chapter  13
19 Pages

Philosophy of education and the place of science in the curriculum

ByP. H. Nidditch

The Neo-Ramism of today does not, like its forerunner, contrast ‘analysis’ with the citation. of authors; its mode of ‘analysis’ is to be contrasted with what is functionally analogous to such citation: a due consideration of actual or possible empirical evidence. Ramism constituted a step-although more a kick than a pace-towards the empiricism (in the sense of concern for evidence) first apparent in modern times in the generation of Bacon, Galileo, and Kepler: the Ramist rejection of external authorities helped to clear a way for the rise of an empiricist method, for which Ramism’s cognitive vacuousness still left a crucial gap. But Neo-Ramism seems to serve no purgative purpose. And its complacent aprioristic doctrine ‘that all the evidence which bears upon [philosophers’] problems is already available to them’5-to quote the words of a distinguished adherent-is hardly compatible with an empiricist method. For arguments have contexts that change through changes of circumstance and consciousness, and so do concepts and their constellations; and in at least many important cases alertness to contents and developments of activities and disciplines outside philosophical reflection as such is materially relevant to an understanding and evaluation of arguments and concepts. For instance, the past record shows that philosophical reflection on ‘the ordinary concept of matter’ or ‘the ordinary concept of probability’ yields nothing for the Advancement of Learning in comparison with the work of the physical scientist and the mathematical probabilist or statistician. Rather than being inward-looking very much, philosophy should be outwardbound.6