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Clifford IT Services OD Pages (continued)

John Dewey


The central concept of John Deweys view of education was that greater emphasis should be placed on the broadening of intellect and development of problem solving and critical thinking skills, rather than simply on the memorization of lessons. This is mirrored in our working world, when managers tell workers just to do their job and not worry about the bigger issues that affect them.
The current (2006) emphasis of the Republican party on Scientific and Math education at the expense of the 'softer' studies like humanities (sociology, psychology, etc.) shows their personal desire to create a workforce narrowly educated to do only their jobs, and not to be concerned with social issues.

Dewey is considered one of the founders of the philosophical school of Pragmatism, but according to my understanding of the literature, he considered his viewpoint as more 'instrumentalist' than pragmatist. While pragmatists consider some connection with practical consequences or real effects as vital components of both meaning and truth, instrumentalists tend more toward the more practical side, treating concepts and theories more as useful 'instruments' whose worth is measured by how effective they are in explaining and predicting phenomena.

While the former approach seems more 'airy' and theoretical, and the second more down-to-earth and practical, there appears to me to be much overlap, so that they can complement each other.

They can both be useful in coming to know our world and ourselves, but it seems that both are progressions away from a heady, intellectual philosophical orientation, and toward a more practical, scientific-method-oriented view.

The latter allows us to view the world in a more objective view, instead of attributing phenomena to the Gods. It also takes away from control-oriented people the ability to profess some mystical connection they have with the Gods to have others behave in a way beneficial to themselves; a condition of humankind that has persisted for ages.




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