Ideas of Pragmatism Free Essay

Scientific Research in Education

The philosophical foundations of education allow the scientists to take a fresh look at education in the twenty first century. The most promising is recognized education research, which is developed on the basis of two interrelated principles the ability to quickly navigate the rapidly growing flow of information, find the right and the ability to apply the information received. It has become customary and obvious that the purpose of educational activities is not the triad – “knowledge, skills,” but the cultural needs and creative abilities of teachers, students, parents, managers and all those who are somehow involved in the educational space. Philosophical analysis always anticipated innovations in education. The philosophy of education allows radically rethink educational processes.

The difficulties of the formation of the philosophy of education research as a science are primarily due to the complexity and multiplicity of the very definition of “philosophy of education”. Analysis of the history of the philosophy of education as a scientific discipline shows that today a clear structure of this subject area has already taken shape: the ontology of education; educational epistemology; education logic; axiology of education; educational methodology; ethics and aesthetics of education; history of education. National Research Council (NRC) attempt to define science-based research in education (Shavelson, 2002). The study of the philosophy of education is indispensable for the organization of full-fledged professional education. Today the philosophy of education is needed both by philosophers and educators. It is able to form an outlook that provides the teacher with an understanding of the place of pedagogy or the subject area taught by him in the modern world, and not only in the history and theory of pedagogy

The relevance of a comprehensive philosophical study of the state of modern education and the role of the philosophy of education in understanding the trends of its development are due not only to reasons of a social nature but also to the demands of the development of philosophy itself. The philosophy of education allows you to highlight the laws of learning and communication of knowledge to man developing the theory of personality, it argues the desirability of restructuring human consciousness in the process of its formation. The tendencies of modern social development through their understanding in the context of the philosophy of education determine the development of a personality capable in the conditions of bifurcation (at the crossroads of civilization paths) to make the right choice and follow it over the current system of training.

Criticizing the modern system of education and upbringing, they put forward educational development projects, essentially laying the foundation for the philosophy of education. Philosophical understanding of education is extremely important because it provides a generalized picture of the present and also defines a strategic model of the future in society. At the same time, it should be noted that fundamental changes are taking place in philosophy itself, which allow for a systematic analysis of the modern philosophy of education. In the domestic literature can be noted pronounced systemic-philosophical trends, developing from several roots. This is a systems approach and a general theory of systems in science, broad system generalizations of dialectical methods of cognition, a holistic system-humanitarian approach that is increasingly being introduced into various spheres of public life and synthetically interpreted by the latest philosophy, a system-information approach to the cognition and transformation of reality. The current trends in the development of philosophy allowed, in our opinion, to identify the problem of a meta-analysis of philosophy in the context of the problems of modern education, to set and carry out a search for the philosophical foundations of education.


Positivism perspective assumes that knowledge is a secure foundation, it relied on a predominantly quantitative methodology in research. It is interesting for education research because, along with materialism, it is an attempt to abandon classical idealism and an attempt to build a new science-friendly philosophy based on science. To begin with, let us try to define in general terms what is positivism. It includes emphasis on verification or falsification; sayings must have a clear criterion of their truth; interest in observations, experience; all knowledge must ultimately be based on our feelings. There are no reasons as special phenomena, there is only constancy of the connection of phenomena. This item is frequent, but not mandatory for all positivists. It is needed to understand the role of explanations. They do not play an important role, only helping us to clarify and organize data.

