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+Philosophy:TheRealmsof

Assumptions+

You can't do without philosophy, since everything has its hidden meaning which we must
know.
MAXIM CORKY

The Zykocos (1914)

It might be a hard thing to expect educators to be philosophers, but can they be anything else?
MAX BL ACK

Harvard Educational Review (1956)

It is better to emit a scream in the shape of a theory than to be entirely insensible to the jars and
incongruities of life and take everything as it comes in forlorn stupidity.
ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON "Crabbed Age and Youth" Virginibus and Puerisque (1881)
Philosophy begins in wonder. And, at the end, when philosophical thought has done its best,
the wonder remains.
ALFRE D NOR TH WHITEHE AD

Modes of Thought (1938)

SETTING THE STAGE
Philosophy lies at the heart of educational endeavor. This is perhaps more evident is the curriculum domain than in any
other, for curriculum is a response to the question of how to live a good life. The latter is presupposed when we ask
what is worthwhile to know or experience. What is the reason for knowing or experiencing something, i( it is not to live
a better life? John Dewey (1916) supported this emphasis when be suggested that education is the testing ground of
philosophy itself. This idea implies that the worth of philosophical inquiry is determined by the human growth or
education that accrues from it.

These observations reflect the problem of the relationship between theory and
practice that has beset curriculum inquiry since humans began to ponder the ways in
which others should be inducted into the human race. Of what use are these ponderings, the reflections, the theory, the philosophy? How do they affect practice? How

does practice influence theory? What good can theory and practice do for one an other?
One way to respond to such questions is to realize that theory or philosophical
assumptions are ever present, whether we consciously reflect on them or not. Even if
we refuse to think about the assumptions that underlie our practical work as educa tors, some set of assumptions always rules. If we go to an instructional materials
display and select materials primarily because they will keep students busy, or
because they are easy to store, or because they contain pretty illustrations, we
have already accepted certain assumptions. In the case of these examples, priority is
given to expedience, custodial care, and entertainment as contrasted to defensible
notions of genuine learning, and cosmetic appearance is granted precedence over
educational desirability.
Any time that we alter our mode of educating others, we indirectly influence the
character of some of our other assumptions about education. If a workshop on classroom management convinces us that a new mode of discipline should be
used in our classroom, implementing this change will subtly or profoundly affect the
assumptions upon which we operate. It may conflict with assumptions that guide
other aspects of our curriculum. If the accepted model is behavioristic and most of
our curriculum is humanistic, there is conflict. The new mode will have
reverberations throughout the entire curriculum system. It will affect all aspects of
classroom life and culture.
The assumptions that we report possessing may not be the ones that actually guide
us. The old adage applies: our actions may speak so' loudly that it is impossible to heal
what we say.- We may espouse humanistic and democratic principles, but our autocratic propensity to control others may betray them.
In similar light, we sometimes take special effort consciously to reflect on our
philosophy of education and attempt to explain our beliefs or assumptions. This is
indeed admirable, and it is what we should strive to do. Nevertheless, to articulate
a philosophy of education does not necessarily mean that we practice it successfully.
We must realize that it is necessary to look continuously at our own thought and
action and to discover more about its character and consistency.
To clarify some of the dimensions of curricular assumptions, I will begin with the
discussion of a model that conceptually links action and assumption, practice and
theory. Then the value of perennial realms of philosophical assumptions for curriculum deliberation will be considered, followed by a look at implications of different schools of philosophy for curriculum. Finally, three orientations to curriculum
theory are discussed, and the guest commentators conclude the chapter with
observations and debate.
A MODEL OF THEORY AND PRACTICE
The model in Figure 5-1 may be read from action to assumption, assumption to action, or one
may begin at any point between the two and work to the extremes. I say this at the onset of
discussion because it is so prevalent to think of only one kind of

PERSPECTIVE

I t would be i mp os sible to ma ke dec isi on s a ne w ab out ma tte r s suc h a s the se . a nd our usua l mode s of pe r ce pti on.the y a r ise in e ver y. Model of Theory and Practice direction ( i.. r ou tine s. We d o. This requires us to use habits and daily plans as E remote guides or precedent for problem solving. you notice tha t a stude nt r e minds you of a nothe r stude nt in your c la ss f i ve ye a r s a go. and the like . scientific basis. philosophy. compassion. T he action that you ta ke is cer tainl y not arbitr ar y or ra ndom. As you r ea d the de sc r iption of the mode l. . For exa mple . thus.that these guides only take us part way. and prudent judgment in the course of action by those who are intimately familiar with the situa ti on ar e c onside re d her e to be of e qua l impor ta nce w ith the or y tha t e ma na te s fr om outside sources. cla ssr oom de p or tme n t. you are enga ge d in some f or m of da il y professional action. theory into practice). and as sumptions are too of te n thought of a s author itative and c ontr olling agents. h ow e ve r. da il y pla ns. however. Practice is too fre que ntly vie wed b y sc holar s and administrators as the passive rece ption and implementation of wisdom from high places. You cannot ma ke decisions about e ve r y c ircumsta nce in your da il y activit y. You establish schedules for classroom cleanup and other menial tasks and have daily r itua ls f or h ome w or k. c om m on se n se . Theory. which in c lude s ha bits. They are too . I su gge st tha t you re f le c t upon your ow n pr ofe ssiona l wor k as an educator. da il y pla ns. Wisdom. you rely a good proportion of the time on the se c ond pil lar of the a ssumpti on a c tion sc he me . na me l y. c ommon se nse . We often find. it is mos t use f ul to dr a w up on the se pil lar s of e xpe r ie nc e . se nse per ce pti on s. F or exa mple . and impre ssi on s of ne e ds a nd interests. You must atte mpt to make sense of them. You enc ounter dile mmas within a succession of practica l ambiguitie s. different circumstance. e nc oun te r a s iz a b le n u mb e r of s it ua ti on s tha t a r e in a de qua te l y me t b y ha bit. and interests.e . c on ceptions of needs. re c ita tion. therefore.Philosophical Action Common Sense Policy Assumptions Practical Problem solving Perception Excellences to Foster Metaphysics Reflection Daily Goals Virtues and Epistemology Dispositions to Foster Situational Adaptation Habits Practical Ambiguity Interests Procedural Rules Spontaneous Decision Needs Results of Empirical Research Volitions and Reactions Routines Models and Constructs Politics Intuitive Leaps Daily Plans Political Aesthetics Axiology Ethics Pressure Scholarly Inquiry Logic FIGURE 5-1. and you think that some va riation on the the me that moti va te d him will motivate her. a s.

