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Analytic philosophy Background Meaning Function In Education.

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1 Analytic philosophy Background Meaning Function In Education

2 Analytic philosophy A 20 th century philosophy which flourished in Britain and USA. It is a rejection of traditional philosophy which is too speculative, idealistic and abstract as exemplified by the common early metaphysical question; What is the nature of being? What is real, mind or matter?

3 Analytic philosophy, according to Thompson;(1995:182), is ‘concerned with the meaning of statements and the way in which their truth can be verified, and with using philosophy as analytic tool to examine and show the presuppositions of our language and thought.’ Example of statements: The standard of education has fallen down Ineffectiveness of schools lowers the standard of education

4 Analytic philosophy is an activity itself not a system of thought like other philosophies as emphasized by Vennagum in (Popkin and Stroll:1981) that ‘it is not a theory but an activity’. A good example of philosophy as an activity rather than a theory is through Socratic method; which tries to clarify people’s ideas by seeking clarification of questions which ultimately leads to agreed, precise and adequate definitions.

5 This begins with: posing a question focusing on concepts or terms; freedom, courage, fear, discipline, beauty, performance; define the term in relation to people’s experiences; consider their opposites; clarify the meaning; consensus

6 In education we have many concepts that need to be analyzed and verified like: Child-centered teaching/learning Aims, purpose and goals of education Integrated curriculum Free education Subject advisers Inspectors, supervisors Gender sensitive

7 Moore and Bruder (1990) give the ideas of some philosophers on Philosophical Analysis: Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951): ‘the goal of analysis was to reduce all complex descriptive propositions to their ultimately simple constituent propositions’. Complex descriptive proposition Square circles are nonexistent things Simple proposition No squares are circular

8 Russell (1872-1970) in) contends that analysis is the proper method of philosophy. Ryle: Analysis is a linguistic therapy to the confusion of traditional philosophy. Logical positivists who proclaimed the verifiability criterion of meaning contends that philosophy is not a theory but an activity whose business is the logical clarification of thought.

9 So, analytic philosophy: does not deal with building systems of thought; deals with clarification of language that we use to explain phenomenon; does not prescribe goals in education but enable us to understand better those goals and aims prescribed; simplifies communication to facilitate understanding of meaning by checking the clarity of language.

10 Functions It has no specific content it deals with logical analysis of language; concepts and statements in order to: examine clarity of statements and concepts and remove ambiguity and confusion; express ideas and meanings precisely and accurately; solve the problem of meaning by testing it through experience;

11 distinguish meaningful and meaningless statements. Statements without any factual or objective meaning must be rejected. Values and morals are just seen as emotive statements, without any factual or objective meaning. So statements that are meaningful are only those that can be empirically verified It is virtuous to help others Corruption is an enemy of the people Corruption is evil

12 classify statements: analytical and synthetic; Analytical propositions depends on the terms they contain, meaning is intrinsic. Synthetic statements can only be verified empirically, they do not contain truth in themselves. remove internal contradictions of statements when analyzing interpretation of issues and problems; precise formulation and expression of ideas for easy communication;

13 In education More concerned with formulation of education ideas and clear expression of those ideas for easy understanding; –A university that tries to put its professors and its students as blinkers will neither serve the cause of knowledge, nor the interest of the society in which it exists (Nyerere in Lema et al; 2006:29) Analysis of other people’s ideas on education to avoid misunderstanding Discuss the concepts that are commonly used in education, teaching, learning, knowledge and curriculum to check their clarity. Discuss issues and problems that arise in the conduct of education, analyze them and put them in clear perspective; method, technique, strategy

14 In the process of analysis, check: normal use of the concept; find distinctive meanings; find common criteria of the usage; discover various possible meanings; how the meanings relate to one another; how the meaning is related to other concepts; what is the most adequate or appropriate meaning; precision in the expression of one’s ideas There is need for careful attention and sensibility to the use of the concepts

15 Relevance Teaching sound reasoning Avoid contradictions in statements Making use of all available evidence and facts when putting forward an argument Teachers learn to accept or reject arguments on the basis of their soundness and clarity not on emotional basis or who is making an argument. Through clarification and precise analysis a teacher can understand personal prejudices and expose what are the real issues

16 In school teachers can: avoid unnecessary disagreements, contradictions, inconsistencies and dogmatic decisions. trains high sense of imagination and reasoning; Justify and weigh opinions of different groups in the school or in the community and analyze what is right, wrong or rational; express concepts clearly in classroom; Critically analyze issues for comprehensive decisions Analyze language as symbolic meaning of communication

17 References Akinpelu, J (1981): An Introduction to Philosophy of Education. McMillan: Oxford Halverson, W (1981): Concise Readings in Philosophy. Random House: New York. Moore & Bruder (1990): Philosophy: The Power of Ideas. Mayfield Publishing Com. Nyirenda, S & Ishumi (2000): Introduction to Philosophical Concepts, Principles and Practice. Dar-es-Salaam University Press: Dar-es-Salaam. Thompson, M (): Philosophy. Hodder Headline: London Lema, E (2006): Nyerere on Education -Volume II: Selected Essays and Speeches 1961-1967.Haki Elimu & E & D Limited: Dar-es- Salaa.

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