Post-Positivism perspective assumes that there is no absolute truth. Post-Positivism continues to be concerned with objective realities that exist. Post-positivism is accepting of both quantitative and qualitative methodology, and post-positivists postulate that researcher bias is almost unavoidable since the theories, knowledge, culture, values and the background of the researcher go a long way in influencing the research observations (Phillips & Burbules, 2001). Post-Positivist perspective on educational research connects a critical mindset and keeps faith in the possibility of a rational knowledge of the world. Critical thinking begins with a doubt in the dogmatic attitude, that fact is something intuitively obvious, that there is a naturally perceived difference between experience (facts) and theories that scientific knowledge, unlike all other forms of knowledge, begins with facts and is supported by them. At the same time, erasing a clear distinction between facts and theories, refusing to consider scientific theories as for the result of an inductive generalization of experimental data, denying the possibility of finding absolutely reliable grounds for scientific knowledge. Peculiarities of post-positivism:

  1. The weakening of attention of the problem in formal logic
  2. Active addressing the history of science, focusing on the dynamics of the development of science and its contradictions
  3. Refusal of severe restrictions between empire and theory, science and philosophy
  4. Analysis of socio-cultural factors of scientific activity
  5. Replacement of verification by falsification
  6. Recognition of the role of philosophy.

One of the options was the concept of the development of scientific knowledge, known as the “methodology of research programs.” The advantage of the research programs is that he managed to avoid portraying the dynamics of science as a permanent revolution and simultaneously explain the obvious empirical fact from the history of science – the relative stability of scientific theories in the process of their coordination with experience over a long period of time. Among the shortcomings of the methodology of research programs is that it is fundamentally impossible for a final victory or defeat of one of the competing scientific programs.


Interpretivism comes from the fact that subjective values play a key role in social actions. Its purpose is to identify key interpretations and meanings shared by individuals and social groups. “Phenomenological human science is discovery oriented. It wants to find out what a certain phenomenon means and how it is experienced (Dowling, 2007). This philosophy theory focuses on interpreting the lived experience and tries to get at the universal essence of phenomena. Its purpose is to identify key interpretations and meanings shared by individuals and social groups. The interpretative model is a model that represents a direct comprehension of social reality in the process of finding the right language for interpreting its meaning and a general understanding of its meaning. Principles: there are no objective laws, since social actions consist of situational interpretations based on human subjectivity; we are closed in the world of discourse, society as such is a kind of text that we read differently at different times; there are only historically specific phenomena and no general laws applicable to any place and time can be discovered. This paradigm implements a direct comprehension of social reality and is based on an “understanding methodology”. The scheme of the “understanding” model: the researcher and the researched should find the right language of interpretation of what is happening, with the help of which they come to a common understanding of the meaning of what happens to them.

Criticism of interpretivism: social reality is reduced to language, as a result, objective reality disappears, which does not depend on language; the subjective side of perception is absolutized, the independence of the existence of phenomena from the knowing subject is denied; knowledge becomes relative in time and space. Used in the study of the structure of consciousness, the mechanisms of the formation of the values ​​of social phenomena, its role will grow due to the need to test the effectiveness of information and advertising technologies. Interpretativeists are aimed at identifying the motivations and actions that determine these behavioral patterns. The choice of the research strategy is strongly influenced by the personal preferences of the researcher.

Critical Theory

At the heart of the critical theory is the concern for the development of a more rational, enlightened society through critical reflection on the organization and the effectiveness of existing institutions and ideologies. The diverse research topics and approaches of the school are united around a common desire to mobilize the potential for critical examination of established socio-political dogmas, questioning the authoritarian features of the modern world. The problem of using system thinking in management theory is multifaceted: it is a study of organizational systems as structures, and a systemic study of personnel motivation factors, and the task of optimizing intra-organization communications and researching the place of an organization in a competitive relationship system, and much more. A systems approach to management based, in turn, on the ideas of critical systems thinking. However, in order to use it in the whole diversity of theory and practice, first of all, we must understand the basics and history of this methodological approach, and, secondly, see the commonality and differences between the soft and proper critical approach close to it.

The object of criticism was also some methods of philosophical research, in particular, positivism. In part, this criticism is associated with the criticism of economic determinism, which recognizes to some extent the positivistic theory of knowledge. As you know, one of the important postulates of positivism is the statement that the same scientific method can be applied in all spheres of knowledge. As a standard of accuracy and certainty, the positivists took the natural sciences and extended it to all other sciences. The gap between consciousness and social structures turns out to be an abyss within social structures (between researchers and teachers within educational research).