Nietzsche. appreciation. value. beliefs. therefore. and others are notable exceptions. and Rousseau to Bergson. Aquinas. and sense of meaning and purpose. Locke. from Bacon. Sartre. It evolved out of the everyday wonder of pe. Knowledge of this connection enables more defensible and justifiable action. The difficult task of judging the defensibility of claims about knowledge and values became philosophy. PERENNIAL REALMS OF ASSUMPTIONS Throughout much of the history of human thought. and Descartes to Voltaire. reason. they were challenged by speculation about the frontiers of knowledge. constructs.ons who wanted to know more about their origins. As one reads philosophers. Bergson. much of philosophy became a technical enterprise. from Schopenhauer. justice. the tendency became so great that an eminent educational philosopher commented to me in the early 1970s that . philosophy was considered to be a kind of discipline of the disciplines. Russell. It was philosophy to which scholars turned for integrated wisdom gleaned from the several disciplines. In the twentieth century. While language analysis is certainly important. we implicitly assume something about these matters. beauty. Spinoza. Mill. To realize connections between. our actions and assumptions is to be in a better position to control and liberate our lives. Marx. James. Philosophers took as their job the imaginative consideration of knowledge. and models. Thus. Dewey. whether we can explicitly state it or not. and values that are considered desirable. and Abelard. we see truth in the adage attributed to Aristotle and others that nothing is so practical as a good theory. . goodness. wisdom. by the problems of truth. however. and so on. Thus. beauty. and convictions about excellences to be fostered are justified in a higher court. and Whitehead. skill. Academic philosophy and philosophy of education became for some time preoccupied with language analysis. It includes broad goal statements of conviction that usually have logical and institutional support and set forth descriptions of knowledge. considered by some to be more warranted than idealistic statements of virtues or excellences to be taught. Kant. goodness. Some view it as the realm of theories. we must move to another pillar that includes scientific knowledge and statements about desirable excellences. This is the level of basic or fundamental assumptions. Dewey. and Whitehead. and f:egel. Whenever we act. justice. reason. They provide extensive ideas on matters of perennial concern to all persons. Here we probe into philosophy. which may be called the level of policy. is not considered the final arbiter. however. Such were the concerns of philosophers from Plato and Aristotle to Augustine. such statements are usually supported by research and are. and so on. Wittgenstein.idiosyncratic and do not provide principles upon which to make decisions. the realm of assumptions about the nature of truth. Generalization based on science and prescriptive theory rests on certain arguments. These are coupled with policy statements about how this knowledge might be acquired and what its essential nature is. one finds that the many dimensions of life and education are an integral part of their thought. Those who engaged in it extensively became philosophers. which in turn brings educational growth. Policy.

to pragmatists such as Peirce. students. and logic. A major feature of our curriculum. Some philosophers see this question as a subset of metaphysics. at first glance. Philosophy can be discussed in terms of its perennial categories: metaphysics. M eta p hys i cs Metaphysics is the division of philosophy that is concerned with the nature of reality. or what it means to be or exist. Thus. Michael Foucault. which is derived from the terms onto ology (study of). to phenomenologists such as Husserl. The term metaphysics is sometimes used synonymously with (to be) and ontology. as unexplicated and taken-for-granted as it might be. or did they evolve along with the rest of reality? Are the . The categories are offered because those who make educational decisions need a strategy for probing their assumptions. aesthetics. We want students to acquire the reality of the natural world through science.the tables have turned so substantially that one who wants to study human nature and other traditional philosophic concerns should go to the language departments and read great literature. or do we probe more deeply? Within the problem of the nature of reality lies the enigma of human nature. To look briefly at each helps to point out dimensions of assumptions that lie at the heart of all educational policy and action. epistemology. qualitatively different from the ancient traditions. Heidegger. axiology. and illustrated by showing its relevance to contemporary curriculum practice. and Fromm. These issues may. and Dewey. or do we act as if the answers are obvious? Does reality orthe true nature of existence lie behind or within appearance? Do we teach the superfi cial conventional wisdom. Jung. Have human beings been created. Jacques Derrida. and the relevance of meta physics and ontology becomes more obvious. the two possess the common purpose of seeking wisdom. Richard Rorty. Each category will be characterized. ethics.. seem quite thoroughly removed from concerns of the educator. a shift back toward the more overarching role of philosophy has been prompted by such philosophers as Jiirgen Habermas. and others who recognize the importance of tracing intellectual roots back to critical theorists such as Marx. and insight that transcends the specialized disciplines. elaborated by typical ques tions that it addresses. However. Adorno. the techniques of science and logical analysis. and the reality of communication through reading and language arts. During the past decade. While recent reconceptualizations in philosophy and education ar. is that we make reality better known to. or to psychoanalysts such as Freud. ontology is the study of being. Richard Bernstein. James. The term meta means beyond and physics refers to nature. whereas one who desires to learn about language should enroll in the philosophy department. and Marcuse. Yet how often do we seriously refl ect on the nature of reality that we attempt to convey or off er? Do we treat the ontological problem of existence as problematic. the reality of the social world through social studies. others view it as quite separate. and MerleauPonty. to existentialists such as Sartre and Camus. politics. one has only to refl ect on the basic curriculum question (What knowledge or experience is most worthwhile?). understanding. metaphysics is the study of that which lies beyond or is the basis of natural phenomena. and everyday c-stom and convention. This return to the breadth of concern that characterized much of the history of philosophy has emerged in education and curriculum discourse during the past ten years. Thus.

some have argued (e. and weak force). Numerous forms of education. personally experienced time-which Bergson (1889) termed durationis prominent in early childhood. these insights have implications for learners. In fact. emotional. what are we teaching them? Are we teaching them to depart from their "childish" fantasies and to accept adult contrivance as reality? We all know that an hour of conventional time can be very brief if we are having a conversation with someone we respect and admire. and spiritual aspects of human nature as we give to the mental or cognitive? Free will and determinism have brought forth no small amount of metaphysical controversy. are not separated from religion. It reaches into the depths of one's spirit and invokes the quest for goodness. The religious in a nondoctrinaire sense is a genuinely spiritual endeavor. When such persons enter school buildings. black holes. space. it can be very long if we are waiting for the dentist to finish drilling our tooth. the belief :n which alters our relation to reality? When we insist that students learn about and adhere to usual conventions of time. they do not leave their religious beliefs behind. When introducing students to the human race and its accomplish ments. with the search for quarks. the discovery of four universal forces (gravity. teachers. Thus. such beliefs serve as prominent lenses through which they interpret knowledge to be acquired.g. logy Epistemology is probably the branch of philosophy that most directly speaks to education. Is time merely a human contrivance. however. epistemology deals with such questions as.. Is such emphasis warranted? Cosmology. Macdonald. is a personally religious endeavor. as Arthur Koestler (1972) brilliantly argues? Time itself is a major concern in metaphysics. and the nature of knowledge and learning. deals with the nature of the universe. whether spiritual is interpreted mystically or humanistically. It deals with the nature of knowledge and the knowing process.students we teach essentially mind. Moreover. Modern physics and astronomy. and time. o r does it only seem that way in a deterministic world? Is the world gov erned by the laws of probability as is assumed by most research in the natural and social sciences. questions about the nature or existence of God play a central part in the life and thought of many persons. Are human beings free to determine their own destiny? Can we make choices. Theology and religion may seem far removed from education where schools are considered an arm of the state. 1976). 1980) that education itself. or do we live under the rule of coincidence a great deal of the time. or spirit? While it is easy to respond that they are all three. when entered into with serious intent toward growth. Insights about reality require that we help students to understand it in new ways. Further. strong force. even a casual glance at school practice reveals that we treat them largely as minds. on the other hand. electromagnetism. another branch of metaphysics. Does knowledge have a structure? Do different kinds of knowledge have different structures? Is it adequate . legally separated from the church.. but replaced with clocks and calendars in the lives of students by those who prepare them for adulthood. More specifically. body. do we give as fair a treatment to physical. and thereby have numerous implications for education. pulsars. how it came to exist. and the emphasis on interdependence augment our notions of reality (Toben et al. and quasars. and the problems of causality. Moreover.

