The Wittgensteinian revolution and linguistic philosophy : some implications for education and educational philosophy : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Education at Massey University

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Massey University
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The potential relevance for Education of Wittgenstein's concept of the 'language-game', and the now widely accepted view of Philosophy as an activity to be practised rather than a body of knowledge to be learned up, are investigated principally in two of the 'component' disciplines of Education, namely Science Education and Educational philosophy. In both of these areas, it has been claimed that Philosophy is relevant and has already been incorporated in existing work. A number of sub-optimal features are outlined for both areas, however, taking several widely-used publications as examples for detailed (though not exhaustive) critical examination; and it is argued that many of the faults revealed could be ameliorated through adoption of a Wittgensteinian approach especially if combined with Kuhn's (1962) notion of the 'paradigm' differentiated into the concepts of 'Common Assumptions paradigm' (CAP) and 'Paradigmatic Demonstration' (or 'Public Demonstration Paradigm', PDP). This new synthesis results in a conceptual schema in which each 'family' of language-games which constitutes an academic discipline (or any intellectual or societal activity), is constrained and directed by its underlying CAP; and 'revolutionary' change in Kuhn's sense is accomplished by an alteration from CAP1 to CAP2 (a new CA Paradigm), signalled by a Paradigmatic Demonstration (PDP) that anomalies generated within the CAP1 l-gs but not fully statable within them, can be both stated and resolved within the l-gs of CAP2. This revolutionary 'paradigm-shift' is shown to involve alterations in the meanings of words, such that substantial problems of translation may arise - but may not be perceived as such - between the l-gs of CAP1 and CAP2, the users of the former perhaps being genuinely unableto see the latter as being othor than (strictly) nonsense, i.e. meaningless, or false. The 'translation problem' between teachers and taught is viewed as a possible analogue of that between the several proponent-groups of different CAPs, and some of the practical implications of this for education (notably for examining) are explored. Although the main purpose of the thesis is not exegesis nor critique of Wittgenstein's philosophy in itself, some attention is devoted to issues of interpretation, especially his doctrine of 'the unsayable' as against 'the sayable', in view of the significance for education of precise differentiation between the two; also for the abstraction, in relation to this distinction, of an adequate concept of 'reason'/'rationality'. In relation to the concept arrived at from Wittgen-stein's and other published writings, concepts of 'rationality' etc. appealed to by Peters, Hirst, and others of the 'London' school of Educational Philosophy, are argued as being inadequate and misleading. In Science Education, various limitations and faults are argued as being remediable if sufficient attention is paid to problems at the methodological/philosophical level, i.e. at the confluence between Educational Philosophy and Philosophy of Science; and educational changes needed-to facilitate appropriate developments on these lines are outlined and discussed.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophy of language, Linguistic philosophy, Educational philosophy, Education, Philosophy, Science study and teaching