For critical theorists, it is generally characteristic to give more criticism than constructive proposals. First, critical theory favors biased knowledge, that is, the knowledge that aims to change the world, while throughout the 20th century the scientific ideal assumed care from engagement, desire for pure knowledge. Secondly, the critical theory sometimes offers too simple answers, they seem too simple from the point of view of modern economic theory and social theory. And thirdly, the critical theory, if it has been practiced for too long, ultimately leads to unpleasant emotions.


Poststructuralism is a movement that brings in differences together and this made the movement become influential in the disciplines of philosophy, cultural studies, politics, and sociology (Peters and Burbules, 2004). There are certain links between poststructuralism and neopositivistic linguistic analysis, but the poststructuralists remain openly destructive positions, and they need language analysis mainly to reject any unity of speech semiotic practice, turning it into an unordered set of “discourses.” It should be noted that traditional terminology, including structural-semiotic, is used by poststructuralists in significantly different meanings. Post-structuralists sometimes deliberately refuse systematic and intelligible presentation, which makes it difficult to work with their texts (partly such “esotericism” is due to the parody of traditional scientific discourse and the desire scandalize the reading public). Culture is increasingly becoming an industry, and it is becoming more and more difficult for an individual consciousness to preserve identity. Language is also considered by poststructuralists as a way of oppression (a peculiarly used theory of linguistic relativity). Post-structuralist reasoning is sometimes reminiscent of the concept of the dehumanization of the art but sustained in an absolutely nihilistic vein.

In the end, poststructuralist aesthetics begins to propagate the ideas of the inexpressible meaning of a work of art, the absolute self-sufficiency of the creative individual (his discourse), fragmentation in the construction of an artistic text (contamination, the principle of collectibles, paradoxical combination, pastyte, rethought intertext, hypertext, etc. .), as well as an orientation to the pathological states of consciousness that can help in getting rid of classical ideas about the world in general and art in particular. In the latter case, a continuity is established with the aesthetics of pre-war surrealism, where the ability to introduce oneself into unusual psychological states, including identical psychological pathologies, was valued.

In contrast to structuralism, poststructuralism belongs to the postmodern era, which largely predetermines many of its essential characteristics. He expresses his disappointment in the classic rationalism, rejects the former belief in reason, science, and progress, expresses deep doubt in the possibility of the realization of the great ideals of humanism. There is no modernist futurism in it, although postmodern is not too striking. The main difference between P. and structuralism lies in its rejection of the concepts of structure and system, of structuralist universalism, theoreticism, and scientism. It also weakens the anti-subject orientation of structuralism, somewhat rehabilitates history and a person — if not as a subject, then as an individual. The deep connection between poststructuralism and structuralism lies in the fact that poststructuralism retained the linguistic-sign world view, and also practically realized the intention of structuralism to combine the scientific and philosophical approach with art, the rational with the sensual and the irrational, the scientist with the artist.


The word pragmatism means action. The basis of the philosophy of pragmatism is the activity, action, practice of man. Such an approach of pragmatists to philosophy immediately discards “as unnecessary old rags all speculative constructions that have grown up. For hundreds of years of philosophy, they are speculative constructions that are not connected with the practical activities of people (Ormerod, 2006).” The philosophy of pragmatism is not limited to the study of the practical activities of people, but is a fairly clear and coherent system of views on almost all aspects of traditional philosophical knowledge.

The main principle of pragmatism proclaims the thesis that each person has. The reality itself has many forms, and the free creativity of each person creates a pluralistic picture of the world. Each person has his own, peculiar only to him methods of philosophizing, because, from his point of view, “to philosophize means to have an individual way of perceiving and feeling the pulse of cosmic life,” and the philosophical orientation itself is due to the innate temperament of man. From the point of view of supporters of pragmatism, philosophy is a method of settling philosophical disputes based on the practical consequences of our actions. The basis of pragmatism is the position of Kantian philosophy, which states that genuine knowledge about the essence of things is inherently inaccessible to man, ie, the principle of agnosticism. Cognition is inextricably linked with the subject and his opinion. It is the subjective opinion of the subject that determines the idea of ​​what is true and what is false and confirms this truth, the falsity of the success of practical human actions.