the drawing of inferences from data. and the administrator are custodians of authoritative knowledge. the colorful and multifarious gods of the ancient Greeks. The sun god. Knowledge gained from experience and observation is called a posteriori knowledge.." In school. it is empiricism. a hybrid of reason and empiricism. hear ing. evolved since the Renaissance and emerged in full force in the twentieth century. (c) gathering data or precedent. Reason is yet another way of knowing. the authority of the sage. and so on. intuition. the recognition of propaganda techniques. Early in human history revelation was considered a major source of knowledge. 4. Some assert that science is one of today's most profound sources of knowledge. the poet. 2. the textbook. the construction of a defensible line of argument. interpretation of prophets. the priest. Whatever survives the test of rational or !ogical analysis is granted special credibility. Couple this with the fact that in any period. the term empirical simply means the use of sense perceptions as our means to truth. and direct contacts? Think of the massive influence of religion on education throughout history. African and islandic tribes were said to reveal prescriptions for human behavior as do major religions of today. In schools we can find logical reasoning in mathematics. The acceptance or rejection of such responses has profound implications for curriculum. how many times have we heard the adage that experience is the best teacher"? Our daily decision and action surely are based on informally gathered empirical data. We sometimes see emphasis placed on the identification of assumptions. ancestor worship. Germanic and Norse tribes. 1. authority plays a much greater role than we are prone to admit. the teacher. the most powerful "religious" faiths are accepted as truth rather than belief. Think of the authority of the tribal leader in prehistory. Authority is one of the oldest ways of gaining knowledge. the encyclopedia. has the right to challenge the deity. the ultimate authority revealed in sacred scriptures. and history)? Is there a deep character of knowledge that lies behind its superficial appearance and gives us a sense of origins? By what methods can knowledge be acquired and validated? What are the limits of knowledge? To what extent is knowledge generalizable. in contrast to a priori knowledge. the forces of nature. and our pervasive tendency to report in informal conversations. and other sources of first principles. which comes from theory. you know what they say . the differentiation of fact from opinion. Through the senses we experience. psychology. they assert that science reveals and technology ministers. Let us now turn to the implications of several different ways of knowing. "Well. they are placed in special classes or are classified with generic special labels. Who. (b) stating the problem clearly. Hindu ascetics. The scientific method. and to what extent does it depend on particular circumstances? Positions or general responses to these and related questions have evolved in philosophical literature over the centuries. it is asserted. 1938b) include (a) sensing a dilemma. These are aspects of reason and have been accorded a central role in the acquisition of knowledge since ancient times.g.to categorize knowledge in its several disciplinary domains (e. revelation.. and so on. 3. (d) formulating hypotheses or possible courses . If there is a source of knowledge older than authority and revelation.. the ruler in ancient times. Its steps (summarized by Dewey. 5. Contrary to its usual association with formalistic sciences and research.. touching. Even in our scientific age. In schools we take for granted that students have approximately equal access to knowledge that can be acquired through seeing. chemistry. If students are demonstrably different.

(f) selecting and applying a course of action to solve the problem. Done by anyone in everyday activities. to sound values). values are to be . it is ironic how substantial a part is played by intuition in the decision and action of everyday life.e. an d c ur r ic ul u m le a d e r re a li z e s that if such assumptions are not probed and studied. the centrality of ethics and axiology becomes indelible. the desired or the desirable? Some theories hold that they are the same (i. T h e s e r io us te a ch e r. of course. Intuition is yet another widely used form of knowing. although it is given minimal credibility in academic institutions. Intuition refers to a variety of means of immediate apprehension of knowledge. it is clear that it should be. and. For what other purpose can schools be said defensibly to exist except for that of contributing to the quality of life? Now. Axiology addresses the question: What is valuable? Ethics refers to: What is good and evil? This general domain of philosophic inquiry is too often underestimated by educators. At first glance. It seems that those in control of others admit to the use of intuition but do not deem it worthwhile for use by their subordinates.. Teachers often admit to a kind of intuitive development of curriculum and methods as they teach. that following self-interest is the key. They might argue for curriculum that enables students to acquire expediently knowledge that fits their own interests. Axiology and Ethics The terms axiology and ethics are sometimes used interchangeably. we assume that it enhances the good life. Others hold that decision and action must be valued with respect to consequences for other persons. Yet they seldom give credence to student use of intuition. a basic philosophical question. our intent is evil or that of blatant self-interest. However. p o l ic y m ake r. If we assume that x is good for y. One thinks of immediate grasp of affinity with certain aspects of nature or the social world. but they attempt to instill in their students mechanistic. 6. thus lies at the heart of all curricular decision and action. (e) testing the hypotheses. much more complex problem: What. Teacher educators pride themselves in intuitively knowing how to relate to would-be teachers. places. When we provide a curricular offering. this opens another. Still others see values as having existence that is independent of human beings instead of being created by them. those who advocate application of instructional strategies or ways of managing learning environments. and certainly all curricula prescribe what ought to be done. Although discounted in scholarly circles. A principal question of axiology is: which is more worthwhile. Here a curriculum would need to place emphasis on personal and public responsibility and on the ability to perceive consequences. and (g) assessing the resolution in view of its consequences. we implicitly (if not explicitly) assume that it is for personal or public good that we do so. the scientifi c method can be interpreted as a practical means of problem solving. in fact. it would seem that epistemology is more. The nature of the good life. when one reflects on the fact that most educational policies. thoroughly related to curriculum than is axiology or ethics. does enhance the quality of life and what do we mean by "quality of life"? Education cannot be carried on meaningfully without addressing this question. To them. Pursued by specialists in natural and social sciences. which brings to mind such topics as love at first sight and psychic phenomena as well as an intuitive or poetic grasp of a great principle (Newton's insight into laws of motion or Einstein's presage of relativity). If it is not. and things. recipelike strategies of teaching and curriculum planning. not merely to the self. set forth positions that are deeply rooted in epistemological assumptions. critical inconsistencies may accrue and an unruly array of assumptions will rule by default. this way of knowing is rigorous and rather formal.of action and anticipating their consequences. of course. To say that cur-ricul?r offering x should be provided for a range of students y is to say that it is good for them unless. Those who develop curriculum and/or teach co':stantly act on such ass umpt io n s . Those who study educational psychology and learning theory.

As Sir Herbert Read succinctly argued. wrote a book entitled The Image (1956) in which he demonstrated with great facility that life itself is a process of building an image by which we interpret the events of our life. Broudy (1979) asserts that the arts are necessary. Elsewhere. Through aesthetic perception human beings develop what Broudy calls an "imagic store. Friedrich Schiller (1965) went much farther with the value of aesthetic education to claim that only aesthetics holds the key to relationship with the harmony and rhythm of the universe. Maxine Greene (1981) pointed to the freedom that comes from aesthetic imagination by providing the capacity to see things as they could-be otherwise. perceptive interactions among past and present experiences and future expectations. that it pertains only to teaching in art.discovered and taught. There is a sense in which aesthetics has a close relation to axiology and ethics." a context of ideas and concepts that gives meaning to reading. even before the advent of reason. Our decision. and fine arts. and to life experience itself. p. the good from th evil. Kenneth Boulding. If. Logic is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of reason. applicative. 1982a). these relativists are engaged in perennial debate with absolutists who advocate a universal set of values. enables it to distinguish the beautiful from the ugly. When referring to judgment about art objects. 1943. visual. who well realized the power and per vasiveness of aesthetic awareness in life and education. and directions of society in which educational systems are embedded. the noble person from the ignoble" (Read. however. We perceive patterns in the personality of others and configurations of environmental conditions. Such questions bear on the aims. theater. Can curricula do anything except reflect the values that dominate the society? Or can curriculum be developed to redirect societal values? Aesthetics Assumptions about the nature of beauty are the province of aesthetic studies. In referring to John Dewey. he argues that arts are basic to higher levels of thinking (associative. dance. as does Harry Broudy (1977). which merely reproduces what has been presented and is soon forgotten (Broody. and other performing. not merely nice. Eisner (1982) recently argued for an aesthetic view of cognition that markedly broadens the usual parameters of curriculum by showing the value of imaginative perception for any curricular area. the eminent economist. Indeed. any other symbolic learning. and asks. From this necessary basis human beings are better able to know what is worthwhile to do. "How basic is aesthetic education?" one learns that art orders feeling by giving it expressive form perceptible to the senses. 70). those who develop curriculum must see that these true values are learned. Thus. the problem of the desirable versus the desired is invoked. music. purposes. There are those who hold that values depend on the situation. action. The literature of aims and purposes of the curriculum is saturated with values and conceptions of goodness. It provides a grounding that enables one to create a life of meaning and value to oneself and others. one looks more deeply. education in art evokes within the child "that instinct of relation ship which. one might think that this area has more limited applicability to curriculum. Perception of patterns is a basic means by which human beings orient themselves to life. and the study of . and consciousness itself are forged by imaginative. the right pattern of behavior from the wrong pattern. At first glance. and interpretive) that schools so often neglect in favor of replicative thought.

