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Open Access Pedagogisch gezag is geen epistemisch gezag. Een pleidooi tegen de verwetenschappelijking van de pedagogiek

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Pedagogical authority is not a matter of epistemic authority. Against the scientification of pedagogy

I argue in this paper that upbringing and education do not profit from having become objects of scientific investigation. Epistemic authority, the typical kind of product of the sciences, has not much of a role to play in pedagogical relationships. This is mainly because such relationships are predominantly arranged around what I call ‘normative expectations’. Such expectations are not grounded in knowledge of causal or instrumental patterns but are determined in a practice of mutually ascribing and undertaking obligations and entitlements. Epistemic authority would have to be based on a model of such practices, but using this kind of knowledge-based authority in such practices does disturb the practice due to looping effects. As a result of such looping effects pedagogical relationships are, from a scientific point of view, essentially moving targets. This does not mean that upbringing and education do not need serious intellectual attention. They do. But such attention should be grounded in common sense, rather than in a scientistic attempt to replace common sense.
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Keywords: authority; common sense; normative expectation; pedagogical relationship; scientification

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Jan Bransen is werkzaam als hoogleraar Filosofie van de gedragswetenschappen aan de Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen. Correspondentieadres:, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: November 1, 2016

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  • Het tijdschrift Pedagogiek stelt zich ten doel de wetenschappelijke discussie over opvoeding, onderwijs en vorming binnen het Nederlands taalgebied (Nederland en Vlaanderen) te stimuleren en te ondersteunen. Pedagogiek beoogt naast een bijdrage aan het wetenschappelijke debat ook de maatschappelijke discussie op de terreinen van opvoeding, onderwijs en vorming te bevorderen. Bijdragen zullen dan ook uitdrukkelijk worden beoordeeld op zowel hun wetenschappelijke als maatschappelijke relevantie. Pedagogiek biedt: (1) wetenschappelijke verslagen van empirisch, theoretisch en historisch onderzoek op het gebied van opvoeding, onderwijs en vorming, alsmede review studies op onderhavige terreinen; (2) opiniërende bijdragen van wetenschappelijk niveau (Forumbijdragen); (3) boekbesprekingen.

    The journal Pedagogiek (Pedagogy) aims to stimulate and support the scholarly discourse on child rearing, education and training within the Dutch language area (The Netherlands and the Flemish region). Pedagogiek strives to contribute to the scholarly debate, but also desires to boost the public debate on the subject of child rearing, education and training. Therefore, contributions will be judged explicitly on both their scholarly merit and their social relevance. Pedagogiek offers: (1) scholarly articles reporting on empirical, theoretical and historical research in the field of child rearing, education and training, and review studies in the same field; (2) opinion pieces on a scholarly level (panel discussions); (3) book reviews.

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