Special Issue "Epistemology and Education"

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2016).

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Andrew Stables

School of Education, Roehampton University, Froebel College, Roehampton Lane, London SW15 5PJ, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: philosophy in relation to education

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The two fields of philosophy of central importance to education are epistemology (the theory of knowledge) and ethics (the theory of right action). Everybody working in education is concerned with these, even though not all may use the philosophical terms associated with them or read the specialist literature relating to them. Education can be defined in various ways, but few would deny that it entails helping others to develop their understanding.

Epistemology, therefore, covers a range of questions at the heart of the educational debate. How do we know we know something? Do we know something if we can give reasons for it? What is the difference between a reason and a cause? What is the difference between knowledge and belief?

Often, these questions have been pursued in isolation from questions of ethics and from other social concerns. However, in recent years, philosophers have become increasingly interested in social and virtue epistemologies. The former employs sociological perspectives alongside traditional philosophy to explain the growth and decay of knowledge and belief systems. (Kuhn’s theory of scientific revolutions, for example, firmly locates science as a social process operating according to community norms that eventually break down.) The latter sees the growth of knowledge and understanding in terms of the development of character traits. (Curiosity, for example, which Hobbes described as ‘the lust of the mind’, might be regarded as a virtue, and its development as an educational aim.)

It is clear, therefore, that epistemology is a very broad field and that it is of great importance for education. Therefore, much has been written about epistemology and education, though usually in specialist philosophy and theory journals. This Special Issue of Educational Sciences offers a range of new and stimulating approaches to epistemological questions relating to education, written with a broader educational readership in mind.

Andrew Stables
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • education
  • epistemology
  • knowledge
  • learning
  • teaching