E. It deals in probabilities." Who is this omniscient they and how do they acquire their omniscience? In some cases it is the accumulation of social conventions. To deduce that one ought to drink orange juice. Moore and his followers) to derive conclusions of ought from is premises. One of the great lessons provided for curriculum decision makers by deductive logic in our era marked by reverence for science is that scientific knowledge insufficiently provides a basis for curriculum advocacy. and dialectics. though perhaps improbable. is Major premise: All men are mortal. by forming an hypothesis or hypothetical solu tion or explanation. It provides a basis for making inferences based upon data. by observing and/ or experimenting with key variables. by its very nature. stemming from ancient origins. it is faulty reasoning to conclude that one ought to drink orange juice from the major premise that vitamin C fights infection and the minor premise that orange juice contains high levels of vitamin C. In other cases it is "scientific" educational researchers. they arc then accepted as a form of scientific truth. induction. There are at least three formal orientations to logic: deduction. that a counterexample of an . By themselves. What is and what works constitute premises of the is variety. to provide greater insight into what is or what works. The need for ought premises makes it necessary to give equal emphasis to philosophical development of excellences or virtues that provide a sense of direction from which curricular aims and purposes can be derived. This process is a basis for scientific method that moves toward truth by converting the confusion of a dilemma into a clarified problem. The major premise identifies a class of topics and a characteristic of that class. Traditional adherents to the rules of deductive logic hold that one cannot deduce value-oriented conclusions from solely factual premises. must be regarded as true. Philosophers would say that they may be necessary but are not sufficient to justify conclusions that assert ought. and by testing the solution in controlled circumstances. while the minor premise situates a specific instance within the general class. Variations on the theme of each can be seen in everyday experience. The most widely used example. The mission of scientific educational research is. It begins by gatherin6 a set of particular instances that characterize or explain a defined range of phenomena. however. Thus. usually by acknowledging their epistemological basis in a priori or a posteriori knowledge. Validity of deduced truth relies on the truth of the premises. one can increase the external validity or probability that the conclusion may be generalized more widely. By use of sampling techniques.it is an attempt to set forth standards or rules by which reason should proceed. Where do they derive their basis for such advocacy? Prevalent sources of justification include cultural assumptions and the authority of experts. Conclusion: Therefore. Curriculum. Minor premise: Socrates is a man. This has profound bearing on curriculum because curriculum workers are continuously in the process of advocating what ought to be taught and learned. they do not provide adequate warrant for deducing conclusions of ought. it is necessary to introduce a premise that says one ought to fight infection or that one ought to pursue a healthy life and fighting infection is one way to do this. Without such a premise it is considered the naturalistic fallacy (by logical analyst G. One frequently hears: "They say it is what should be taught. however. is a matter of asserting ought. If hypotheses are supported. Deductive reasoning refers to the syllogism that consists of two or more premises and a conclusion. Thus. Here the move is from particular to general rather than from general to particular as in deduction. it is necessary to have premises of ought. The logic of induction. The premises.It is of course logical to conclude that orange juice helps to fight infection. Socrates is mortal. Induction is the second form of logic that we shall examine. however. It remains possible. does not provide absolute certainty.

OOLS OF PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT Books on philosophy and philosophy of education often are organized around schools of philosophical thought. naturalism. This can be inter preted as starting with a position (thesis) about a problem and to argue its soundness. Recently. If we intend to teach learners to reason. Otherwise. to then argue the opposite position as cogently as possible. in the writings of Hegel on philosophy of history. The recent use of hermeneutics is metaphoric and refers to discourse itself. Inductive knowledge certainly can be used as guidance for ought premises. shaped by a highly complex network of public and private political forces as revealed in Chapters Four and Six. to synthesis. we operate on hearsay and taken-forgrantedness. herneneutics referred to the inter pretation of religious texts and took the form of writing new interpretations beside older ones. or Tams. Young. when relying on scientific educational research as the basis for curriculum. thus. The synthesis becomes a new thesis and the process proceeds by continuously renewing itself. over a considerable period of time. but it cannot provide full justification for them. realism. During the past fifteen to twenty years. the new interpretations gave deeper meaning to the text. The importance of logic for curriculum is at least twofold. it warrants the is more than the o ug ht . Assumptions about the relation of individual and group needs. Political or social philosophy deals with questions of how humans should live together. the influence of politics on education generally and curriculum in particular has become more widely acknowledged. dialectics is associated with her meneutic inquiry in phenomenology. and the like. First. What is reasonable or what constitutes sound reasoning is problematic. The group involved may be as large as international bodies and national and state governments. to antithesis. and existentialism. 1979. It is laden with political and ideological values (see Apple.assumed truth will be discovered. While induction provides a basis for premises used in deduction. Second. A brief . To stop here is misleading. not obvious. Cur riculum is not a purely rational enterprise in its conception or practical application. One must use caution. Curriculum is. But the large question of what should be taught and why remains the purview of philosophical and practical judgment. 1972). Originally. and in the class struggle theory of Marx. pragmatism. It justifies the way in which we link assumptions and consequences of reasoning. 1971). Some of the most prominent "isms" are idealism. or it may refer to individual communities or institutions such as businesses or schools. wants. Ou gh ts must be derived from experience. therefore. scholasticism. and finally to arrive at a synthesis or position that contains the best dimensions of both thesis and antithesis. The final category of logic that we shall discuss is dialectical reasoning. Human communication can be conceived as a form of dialectical or hermeneutic logic that contributes to the evolution of society. prudence. we must address the complex philosophical domain of logic. judgment. a sizable proportion of education in any field of the curriculum involves the teaching of reasoning. however. Such a process is exemplified in the Socratic dialogues of Plato. Hypotheses heretofore supported always remain subject to falsification (Popper. Giroux. in fact. the methods that would be likely to work. It may well provide helpful knowledge of what is likely to occur under certain circumstances. it establishes forms for acceptable deliberation and discourse about curriculum problems. 1983. and a whole range of technical procedures. and interests are paramount among problems addressed by political philosophers. The most common form is to move from thesis.

