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Why compulsory science education should not include philosophy of science


Davson-Galle, P, Why compulsory science education should not include philosophy of science, Science & Education, 17, (7) pp. 677-716. ISSN 1573-1901 (2006) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2006 Springer

DOI: doi:10.1007/s11191-006-9043-9


Like many readers of this journal, I have long been an advocate of having science students introduced to philosophy of science. In particular, influenced by the Philosophy for Children movement founded by Matthew Lipman, I have advocated such an introduction as early as possible and have championed early secondary school as an appropriate place. Further, mainstream science curricula in a number of countries have, for some time now, supported such introductions (albeit of a more limited sort) under the banner of introducing students to the "Nature of Science". In this paper, I explore a case against such introductions, partly in role as "Devil's Advocate" and partly exploring genuine qualms that have come to disturb me. Generally speaking, my judgement is that no justification is available in terms of benefit to the individual or to society of sufficient weight to outweigh the loss of freedom of choice involved in such forced learning. One possible exception is a minimalist and intellectually passive "Nature of Science" introduction to some uncontroversial philosophical views about science.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:compulsory curricula, student freedom, autonomy, paternalism, group benefit versus individual benefit, school philosophy of science, philosophy for children, nature of science
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education policy, sociology and philosophy
Research Field:History and philosophy of education
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Schools and learning environments
Objective Field:Policies and development
UTAS Author:Davson-Galle, P (Mr Peter Davson-Galle)
ID Code:40739
Year Published:2006
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2006-08-01
Last Modified:2012-11-28
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