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Epistemology and Education
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(2), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7020044
Received: 24 March 2017 / Revised: 27 March 2017 / Accepted: 28 March 2017 / Published: 30 March 2017
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Abstract
While philosophy of education is often considered an applied discipline, it has made contributions across the philosophical spectrum. For example, there has been a significant body of work on aesthetics and education. There have been occasional incursions into debates about ontology and even, [...] Read more.
While philosophy of education is often considered an applied discipline, it has made contributions across the philosophical spectrum. For example, there has been a significant body of work on aesthetics and education. There have been occasional incursions into debates about ontology and even, albeit rarely, metaphysics. However, the majority of work has always been concerned with epistemology (questions of knowing) and ethics (questions of right action). Traditionally, much of this work, particularly in epistemology, has had a highly individualistic tendency. The assumption of the knowing mind as key characteristic of the rational autonomous agent is at the heart of the liberal educational tradition and takes root in Descartes’ cogito: even if I doubt who I am, there is an ‘I’ that doubts, and this ‘I’ is the fundamental characteristic of the autonomous rational agent, the fully human being. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epistemology and Education)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Universities and Epistemology: From a Dissolution of Knowledge to the Emergence of a New Thinking
Educ. Sci. 2017, 7(1), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci7010038
Received: 29 December 2016 / Accepted: 27 February 2017 / Published: 6 March 2017
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Abstract
This paper examines the relation between epistemology and higher education. We shall start by briefly examining three classical texts on the understanding of knowledge at universities, as well as noting some others, and go on to sketch a version of our own. Our [...] Read more.
This paper examines the relation between epistemology and higher education. We shall start by briefly examining three classical texts on the understanding of knowledge at universities, as well as noting some others, and go on to sketch a version of our own. Our argument is as follows: the world is such that the relationship between the university and knowledge remains fundamental but that it needs to be reconceptualised. In particular, the 21st century is seeing the emergence of digital reason, which could be said to be a form of non-reason. It may appear, therefore, that we are witnessing the dissolution or severing of the relationship between the university, on the one hand, and knowledge and truth on the other hand. To the contrary, we argue for what we term an ecological perspective on knowledge, with the concept of ecology being treated in the most generous way, partly as a way of rethinking the university into the future. The idea of knowledge as a defining concept of the university still has mileage in it. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epistemology and Education)
Open AccessArticle
Epistemology as Education: Know Thyself
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(4), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci6040041
Received: 26 October 2016 / Revised: 29 November 2016 / Accepted: 1 December 2016 / Published: 5 December 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (186 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In his Introduction to this Special Edition of Education Sciences, Andrew Stables points out that often, epistemological questions in education have been pursued in isolation from ethics and other social concerns. In part, this problem has been addressed by ‘local’ epistemologies—feminist, queer, [...] Read more.
In his Introduction to this Special Edition of Education Sciences, Andrew Stables points out that often, epistemological questions in education have been pursued in isolation from ethics and other social concerns. In part, this problem has been addressed by ‘local’ epistemologies—feminist, queer, post-colonial, postmodern and others—which try to establish how different knowledge can look when not grounded in presuppositions of consciousness, or rationality, or gender, colour, etc., all of which exclude and suppress that which they deem to be ‘other’. However, perhaps it is not just these local knowledges that are excluded from epistemological work in education. Perhaps, remarkably, epistemological questions pursued in education are habitually carried out in isolation from education, as if education were nothing in its own right. This ‘otherness’ of education to philosophy in general, and to epistemology in particular, contributes to the latter often seeming to be nugatory with regard to the inequalities borne within modern social and political relations. With this is mind, the following contribution reflects not so much on the relation of epistemology and education, or on epistemology in education, but rather on epistemology as education. Primarily this concerns the question of how epistemology, the science of knowledge, can have knowledge of itself and of the educational significance carried in trying to do so. This challenge of epistemology as education commends epistemology to heed the Delphic maxim: know thyself. It is to these efforts that the following essay is directed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epistemology and Education)
Open AccessArticle
Knowledge for a Common World? On the Place of Feminist Epistemology in Philosophy of Education
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci6010010
Received: 7 January 2016 / Revised: 3 March 2016 / Accepted: 3 March 2016 / Published: 9 March 2016
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Abstract
The paper discusses the place of feminist epistemology in philosophy of education. Against frequently raised criticisms, the paper argues that the issues raised by feminist standpoint theory lead neither to a reduction of questions of knowledge to questions of power or politics nor [...] Read more.
The paper discusses the place of feminist epistemology in philosophy of education. Against frequently raised criticisms, the paper argues that the issues raised by feminist standpoint theory lead neither to a reduction of questions of knowledge to questions of power or politics nor to the endorsement of relativism. Within the on-going discussion in feminist epistemology, we can find lines of argument which provide the grounds for a far more radical critique of the traditional, narrow notion of objectivity, revealing it as inherently flawed and inconsistent and allowing for the defense of a re-worked, broader, more accurate understanding of objectivity. This is also in the interest of developing a strong basis for a feminist critique of problematically biased and repressive epistemological practices which can further be extended to shed light on the way in which knowledge has become distorted through the repression of other non-dominant epistemic standpoints. Thus, requiring a thorough re-thinking of our conceptions of objectivity and rationality, feminist epistemologies need to be carefully considered in order to improve our understanding of what knowledge for a common world implies in the pluralistic and diverse societies of post-traditional modernity in the 21st century. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epistemology and Education)
Open AccessArticle
“Way-Centered” versus “Truth-Centered” Epistemologies
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci6010008
Received: 10 December 2015 / Revised: 22 February 2016 / Accepted: 29 February 2016 / Published: 4 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (209 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, a criticism of “indigenous knowledge” has been that this idea makes sense only in terms of acquaintance (or familiarity) type and practical (or skills-type) knowledge (knowledge-how). Understood in terms of theoretical knowledge (or knowledge-that), however, it faces the arguably insurmountable [...] Read more.
In recent years, a criticism of “indigenous knowledge” has been that this idea makes sense only in terms of acquaintance (or familiarity) type and practical (or skills-type) knowledge (knowledge-how). Understood in terms of theoretical knowledge (or knowledge-that), however, it faces the arguably insurmountable problems of relativism and superstition. The educational implications of this would be that mere beliefs or opinions unanchored by reason(s), such as bald assertions, superstitions, prejudice and bias, should not be included in the curriculum, at least not under the guise of “knowledge”. Worthy of inclusion are skills and practical knowledge, as are traditional music, art, dance and folklore (qua folklore). Moreover, anything that meets the essential requirements for knowledge-that could in principle be included. Against this understanding of knowledge, and its educational implications, it has been contended that indigenous knowledge places no special emphasis on “belief”, “evidence” or “truth”, but that, according to indigenous practitioners, it is rather “the way” that constitutes knowledge, harmonious interaction and appropriate models of conduct. It has been argued, further, that cognitive states are (to be) seen as “maps”, as useful and practical action-guides. This is why (so the argument for “polycentric epistemologies” or “polycentric global epistemology” goes) divination, rain-making, rain-discarding, shamanism, sorcery, ceremony, ritual, mysticism, etc., must be acknowledged as ways of knowing (and as educationally valuable) alongside animal husbandry, botany, medicine, mathematics, tool-making, and the like. The present paper investigates whether the “way-based” epistemological response is a plausible reply to the “truth-based” critique of indigenous knowledge (systems). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epistemology and Education)
Open AccessArticle
The ‘Lifeblood’ of Science and Its Politics: Interrogating Epistemic Curiosity as an Educational Aim
Educ. Sci. 2016, 6(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci6010001
Received: 19 October 2015 / Revised: 19 December 2015 / Accepted: 23 December 2015 / Published: 30 December 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (690 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Social- and virtue-epistemologies connect intellectual and moral concerns in ways significant for education and its theory. For most educationists, epistemic and ethical virtues are no longer dissociated. However, many political framings or operations of epistemic virtues and vices remain neglected in educational discourses. [...] Read more.
Social- and virtue-epistemologies connect intellectual and moral concerns in ways significant for education and its theory. For most educationists, epistemic and ethical virtues are no longer dissociated. However, many political framings or operations of epistemic virtues and vices remain neglected in educational discourses. This article illustrates why a politicization of epistemic issues is relevant to education through reference to political performances of a curiosity typically considered educationally valuable. Curiosity bore political connotations from antiquity to late modernity whose exploration may add critical nuance to educational-philosophical conceptions of epistemic desire. This leads us to the main argument of the article, which is that such politicization helps us interrogate unqualified, uniform, and glorifying treatments of curiosity as an educational aim. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Epistemology and Education)
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