when rigorous discipline of the mind is conHered the means to these ideas. Rather than fill in the matrix with answers and substitute the appearance of certainty for elaborate discourse and argument. nor should they be necessarily. That is. and when emulation of the teacher is consid ered a prime inducement to learning. Comparing Assumptions of Philosophical Orientations: A Heuristic Device of the converse of the Socratic maxim that the unexamined life is not worth living. one would do well to explore roots in idealism. the examined life is worth living. when classics of subject matter are deemed the best answer to ideas that have stood the test of time. and the like) are answered differently for each school of thought. The curricular correlates would be that the unexamined curriculum is not worth off ering and the examined curriculum is worth offering. let us consider very briefly some of the curriculum assumptions brought to light by major schools of curriculum thought. who saw a universe of ideas that was more real than sensed events. however. The spirit of idealism was integrated with Christianity in the Middle Ages and . to wit. Idealism tv nen one sees educational practice in which the learner is viewed as a mind to be molded by the teacher. the better they are able to know themselves and the sense of direction that they are striving to help others realize. and contrast schools of philosophic thought. Such a matrix (Figure 5-2). With this in mind. whether or not they are conscious of them. Those who create and implement curriculum operate on positions represented by these schools of thought. study.characterization of each shows that the categories of philosophical inquiry (metaphysics. I leave it open ended and encourage you to ponder each cell and to think about the richness of possible inclusions derived from your own study. In short. To the extent that curricularists are able to articulate their own philosophical assumptions and relate them to existing schools of thought. Such roots trace to Plato. As a matter of fact. is only provided for heuristic purposes. however. it is intended to stimulate you to think about. epistemology. it is possible to develop a matrix to compare and contrast the positions. compare. although such positions are not necessarily distinct and consistent with formal schools of thought. such awareness enables realization Idealism Realism Neo •Thomism Naturalism Pragmatism Phenomenology Existentialism Metaphysics Epistemology Axiology Ethics Aesthetics Logic Politics FIGURE 5-2.

Such educators promote heavy doses of science and mathematics. Empedocles. Thomism Those who advocate a religious.perpetuated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries by Immanuel Kant (who advocated the existence of "things-in-themselves" beyond ordinary experience). Jacques Maritain is a twentieth-century proponent of this orientation. who join reason and faith to train what they often call the faculties of the mind through the study of formal disciplines of knowledge. who argued that all knowledge is provided by experience. although few probe such origins sufficiently to be consciously articulate of them. :sys-tematized packages and procedures for teaching and learning. The great educators from Comenius to Pestalozzi. Everyday activity in the twentieth-century world is heavily weighted in realist as sumptions. and their followers in the twentieth century. and Froebel all have naturalist leanings. acknowledging the emotional. Realism Those educators who emphasize the validity of the senses to interpret the physical world. and highly technical modes of evaluation and testing that are believed to possess objectivity. Herbert Spencer was a naturalist in that . who emphasize reason as an absolute object of study. in the eleventh century. ralism Those who advocate education that is focused on individual development. The advocacy of studying the Britannica Great Books of the Western World and related classics is characteristic of the latter group. It traces back to pre-Socratic philosophers such as Thales. There is also a strong secular voice among neo-Thomists represented by Robert Hutchins and Mortimer Adler. and who strive to adjust learners to realities of the physical world and behavior sanctioned by adult culture should turn their attention to the heritage of realism. and psychological aspects of education. Herbart. Although not as romantic as was Rousseau. Both secular and relig:c is factions are sometimes referred to as essentialists or traditionalists. George Wilhelm Hegel (who posited the existence of absolute mind). it is clear that its origins trace back to Aristotle. Democritus. scientific educational research. spiritual. and it was revived and perpetuated during the Enlightenment by John Locke. and encourage close contact with nature should realize that their orientation is perhaps oldest of all. have their roots in the work of Thomas Aquinas who. Although the history of realism is complex and variegated. In modern times the philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau's ETnile is perhaps the best example of naturalism. Bertrand Russell was an exemplary realist in the twentieth century. created a blend of Aristotelian realism and basic Christian beliefs. do not interfere with what the child wants to learn and experience. do not impose social conformity. Catholic education.. anc: Epicurus. who promote the acquisition of skills necessary to acquire and master factual knowledge.

phenomenology. Derrida.. and most notably John Dewey. and G. While phenomenology also began to be articulated in the nineteenth century under the leadership of Edmund Husserl. A. Herbert Marcuse. and Henry Giroux (1981. learning by doing. Adorno. can be identified as among existentialists. For example. Albert Camus. They believe and teach that reality is in a state of continuous flux. 1975. Only by addressing directly the great mysteries and events of life such as the meaning of existence and death can students be enabled to build more authentic lives for themselves. and the desirability of building curricula on experiences of learners.. Although a number of these phrases are looked at as cliches today. 1984a). Barthes. the project method. whose Democracy and Education (1916) is the key educational work in pragmatic theory. critical theory. with the neo-Marxist tradition found in members of the Frankfurt School such as T. the need to educate the whole child. One's own experiences are considered the only viable basis for self-realization. and 1976 with Madeleine Grumet). 1978).he believed nature to be basic reality. and who thus conclude that the only way to deal with the predicament of existence is to take responsibility to create one's life. as well. Roots of' existentialism trace to Sbren Kierkegaard in the nineteenth century and to Martin Heidegger. J. Pioneers of pragmatism are primarily of the nineteenth and twentieth century: Charles Sanders Peirce. Michael Apple (1979. Wil liam Kilpatrick. The Progressive Education movement. Other continental European philosophers such as M. Together these and related authors form a network of literature that provides integrated perspectives from existentialism.b). and literary criticism. themselves to develop greater self-knowledge and thereby be in a better position to initiate choice and action. Educational philosophers and curriculum theorists of this vein usually tap sources in both phenomenology and existentialism. one has only to read works by Maxine Greene (1973. and Hans-Georg Gadamer. Neill's Sumtnerhill (1960) is surely a contemporary classic of naturalistic educational thought and practice. organized by human culture). Alfred Schutz. W. William James. there was a kind of blend ing of existentialism and phenomenological writing by midtwentieth century. Today the work of such noted existentialists as Jean-Paul Sartre. Heidegger continued this thrust by seeking to analyze the historical and temporal character of phenomena in human existence. and integrating learning with personal experience. his studies of dread as a human phenomenon yielded insight that concern (Sorge) is a fundamental principle of all beings. They want to begin with the psychological (student interests) and demonstrate to students that they can resolve meaningful problems by moving toward the logical (knowledge. . and that human beings create knowledge through the reconstruction of experience. and Karl Jaspers (and to an extent Christian existentialists such as Paul Tillich and Reinhold Niebuhr) often are referred to in the same literature as phenomenologists such as Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Existentialism and Phenomenology Those who see the world as es entially absurd and alienating. These are combined frequently. a careful look at the literature of the era reveals the original depth and' intent of their meaning. Foucault. radical psychoanalysis. Lukas are drawn upon. 1983). led to curricula of problem solving through personal scientific inquiry and emphasis on individual differences. and is more often associated with phenomenology. that the truth of ideas or propositions depends upon their consequences in the broadest sense of the public and personal good they bring. promoted by such scholar-practitioners as Boyd Bode. Thomas Hopkins. and Jurgen Habermas. To get a sense for this emphasis in curriculum literature. The close connection can be seen in Husserl's definition of phenomenology as the descriptive analysis of subjective thought processes. who was influenced by Kierkegaard. Moral and Physical had much influence on broader conceptions of education and curriculum that were to emerge in the twentieth century. and L. R. and survey issues of The Journal of Curriculum Theorizing and Phenomenology and Pedagogy. S. van Marten (1982. Teachers should encourage students to look deeply withi. tism Some educators call for careful attention to the experiences of students. In practice these emphases took the form of child-centered schools. His 1861 book Education: Intellectual. William Pinar (1974. 1982a.

