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Rizal Technological University

College of Graduate Studies





MEM student


A. Ancient Roots Heraclitus (540 BC) th Century The Sophists (5 BC) B. Francis Bacon (1561-1626) C. Auguste Comte (1798-1857) D. The Pragmatist Tradition in America 1. Charles Sanders Peirce (1839-1914) 2. William James (1842-1910) 3. John Dewey (1858-1952)

A. Some Ancient Roots of Pragmatism

Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus from Asia Minor is the figure in the foreground whose elbow rests on the large block of stone. He has the face of the great Italian Renaissance artist Michelangelo-Raphael's homage to the restless genius of both men. Heraclitus is known as the obscure philosopher because of the difficulty of his writing and profundity of his thought. He recognized "becoming," rather than being, as the basic state of all things, and believed that change was the only constant in nature. He identified the universal substance from which all things arise as fire, which is in a state of constant flux. Despite its changeable nature, fire goes through a recognizable process that, like everything else, is regulated by what Heraclitus called the logos--the principle of order, which reconciles opposites.

Heraclitus ( 540-480 BC)

There is a kind of poetic dualism to which he gave expression in a variety of ways. On every hand he beheld opposites; the water and earth, day and night, winter and summer, war and peace, cold and warm.

The Sophists ( 5th Century BC)

Skeptics - questioning the possibility of knowledge Agnostics - confirmed believers in the impossibility of knowledge. Gorgias show how complete was this distrust by three propositions. 1. nothing exists. 2. if anything did exists we could never know it. 3. if perchance a man should come to know it, it would remain a secret, he would unable to describe it to his fellow-men. Protagoras agreed Heraclitus that all things change. He define knowledge as sense perception. Each sense perception is the nearest approach to genuine knowledge that man can have. His sayings: Whatever perceptions I have at a given time, those perceptions are true to me . Nature produces a stimulus sense perception Individual man makes a response

B. Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

English philosopher and statesman, one of the pioneers of modern scientific thought. Novum Organum - is regarded as an important contribution to scientific methodology. In this work Bacon advanced the necessity of experimentation and accurate observation. Writing in aphorisms (concise statements of principle), Bacon outlined four types of false notions or methods that impede the ability to study nature impartially. He labeled these notions the Idols of the Tribe, the Idols of the Cave, the Idols of the Market-place, and the Idols of the Theater. xxiii There is a great difference between the Idols of the human mind and the Ideas of the divine. xxxix There are four classes of idols which beset men's minds. 1. Idols of the Tribe (the habit of imposing his own nature) 2. Idols of the Cave (second habit of knowledge is the individualized of the first.) 3. Idols of the Market-place (third habit of the mind arises from the necessity of using language in communication) 4. Idols of the Theater (adopting systems of dogmas and allowing them to become so important as to preclude new thought or investigation.) New Atlantis is a utopian novel published in Latin (as Nova Atlantis) in 1624 and in English in 1627. In this work, Bacon portrayed a vision of the future of human discovery and knowledge, expressing his aspirations and ideals for humankind ..his acute sense that science means invasion of the unknown, rather than repetition in logical form of the already known, make him .. the father of induction. Endless and persistent uncovering of facts and principles not known-such is the true spirit of induction. Dewey

C. Auguste Comte (1798-1857) French positivist philosopher, who was a founder of sociology. Comte was born in Montpellier on January 19, 1798. Very early he rejected his family's Roman Catholicism and royalist political views. He attended the cole Polytechnique in Paris from 1814 to 1816, when he was expelled for participating in a student rebellion. Positive Philosophy Comte s Three Stages of Progress 1. theological- supernatural powers as the foundation of existence. 2. metaphysical some substances or powers as the root of existence. 3. positive - the laws revealed by the exact sciences as constituting the final and ultimate structure of things.

