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Title: Non-separability in intentional predicates : a radical re-conceptualistion of teaching, learning and assessment
Author: Cantley, Ian
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2013
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Jerome Bruner (1990) issued a call for psychology to abandon its preoccupation with the Newtonian scientific paradigm and to return to first principles by directing its attention to intentionality in general, and meaning in particular. Needless to say, intentional predicates such as meaning, understanding, learning, thinking, remembering, believing, and so on, are also of central concern to education. This thesis takes up Bruner's challenge by appealing to the philosophical writings of Bohr and the later Wittgenstein. Bohr was adamant that the prope11ies of intentional predicates fit the framework of quantum theory, which superseded Newtonian mechanics as the best model of physical reality in the early pat1 of the twentieth century. Wittgenstein's later philosophy of psychology contains an extensive analysis of the nature of intentional predicates. At odds with Bruner's first-person "theory of mind", the author draws on the writings of Bohr and Wittgenstein to identify a first-person/third-person asymmetry governing all intentional predicates. The ideas of these two influential twentieth century thinkers are used to identify four misconceptions in contemporary educational (and psychological) thinking. It is argued that measurement in education and psychology is not a matter of checking up on something already in existence; rather, the measurer pat1icipates in what he or she observes. In these circumstances, strong objectivity yields to weak objectivity. The construct measured and the measuring instrument cannot be meaningfully divided, and a more profound link between assessment and learning is established. The thesis makes the case that paradoxical difficulties attend the notion that learning established concepts is tantamount to getting mental entities in mind. Psychology and education have a tendency to treat human capacities as mental states. The author makes the case that the capacity to participate in a range of disciplinary practices is the criterion for having learned an established concept. The author questions the frequently encountered contention that teaching which involves training pupils to apply the paradigm examples of science and mathematics, for example, (what Dewey characterised as "pouring in ") is little more than behavioural conditioning. Finally, pace progressivist thinking, the thesis makes the case that children go to school to acquire a framework which constrains otherwise untrammelled creativity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available