One important reason that Beauchamp and others see this as a milestone publication in curriculum theory is doubtless that it was a major call for scientific theory building in the positivistic vein that Beauchamp's own work went on to develop.. First. and personal conceptions of curriculum theory. Bowers would directly focus philosophical inquiry in education on that which is central to curriculum. it is to sketch some of the different kinds of work regarded as curriculum theory.g. Those who do not adhere to this tradition of positive science might go so far as to say that all serious. Second. not behavior alone. Implied in such a study is the notion that a curriculum may be planned with basic principles in mind. Bowers. humanities. Thus. curriculum theory is a strange amalgam. for it is in acquired perspec tives. was the birthplace of curriculum theory. he asserts. we should study the patterns of thought. 1927b). philosophical writing about the aims and nature of education is curriculum theory. Cutting across several of these. instruction. social sciences. Beauchamp acknowledges the contributions of theoretical debate that went into deliberations on questions that formed a consensus statement for the Twenty-Sixth Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (Rugg. But a 1947 curriculum theory conference at the University of Chicago. when they are reasonably consistent and coherent. critical. 1983) who argue that there are better ways to introduce educators to philosophy than through the isms. is not to paint a history of curriculum theory. and evalution.g. 1981) argue that curriculum theory is a relatively new domain. and one finds a number of different orientations to it. professional studies. we shall look at a category scheme that includes descriptive. Thus. we shall examine a brief sample of the other ways in which to categorize curriculum theory. vocational education.M THEORY Curriculum theory is treated here as a subset of philosophy. Bowers asserts that educators should study philosophy of culture because curriculum is derived from the repertoire of a culture. The proceedings. and everyday life. prescriptive. If one confines oneself to the twentieth century alone. As an overall position. constitute the essence of curriculum theory.. Some (e. This would include a range from the pre-Socratics to present. that the depth of curricular influences can be discovered. Finally he suggests that since we are interested in ends or outcomes. the parent discipline that treats fundamental questions and assumptions undergirding all disciplines and areas of study: natural sciences.. Rather. we find curriculum studies. Beauchamp. These principles.. He argues that they should study philosophy of language because teaching itself is language and this is the medium for communicating curriculum. A. as noted in Chapter Four. Kliebard (in Lavatelli et al. The purpose of this section. [p. surely it should be admitted that John Dewey is among the finest of curriculum theorists. younger than the general field of curriculum studies that is often said to have begun at the onset of the twentieth century. included papers by noted curricularists of the day who addressed the question of what curriculum theory should entail. C. technical training. 85] .There are those in the curriculum field (e. ICULU. the arts. however. edited in 1950 by Virgil Herrick and Ralph Tyler. 1972) stated well the general purpose of curriculum theory and its relation to curriculum studies: The field of curriculum is devoted to the study and examination of the decisions that go into the selection of what is taught.

Prescriptive Curriculum Theory Examples. predict. instructional material packages. 1966): It is the theory in which principles. pp. stating what ought to be done in a range of practical activities. [p. metaphysical. Because descriptive theory is patterned after theory in the natural sciences. 1968) as follows: A theory is a set of interrelated constructs (concepts). and political base. Intent. and the like. They all advocate. descriptive theorists analyze that which is. are formulated and justified. moreover. Prescriptive curriculum theory seeks to clarity and defend principles upon which advocacy rests. behavioral theory is set forth by Kerlinger (in Beauchamp. describe. 13) Thus. If it is value free. a wide line of theorists from a diverse range of philosophical orientations (pragmatism. critical theory) argue convincingly that all theory (including scientific or descriptive) is value laden. Policymakers advocate. the users cf it commit the naturalistic fallacy of deriving ought from is when they use models or descriptions to control or direct behavior. axioms. definitions. 55] Criticism. food chains. school board directives) as well as that which teachers decide to do for students in their unique classroom setting constitutes a form of prescription. axiological. values (the base of advocacy) have no place in theory. it is deemed free of ideological values. 1982. (p. phenomenology. existentialism. textbooks and teachers' editions of them. The purpose or aim of descriptive. Curriculum documents of all kinds (teachers' guides. Moreover. not value free. relationships. Criticism.Descriptive Curriculum Theory Examples. Prescriptive theory is based on the assumption that curriculum is a form of recommendation. the cell. They argue that many forms of descriptive or positivistic theory constrict or enslave their users. 23-27). The function of such theory is to define. They gather empirical data and from it attempt to construct explanatory propositions that provide insight into definitions. and they see their mission as explaining and predicting behavior for the applied purpose of controlling it. and direct (Beauchamp. The purpose of theory is not to advocate. and the like. but researchers and theo- . The latter are unable to see beyond the fetters of a narrow epistemological. The aim of prescriptive theory is to establish norms for action and is ably characterized by Paul Hirst (in Tibble. Intent. Theorists who conduct research to model certain aspects of educational or curricular reality believe that they pattern their work after theorists in the natural sciences who have created models of the atom. and propositions that presents a systematic view of phenomena by specifying relations among variables with the purpose of explaining and predicting the phenomena. they want to describe generalizable tendencies. and advocacy rests on principles.

. critical theorists intend to penetrate and expose social relationships that take on the status of things or objects. by examining notions such as money.. and Habermas. who has interpreted its pedagogical character. Pinar and Grumet. . Giroux.rists have the job of discovering true knowledge. 1981). The term theorizing has taken on a particular meaning in curriculum thought since the mid-1970s. Marcuse. and (to engage in) self-conscious critique and . 1974. Intent. . Theory Critical theory derives from the work of post-Marxist theorists often characterized as the Frankfurt School. is to Assess the newly emerging forms of capitalism along with the changing forms of domination that accompanied them . Despite its worldwide currency in intellectual circles. Criticism.. consumption. Pinar intentionally uses a verb' form to express . 8). it becomes possible to distinguish what should be from what is and to strive compassionately for the former as the conditions of suffering are recognized and articulated (Giroux. Horkheimer. For instance. Such perpetuation. In pointing out contradictions in culture. The purpose of critical theory according to Henry Giroux (1983). hold that there is no place in scientific work for ideology. Paulo Freire (1970) demonstrates how a problem-posing pedagogy can replace the prevalent banking pedagogy to help emancipate oppressed p: rsons. and production. 1 Theorizing Examples. [p. Critical theory deals with careful reflection on the taking for granted of socioeconomic class structure and. 1976. Penna. The further point is that subjugated classes predominate every culture and require a liberating pedagogy. 1975. 1983. to develop a discourse of social transformation and emancipation that does not cling dogmatically to its own doctrinal assumptions. pp. Opposition also centers on critical theorists' advocacy of radical change and concomitant destabilization of society. it restricts growth and inhibits renewal. and Pinar. 8-9). but rather all are "historically contingent contexts mediated by relationships of domination and subordination" (Giroux. In his widely acclaimed work with Brazilian peas ants. Principal figures in the movement include Adorno. It is also criticized by moderates who view theory as scientific. it is argued. Such writers are categorized as reconceptualists in works by William Pinar (Pinar. 7] . distribution.. 1983. it becomes clear that none of these represents an objective thing or fact. 8] Thus. effectu ally enslaves subjugated classes. p. and assume that it is possible for inquiry to be free from ideology and values. It is associated with the work of writers who seek to reconceptualize the field of curriculum. to rethink and radically reconstruct the meaning of human emancipation [p .the ways'in which curricularists unwittingly perpetuate such structures. Uncritical advocacy merely per petuates the society and its value systems. critical theory is attacked by political conservatives and reactionaries because it stems from Marxist origins.

