This paper responds to David Burns and Stephen Norris whose article, “Open-minded Environmental Education in the Science Classroom”, appeared in Volume 18(1) of Paideusis. Burns and Norris (2009) suggest an incompatibility between environmental advocacy and science education because they feel that environmental advocacy necessarily promotes particular political agendas that are extra-scientific, and that such agendas subvert the development of open-mindedness (Hare, 1979; 2000; 2003). In this paper, I offer an alternative reading of Hare’s concept of open-mindedness that is more accepting of careful and thoughtful integrations of science education and social advocacy. I offer an epistemological justification that suggests that advocacy in education (in science and elsewhere) is not only compatible with the concept of open-mindedness, but may also serve as a vehicle for its flourishing.
This essay is an extended argument for a philosophical disposition with regards to pedagogy, and an argument for all educationists, not merely a select few toiling in the academy, to seek wisdom. Engaged in vocations involving teaching and learning, we must aspire to be wise. Being a philosophically minded educationist means occupying a radical middle between opposing viewpoints and thinking critically, in action, about educational experiences. Far from stereotypical notions linking philosophy to abstract ideals of the ivory tower, we argue that being an educationist and taking this responsibility seriously means being a frontline classical philosopher—one who loves wisdom and who is willing to facilitate the birth of ideas.
Over the past decade, numerous Deweyan philosophers have been arguing that Deweyan Pragmatism and Confucianism have significantly similar philosophical underpinnings and thus a Deweynised Confucian society is highly plausible. This article examines the social and historical backdrops against which Deweyan and Confucian thoughts were developed. It then explores the starkly contrasting and oftconflicting views of Dewey and Confucius on the purpose of education, the curriculum in schools, and the respective roles of teachers and students, morality, individuality, sociality as well as politics. The conclusion of this paper is that Deweyan Pragmatism is a context-specific, anti-dualist, and egalitarian theory whereas Confucianism is a transcendental virtue-oriented, universalist, and elitist philosophy. Therefore, any effort to promote the co-optation of Confucianism in Deweyan applications within Confucian civilisations, no matter how well intentioned, blocks the path to truth.