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Title:Reconstructing a pragmatic theory of knowledge: A transactional perspective
Author(s):Connell, Jeanne Marie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Page, Ralph C.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Philosophy of
Abstract:The project of this thesis is threefold. First, to analyze a pragmatic theory of knowledge, as articulated by philosopher John Dewey. Second, to reconstruct a pragmatic theory of knowledge by focusing on a transactional perspective, where knower and known are viewed on the same plane of inquiry, each actively forming the other. And third, to explore some of the broad educational implications of a transactional perspective, in particular the work in literary theory by Rosenblatt (1978). A transactional perspective highlights the continuity between human beings and their social and natural world, and foregrounds the complexities attached to processes, situations, and events.
A key to understanding the implications of a transactional view lies with a redefinition of subject and object. When describing subjectivity, Dewey (1922) insists upon its transactional nature, self is always identified with concrete and specific activities. The object of knowledge, within Dewey's theory of knowledge, is not coming to perceive the object as it exists in reality, but rather to understand its meaning in relationship to the context of inquiry. The object of knowledge emerges out of and is simultaneously constructed by the process of inquiry. Based on the transactional nature of subjectivity, a redefinition of objectivity occurs as well. Objectivity is not defined by modernist concepts of detachment, neutrality, and autonomy, but by acknowledges the influences of human purposes, values, interests, and beliefs in shaping perception and directing inquiry.
By foregrounding a transactional perspective, the image of human beings as primarily contemplative shifts to a more creative, operate image. Dewey (1920) suggests that the metaphor of the artist is a more appropriate descriptor of what human beings do than the spectator views associated with many theories of knowledge. The artist metaphor suggests the generative nature of our transactions with the world, as well as a holistic involvement of the body. It reminds us that knowing is more a matter of making than finding meaning.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Connell, Jeanne Marie
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9503169
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9503169

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