I devise my strategies: whom to work with. and reconceptualists. Orlosky and Smith (1978) offer four-part classification of styles of curriculum theory: (1) humanistic. the free associative remembrance of the past. (4) social reconstruction and adaptation. I determine my social commitments. Others discount the reconceptualist position because it has nothing to do with the curriculum of schools. (3) personal relevance or consumatory experience. Pinar probes the etymological root of curriculum and emphasizes the verb form again. to Come The preceding discussion is merely a whetting of the appetite for curriculum theory. With Madeleine Grumet (1976). now. consciousness. conceptual empiricists. I analyze what 1 uncover in the first two sections. There are many. so I can wield this information. I choose what of it to honor. (3) technological or analytic. which "refers to my existential experience of external structures" (Pinar and Grumet. for what. thus. Part II of this book is a more elaborate discussion of curriculum theory because it treats different paradigms of curriculum thought that directly embrace several dimensions of curriculum theory. The next step. those who Pinar classifies as traditionalists and conceptual empiricists. theorizing rather than the ory (1975). how. in order to uncover my aspiration. (More is said about this in Chapter Thirteen. they assert that it does not off er something that can be used by schools. I work to get a handle on what I've been and what l imagine myself to be. In this work. xii-xiii] Criticism. for-example. and is not deemed worthy of the theory label. Each of the following categorizations offers a different configuration and. (2) academic rationalism. the synthetical stage. 1976. cur rere. Third." but matters of temporality. the progressive. asks me to ponder meditatively the future. Pinar (1975) criticizes traditionalists who are concerned with the uncritical guiding of curriculum development in schools and conceptual empiricists who use methods of behavioral science to identify variables and their relationship and use these to explain and predict behavior. 1985. 1 choose again who is I aspire to be. just become acquainted with Pinar's division of curriculum theorists into three camps: traditionalists. Contrasting these efforts with reconceptual ists. transcendence. meaning an extant theory of the descriptive or prescriptive variety. vii). the authors illustrate a "regressiveprogressive-analytic-synthetic" mode of theorizing characterized thusly: The first step of the method of currere is regressive. More The four-part categorization of curriculum theory developed here is one of many found in the literature. who argue that what is advocated by theorizing is not theory and it is not curriculum. and (5) curriculum as technology. (2) disciplines of knowledge. We have. personal reflection. order to ascertain where I am moving. In brief.tuitive comprehension as well as cognitive codification. rather than it wielding me. They tend to study not "change in behavior" or "decision making in the classroom.) Looking broadly at the curriculum field. We work to excavate the present by focusing on the past. [pp. i x l Intent. Elliot Eisner has developed five orientations to or conceptions of curriculum theory: (1) the development of cognitive processes. (Eisner. Eisner and Vallance. The beginning of agency. adds to the richness of the topic.curriculum concerns. ir. and (4) . Now the antithesis. he asserts Reconceptualists tend to concern themselves with the internal'and existential experiences of the public world. It is dismissed by some as merely subjective. work to get underneath my everyday interpretation of what I experience and enter experience more deeply. how I wish my life history to read. in the present. ( p . and politics. More deeply. the reconceptualist attempts to understand the nature of the educational experience. The work of Pinar and Grumet sketched here constitutes only a portion of the conceptualizations and theorists that Pinar (1975) includes as reconceptualists. namely. p. what of it to let go. an analysis devoted to b. 1974).

they will realize how massively complex the problem of curriculum is. It is concerned with the broader environment of schooling and with education as a cultural phenomenon. axiology and ethics. see only the shadows of reality (referring to Plato's allegory of the cave). I did think the author's treatment of idealism to be a bit biased. how it should be developed. As for curriculum theory. logic. of course. as are most of the educational and curricular issues of our day. however. We need teachers who emerge from the cave and glimpse the source of illumination. they make even realism look inviting. Structural theory refers to analyses of components of curriculum policy or practice and/or examinations of decision making and planning. aesthetics. realism is such a banal acknowledgment of the obvious. and politics). It also relates to the development of arguments for the inclusion or exclusion of certain subject matter in the curriculum. ual Traditionalist It does my heart (should I say mind?) good to see a curriculum book emphasize philosophy. the only type worthy of being discussed is prescriptive . The rest are mere modern aberrations. we must read and reread Plato. On the issue of schools of philosophy. I particularly like the use of the traditional areas of philosophical inquiry (metaphysics. I would.futuristic. such as curriculum. in fact. It was so brief. social behaviorists. Neo-Thomism has many good qualities. is not nearly extensive enough to develop the relevance of curriculum and philosophy to each other. By contrast. sound philosophy courses. Mauritz Johnson (1977a) develops an elaborate blend of descriptive and prescriptive approaches. It is they who must return to the cave to help others see the reality of the realm of ideas. and what its uses are. Substantive theorizing deals with the question of what is most worth knowing or learning. then let them draw imrlications for curriculum from the study of philosophy. I certainly set my allegiances with the idealist. If some students are interested in education. Clearly. and immutable. the fact that sociocultural change is merely transparent. (2) generic. Intellectual traditionalists. The reason for this is. like to see many (or most) of the education courses in universities replaced by good. Dorothy Huenecke (1982) differentiates among three types of theorizing: (1) structural. Most of our students. by comparison. All the major philosophic questions are dealt with by Plato. absolute. These ideas are universal. ENTARIES The commentators represent an additional categorization for curriculum theory. think about the role of assumptions in their lives. and adults for that matter. One chapter. The model of theory and practice is useful. especially in its more secular dimension as exemplified by Hutchins and Adler. epistemology. It makes those who work in applied Olds. Generic theorizing is an attempt to understand the curricular impact of society and culture as mediated by schooling on social groups and individual persons. They are reflected in the great works of literature and the arts. and experientialists each speak to particular st aices on what theory is. but rejects as inappropriate personal theorizing and critical theory. and (3) substantive. real change occurs behind the scenes in the more fundamental ideas embedded in the universe. If curricularists immerse themselves in these concerns.

