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Paul Grobstein's picture

Kuhn, usefulness, myths, progress, and education

"A paradigm which is left behind for a more useful one is not false, it is only no longer as helpful. I think he is trying to to save us from perpetual schizophrenia about what is myth and what is true. If we allow for paradigms that were once true to be falsified, we allow that all that we believe to be true could in fact be myth at any moment. Can we actually live this way? And a more Kuhnian question, would it be fruitful to live this way?"

Yeah, I think we could indeed live this way. See Writing Descartes. AND that it would be useful. Keeping in mind that everything is "myth" could help avoid wars, among other things. See 11 September 2001.

"I believe in a model of education that works to help students develop the tools that will enable them to become active participants in a world."

It is interesting that "useful" could be a way of thinking about "falsification". And I like your notion of science education as "part of this process of self and world creation" (cf Trying out "hands-on inquiry" and learning from it). I wonder what the relation is between "usefulness" and my suggestion that falsification in Kuhn may correspond to "subsuming"? The problem with starting with "current truth" is that it constrains the directions one might take in the future. And therefore the opportunities to find something more "useful"? Could one perhaps teach "subsuming" as an objective, in pursuit of usefulness?


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