D. The Pragmatist Tradition in America

1. Charles Sanders Peirce 1839-1914 The pragmatist knows that doubt is an art which has to be acquired with difficulty. Peirce developed pragmatism as a theory of meaning in particular, the meaning of concepts used in science. He formulated a criterion for determining the meanings of ideas coined the term pragmatism as a name for this doctrine in epistemology. To determine the meaning of any idea, put it into practice in the objective world of actualities and whatever its consequence prove to be, these constitute the meaning of the idea . If ideas work, they are true .

2. William James 1842-1910 James was primarily interested in showing how systems of morality, religion, and faith could be defended in a scientific civilization. James moved pragmatism in directions that Peirce strongly disliked. He generalized Peirce s doctrines to encompass all concepts, beliefs, and actions; he also applied pragmatist ideas to truth as well as to meaning. 3. John Dewey 1859-1952 Dewey s philosophy can be described as a version of philosophical naturalism, which regards human experience, intelligence, and communities as ever-evolving mechanisms. Dewey was one of the most productive writers that the 19th and 20th centuries produced. Democracy and Education- the greatest book that has been in publication for over forty years.

Five propositions of the development of pragmatism suggest some significant attitudes of contemporary pragmatism. 1. All things flow; nothing remains the same. Heraclitus and Dewey 2. It is impossible to gain knowledge of ultimate reality. Sophists and Dewey 3. Hypotheses tested by experience constitute the nearest approached to knowledge which we have. Sophists and Dewey 4. Science should become a social pursuit by being applied cooperatively to the study of all problems of man. - Bacon, Comte, and Dewey 5. In order to determine the meaning of an idea, it must be put into practice; the consequences which follow constitute the meaning of the idea . Pierce, James and Dewey

Pragmatism is a theory of knowledge. a way of evaluating theories: a philosophical view that a theory or concept should be evaluated in terms of how it works and its consequences as the standard for action and thought. Dewey s Book Reconstruction in Philosophy Chapter IV entitled Changing Conceptions of Experience and Reason 1. Pragmatism Compared to Rationalism Pragmatism is not rationalistic particular things are markedly individual that no universals can do justice to them. 2. Pragmatism Compared to Empiricism Pragmatism is not empirical in traditional sense does not regard any compilation of facts as constituting knowledge, even when those facts are yielded by refined sensation or scientific observation.
a. b. c. The Pragmatic Treatment of Sense Perception Pragmatic Knowledge not an Accumulation of Facts Experimental Method

The Pragmatic Method of Knowledge It yields two things: 1. knowledge, to the limited extent of a sense of the particular way of acting which is acceptable in a particular unit of experience.2. value, to the extent that there is action in addition to judgment or conclusion, and something is done which yields changes and brings needed results.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. The world is all foreground. The world characterized throughout by process and change. The world is precarious. The world is incomplete and indeterminate. The world is pluralistic. The world has ends within its own process. The world is not, nor does it include, transempirical reality. Man is continues with the world. Man is not an active cause in the world. The world does not guarantee progress


Pragmatism does not define values as though they existed in any ultimate or final manner. 1. Ethical Value the basis for the existence of ethical values is constituted by the individual-social life process in which selves are in communication with other selves and with groups by means of language. 2. Aesthetic Value- the particular value which these experiences have is that they possess beauty or yield meanings which we want to preserved. 3. Religious Value- the value of realizing values. 4. Social Values- social values are fundamental in the philosophy of pragmatism.


1. The Pattern of Logic
activity problem observation of data formulation of hypotheses testing of hypotheses

The pattern outlined in Dewey s Logic The Indeterminate Situation Institution of a Problem The determination of a Problem-Solution Reasoning The Operational Character of Facts-Meanings Common Sense and Scientific Inquiry 2. Some Characterizations of Pragmatic Logic a. Logic is regarded as autonomous b. This pattern of logic is closely related to the biological realm. c. The pattern of logic is closely related to the culture. d. Indeterminate situations may be either individual or social.