we are faced with the descriptive theorist's deification of science. it remains only to advocate them in a way that will be widely accepted. at least until I read the author's account of pragmatism. unlike the intellectual traditionalist and experientialist. nor is it to discover some absolute answer to each question. The great categories of philosophical questioning should not primarily be used to find out what the masters say and internalize it (as the intellectual traditionalist would advocate). They allow us to predict and control behavior. I am not so keen on the use of isms. what works. I don't know why they are even included in this book. Then we can exert the kind of control necessary to acquisition of specified treatment. If forced to respond to the schools of philosophic . and I can't say that it matters much. I believe that the theory-practice model should be used by each reader to clarify and develop his or her perspective on curriculum. We need more good research studies to reveal what works. I rely on my senses and my analysis of overt behavior. summary treatments do an injustice to the richness that can be gained from reading philosophers to understand the experiential style in which they create ideas. Experientialist The worth of this chapter depends on how it is used. As for my philosophy. they are ideological radicalism and softminded subjectivism. It is silly to describe and explain. We can never know what's hidden in the black box of consciousness (or preconsciousness). Thus. Yes. The other two curriculum theories aren't theories at all. We can't spend the day pondering when there is work to do. The categories provide the best set of dimensions that I know for building a well-integrated holistic philosophy of curriculum. Anyone who has looked at schools. Unfortunately. is the only solid ground I know of for deciding what should be. Armchair philosophers are a dime a dozen today. knows that there is plenty of work to do. I agree that we need a philosophy to do research well and to offer viable prescriptions for practitioners. They ignore the dark side of human nature that the great books reveal along with the' virtuous side.theory. The purpose is to continue the questioning and always to grow. I believe in what works! Maybe I'm eclectic. The other two modernists I would call hopelessly naive. Productive performance is what is important. To know what exists. sound descriptive studies are the basis of defensible prescriptions. when what is focused on is so blatantly superficial. But we don't need to beat a dead horse. We know that the great books offer the best education. Both critical theorists and personal theorists want to remake the world. as the saying goes. Social Behaviorist True to my propensity for parsimony. I am certainly a realist. We need to clarify and define our philosophy of education and then get to work putting it into practice. I plan to be economical in what I say. I draw from whatever philosophy works for the problem that needs resolution. I used to think this value made me a pragmatist. as descriptive theorists want to do. My curriculum theory orientation is clearly descriptive. I guess that makes me a pragmatist. even with inflation.

Giroux (1983). the need to take responsibility for creating one's world. Max van Manen. therefore. Levit (1971).thought. Molnar and Zahorik (1977). and Zais (1976) contain informative treatments of curriculum philosophy and theory. William . I recommend the five-volume Dic tionary of the History of Ideas (Weiner. I wish to end on a positive note (at least this time).e (1980). In addition. I do have a heavy leaning toward pragmatism as interpreted through Dewey in contrast to the social behaviorist. 1981a) entitled Philosophy and Education portray the development of the area quite well. I see some good in each and can imagine situations in which each might give the quality of perspective that I need. I recommend Kneller (1984). It seems. Soltis. in the admission that each of us can always grow. Elizabeth Valiance. I guess that I have talked about schools of philosophy and orientations to curriculum theory at the same time. It is in the continuous doing of philosophy. Other texts such as Tanner and Tani. I can't help but think that the world at large will become better too. thus. There is no better avenue toward this end than to realize. Jean Anyon. Eisner and Valiance (1974). I would add to this pair Philosophy of Education Since Mid-Century edited by Jonas Soltis (1981b). The volume contains articles by a wide range of curriculum theorists (Herbert Kliebard. I will present. There are a great many histories of philosophy: The Story of Philosophy (1961) by Will Durant and Bertrand Russell's Wisdom of the West (1959) are two. such work as Beauchamp (1981 and previous editions). For a concise summation of orientations to educational philosophy in recent years. 1942) entitled Philosophies of Education and the Eightieth (Part I. too. who defines consequences as "what works" and who doubtlessly views what works as what promotes self-interest. that careful observation of the interdependency or ecology of nature can give us clues about living together in more empathic understanding. Broudy (1961) for those who want to entertain the great questions systematically. and mature that the world can become a better place. Similarly. I can think of no better way to do this Than through conscientious. Rather than criticize the positions that I did not mention. personal theorizing. I suggest Philosophies of Education by Philip Phenix (1961a) for an excellent collection and Building a Philosophy of Education by Harry S. Emile Brehier's The History of Philosophy in seven volumes (published during the late 1960s by the University of Chicago Press) is recommended for the more ambitious. of the best known. As more people embark on such theorizing and consciously create their better worlds for themselves. Two yearbooks of the National Society for the Study of Education: The Fortyfirst (Part I. I would claim to be eclectic. I recommend appropriate sections of the eight-volume The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Edwards. We need more attention to consequences for others. Pinar (1975). GESTED READING Quite a number of sources have been mentioned throughout the chapter. 21(1)) edited by Gail McCutcheon. I want to note a special issue of Theory into Practice (Winter 1982. the critical theorist's attention to those who suffer and the need for compassion speak strongly to me. Henry. in the questioning of the taken-for-granted. expand. Herrick and Tyler (1950). With particular reference to philosophy of education. Concerning curriculum theory. and others have already been mentioned. Eisner (1985). In addition. as the existentialist does. On both the basic philosophical questions and schools of thought. 1967) published by CollierMacmillan. Similarly. Schiro (1978). George Beauchamp. mostly additional sources for those who wish to read more. 1974) published by Charles Scribner's Sons. there are numerous anthologies of excerpts from philosophical classics.

Decker Walker. (Or select another situation that you remember well. which would it be most consonant with? Can you rank the othets in order of their affi nity to you: own position? 10. Reflect on pillar IV of the "Model of Theory and Practice. Explain how you drew upon each of the above principles or guidelines as you dealt with the situation. Begin at the level of action and characterize your situation relative to the terms within pillar I. Compare your response to the last question in activity 3 with the characteriza tion of your position on the major philosophical questions in activity 4. pillar 111. common sense. or former places where you have worked in an educational capacity? Which best characterizes institutions of . Macdonald. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REFLECTION 1. Tom Barone. James B. and Cleo Cherryholmes). Can you identify basic assumptions that you currently have that were different last year at this time? Five years ago? Ten years ago? Would you characterize your philosophy as continuously growing or relatively fixed? What accounts for its growth or fixity? 7. How does your philosophy of curriculum compare with that of the institution for which you work (or have worked in the past if not currently working)? What are the major similarities and diffe: •ences? At the institutional level? At the building level? At the department level? At the interpersonal level? 9. Think of a problematic situation that you faced recently. Use the "Model of Theory and Practice" (Figure 5-1). Then move to pillar II and ask: How was my situational decision and action derived from various contributors to common sense? Do the same for the policy level. so don't be alarmed. Gail McCutcheon. Realize that everyone's philosophy should be a growing process. use to guide your educational situation? How do these principles or guidelines relate to curriculum? 2. At other times one has diffi culty realizing the ideals that one sets for oneself.) Think backward to deeper levels that show origins of your decision and action. Think of the action on which you reflected in activity 2. Which school of philosophy would you like to learn more about? Which orientation to curriculum theory? Why did you select the one that you selected? How might you go about learning more about it? 11. To what extent were your actions in harmony with your principles? To what extent might your actions have been adapted to be more compatible with the principles? To what extent do your actions reveal that your principles themselves should be reconstructed to represent your actions more fully? 3. Is there any discrepancy? There usually is. 6. 8." Can you sketch some of your basic assumptions in each of the dimensions of philosophical inquiry? Review the characterization of each in the chapter. What school of philosophy and what orientation to curriculum theory best characterizes your school or place of work. policy. Madeleine Crumet. Then proceed to pillar IV and ask: What basic assumptions are represented by my decision and action case? 4. What are three to five principles that you. and philosophy in your lif-. consider the dynamic interplay among action.Pinar. Sometimes one's action leads the way and later becomes part of one's philosophy. Try to fill in the open-ended cells of Figure 5-2 to portray assumptions of philosophic schools. as an educator. If you were to characterize your own philosophy of education as closest to one of the schools of philosophy. 5. How does your practical experience influence your curriculum philosophy? How do policy mandates in your professional situation affect your philosophy and your practical action? How does your philosophy guide your daily decision and action? What influences that which we usually call common sense? In short.

What do you consider to be three strengths and three weaknesses of each of the four orientations to curriculum theory presented in this chapter? Which orientation do you think is most helpful to the future of the curriculum field? Why? .higher education that you have attended? What about the program you are now taking? 1 2 .