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Demystifying epistemological practice

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Abstract:

Epistemology is often presented as an abstract body of knowledge accessible only to a small minority of intellectually capable individuals. In this paper, we elaborate the educational possibilities that present themselves when we question this prejudice and consider epistemology as a social practice. We argue that epistemology looses its air of divine mystery and becomes one of many language games they learn to play. We provide illustrations for this argument from high school students’ conversations conducted in the context of their physics course. Enacting epistemological practice in the educational context is therefore not only possible but also desirable. It triggers a recursive self-organizing process that transforms pedagogical practice itself and thus brings to the foreground the socio-political and ethical character of the educational endeavor. Our brief argument is written in the form of a reflexive text and is presented as the starting point for the readers to begin a conversation about the problematic subjects raised.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Departement de didactique, de psychopedagogie et de technologie educative, Faculte des sciences de l'education, Universite Laval, Quebec, G1K 7P4, Canada. Email:jacques.desautels@did.ulaval.ca 2: Department of Social and Natural Sciences, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria, Victoria BC V8W 3N4, Canada. Email: mroth@uvic.ca

Publication date: January 1, 1999

imp/chk/1999/00000006/00000001/28
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