The philosophy of pragmatism in the spirit of positivism criticizes classical philosophy for being abstract, abstract, inapplicable to reality, and even more so to human life. Most philosophical concepts are so abstract and metaphysical that their every practical meaning is lost, according to representatives of pragmatism. Such concepts describe a reality, either which is not, or which cannot be confirmed empirically. The practical benefits of such concepts are minimal. Representatives of pragmatism considered all metaphysical concepts fruitless and developed practical philosophy. The attitude of pragmatism to practice as a set of sensual consequences arising from our understanding allowed the historians of philosophy to bring together the theory of knowledge of pragmatism and Marxism (dialectical materialism). The only difference between these two epistemologies they saw was that Marxism recognized social-historical practice as the criterion of truth, and pragmatism – individual experience, success of the cognitive subject. philosophy to bring together the theory of knowledge of pragmatism and Marxism (dialectical materialism). They saw the only difference between these two epistemologies only in that Marxism recognized social-historical practice as a criterion of truth, and pragmatism – individual experience, success of a cognizing subject. Pragmatist philosophy promoted the creation of a self-correcting method of knowledge characteristic of modern science. From the point of view of people of science, it is pragmatism that teaches to act, and not to reason in vain, it is pragmatism that allows you to correctly understand the eternal problem of philosophy – what is truth? – as a benefit and as a success in action.



Different philosophies related to educational research have pros and cons and might be more than one philosophy that could be adopted. It should be noted that the philosophy of education is intended to contribute to the understanding of formal education (aimed at its legislative design in the form of diplomas and certificates), informal education (outside the education system as a social institution), non-formal education (enthusiastic occupation “call of the heart” in a certain spiritual area). The philosophical approach is important here simply because any generally accepted definitions characterizing the features of formal, non-formal and informal education and the differences between them have not yet been developed. Adult education as a social institution, relatively young, is in the process of being formalized as a system focused on meeting the entire range of educational needs of the adult population. Thus, over the past decades, post-positivism, interpretivism, critical theory, post-structuralism, and pragmatism were developed with various approaches to education. Economy, sociology, philosophy of education (anthropology and psychology of education) received their distinct, distinct status. Today we can talk about the development trend of the philosophy of education, which allows you to expand the original process of integration of all areas of its research.

At the same time, the diverse aspects of the development of modern education are developed by various sciences, therefore, the study of trends in the development of modern education is intended to be comprehensive, taking into account not only philosophical, but also social, economic, pedagogical, psychological, political and other aspects. Such a diversity requires the solution of many interrelated and often diverse tasks solved by philosophers, science scientists, specialists in the field of the theory of pedagogy, psychologists, sociologists, etc


  1. Dowling, M. (2007). From Husserl to Van Manen: A review of different phenomenological approaches. Retrieved from
  2. Ormerod, R. (2006). The History and Ideas of Pragmatism. Retrieved from
  3. Peters, M., & Burbules, N. (2004). Poststructuralism and Educational Research (Philosophy, Theory, and Educational Research Series). Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  4. Phillips, D., & Burbules, N. (2001). Postpositivism and Educational Research. British Journal Of Educational Studies, (49 (1):109-11), 200.
  5. Shavelson, R. (2002). Scientific Research in Education. Retrieved from

The terms offer and acceptance. (2016, May 17). Retrieved from

[Accessed: April 19, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016.

[Accessed: April 19, 2021] (2016) The terms offer and acceptance [Online].
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[Accessed: April 19, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: April 19, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: April 19, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: April 19, 2021]

"The terms offer and acceptance.", 17 May 2016

[Accessed: April 19, 2021]
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