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Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

"Is there a sound method for constructing and assessing philosophical theories?" It's a good question. It's one that is encountered not only in philosophy but also in theories of education and technology. I frequently run into the supposition that the answer to this question is "yes" (and then see defended some outmoded version of the hypothetico-deductive method). But readers will know that I've often expressed a form of methodological scepticism in these posts. As Paul Feyerabend says in Against Method: "anything goes". I'm especially sceptical of putative 'empirical' methods in education (placed in scare quotes because I don't think they're actually empirical). The debates in education are rarely about how we know whether something 'succeeds' but in whether we should even be trying to do this thing at all. 'Method' doesn't solve these debates; it assume the debate has already been resolved.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
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Last Updated: May 29, 2024 10:59 p.m.

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