who has lost both parents to HIV/AIDS.

He or she probably has to take care of his or her younger siblings, which is a huge responsibility. He or she might feel that there is no freedom of choice or meaning in his or her life. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………………………………………………………………. ………………………………………


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