Three necessities which justify the existence of the school as a distinct institution of society. 1. Were there are no other circumstances requiring it, the school would be necessary to supply the volume of learning each new generation needs. 2. Modern man must have the help of other men of his own day and generation. 3. The fact that language symbols are the means by which the heritage is communicated. A. Education as a social institution 1. Represent society to the child in a simplified form which makes learning possible. 2. The school can also be selective in a qualitative manner as it represents society to the young. 3. It has the responsibility of giving the child a balanced and genuinely representative acquaintance with society. B. The Pupil The Pattern of Individuality Biological birth and his growth and development Acquisition of language and his initiation thereby into the communication of meanings between individual and groups.

Emergence of selfhood and the cluster of meanings which hinge about this focus of conscious experience C. The Objectives in Education The general objective of education is more education. To give the learner experience in effective experiencing. Social objective: better organized environing world . D. The Educative Process Experimental method is also the method of learning. The indeterminacies may be sufficiently focused to constitute a problem or maybe a set of problems. The achievement of the past and the issues of the present a potent instrumentality for dealing effectively with the future The stage of resolution-the new hypothetical patterns are put to the test of action. A Reform in Education Progressive Education Movement- a revolt against formalism. The education was a clear improvement over the old: -It substituted expression and cultivation of individuality for imposition. - it supplemented discipline with greater freedom of activity. - It paralleled learning from texts and teachers with learning through experience. -It gave meaning to the acquisition of skills by making skills a means of realizing ends. - it corrected the general objective of preparing for a remote future by full exploitation of its concern to make the most of present opportunities The Educative Use of Experience The cycles of learning have the same freedom, flow, variety, and newness of the cycles of experience. .. It is part of the educator s responsibility to see equally two things: First, that the problem grows out of the conditions of the experience being had in the present, and that it is within the range of the capacity of the students; secondly, that it is such that it arouses in the learner an active quest for information and for production on new ideas. Dewey The Teacher The teacher must respect the freedom of his students. the teacher loses the position of external boss or dictator but takes on that of leader of group activities. The Method Building and executing units of study patterned after and matching the cycles of experience. Creative and constructive projects. Discussion-for it constitutes a means by which group thinking ca go on. Gathering facts.

A. The Status of Religion James took experience of the reality of the unseen as the beginning point in the philosophy of religion. (The Varieties of Religious Experience) it is impossible to extract any common element as characteristic of religion. B. The Nature of God James a realist in religion, finding God in immediate experiences of the presence of the unseen. Dewey relinquishes at the outset all conceptions of God as supernatural. C. The Nature of Man Pragmatism regards man as an integral part of Nature and perfectly continuous with it. Man is by no means a creature of pure sweetness and light whose future is guaranteed. He is part of the natural order and he must be kept in continuous relation with natural and social processes.


THE Strengths of Pragmatism 1. The philosophy of pragmatism may offer some wise counsel for day-by-day living which may help maintain mental health. This counsel is that we live through one experience at a time. 2. It supplemented older methods such as conventional induction, deduction and experimentation. 3. There is much value in the power of pragmatism to keep us close to experience and to shatter for us the artificiality of the cloistered and formally academic. 4. Pragmatism s contribution to education is notable. THE Weaknesses of Pragmatism 1. It has the peculiar genius of following the ways of Spirit without believing in the existence of Spirit and possessing its essence. 2. There is a sense in which experimental method is arbitrary applied, at least to some situations, by the philosophy of pragmatism. 3. Pragmatism does not say that we can find a way out of all indeterminate situations. 4. There is an overemphasis on individuation. 5. There is a philosophical incompleteness in the lack of an overarching unity in pragmatism. 6. Pragmatism is too radically agnostic. 7. Pragmatism is too radically negative in its ontology. It actually gives us no meaning at all for the word. 8. The individual-social life process is not a sufficient existence base for values. 9. In education, the conception of the pupil, like the conception of the self in a more general context, is not satisfactory. 10. The general objective should include more than social efficiency. It is well to redefine social efficiency so that it includes all that culture or the liberal arts connote.