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The philosophical grammar of educational concepts: a Wittgensteinian approach

Grant number: 16/01909-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2016
Effective date (End): October 31, 2016
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Education - Fundamentals of Education
Principal Investigator:Cristiane Maria Cornelia Gottschalk
Grantee:Cristiane Maria Cornelia Gottschalk
Host Investigator: António José Duque da Silva Marques
Host Institution: Faculdade de Educação (FE). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal  


In this project, I shall use part of my reflections on the fundamental educational concepts under a Wittgensteinian perspective, built along my research developed at the Faculty of Education, University of Sao Paulo, which will provide the seeds for a book. The intention is to further develop the issues investigated until now, such as the connection between teaching and meaning, tacit teaching and learning, curriculum and school evaluation, methods and knowledge, in order to reflect on current educational policies in Brazil and other parts of the world, which are adopting proposals for curriculum changes and evaluation forms based on the pedagogy of competences. I will defend that this pedagogy uses a mentalist conception of knowledge to support educational policies and practices, leading to conceptual confusions and misunderstandings in school practices. On the one hand, according to the philosopher of education Paul Standish, most of the theoretical models used in education policy comes from psychology, which even having substantially changed its theoretical apparatus as well as its practices over the past decades, some of its initial beliefs keep leaving behind what he calls the trail-effects in imaginary common sense, acting surreptitiously in the base of the audit culture that is being gradually established in the field of education. On the other hand, one of the theoretical frames for the understanding of the psychological concepts was developed substantially by the philosopher António Marques, who studied the relationship between language and mind under a Wittgensteinian point of view. I intend to recur to his writings about this theme in order to establish a bridge to educational questions, which are raised from conceptual confusions, leading to current psychological presuppositions characteristic of the audit culture. In this sense, one of my goals will be to describe some learning processes and their correlative acquisition of senses, recurring to a new theory of meaning inspired on Wittgenstein's ideas, called "Epistemology of Use", which allows us to make explicit the insertion of such processes in language games, as well as the necessary mediation for the formation of concepts. This new epistemology also shows the potentiality of Wittgenstein's "new method", i.e., the philosophical therapy, in order to clarify philosophical confusions. I think his therapy provides instruments to relativize some of the assumptions of this audit culture, as it enables the description of the grammar of psychological concepts such as thinking, understanding, reasoning, among others, establishing connections with the concepts of "teaching", "learning", "to have a method" and "to follow a rule". As a result of this therapy in the field of education, the following philosophical issues will be considered in order to be elucidated: what are the conditions for the transmission of meanings? In what sense are different forms of training (including what Wittgenstein calls Abrichtung) fundamental components in learning? How do I know that what has been taught is the same as what has been learned? What is the role of tacit teaching in the process of learning? What are the relationships between methods and the acquisition of meaning? Is the distinction made by Wittgenstein between grammatical and empirical propositions relevant to thinking about methodologies of teaching? Finally, does the elucidation of these questions point to a new kind of pedagogy? (AU)

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