Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Compare and Contrast

These pairs of quotes come from different viewpoints about how we know what we know, and how we should conduct higher education. Write a 3000 word essay in which you reflect how these statements fit into the practice of teaching and learning as you currently understand it. Due Friday.
If we take take in our hand any volume, of divinity  or school metaphysics for instance, let us ask, Does it contain any abstract  reasoning concerning quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental  reasoning concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the flames, for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion. --  David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, ed. L. Selby-Bigge, p. 163, taken from here.
Epistemological anarchism is an epistemological theory advanced by Austrian philosopher of science Paul Feyerabend which holds that there are no useful and exception-free methodological rules governing the progress of science or the growth of knowledge. It holds that the idea that science can or should operate according to universal and fixed rules is unrealistic, pernicious and detrimental to science itself. --Facebook Group on Epistemological anarchism(!)
We say that a sentence is factually significant to any given person, if and only if, [she or] he knows how to verify the proposition which it purports to express—that is, if [she or] he knows what observations would lead [her or him], under certain conditions, to accept the proposition as being true, or reject it as being false. – A. J. Ayer, Language, Truth, and Logic

[T]he meaning of a word is its usage in the language. – L. Wittgenstein
The CLA measures were designed by nationally recognized experts in psychometrics and assessment, and field tested in order to ensure the highest levels of validity and reliability.-- Advertising flyer for the Collegiate Learning Assessment
It is a common misconception that validity is a particular phenomenon whose presence in a test may be evaluated concretely and statistically. One often hears exclamations that a given test is “valid” or “not valid.” Such pronouncements are not credible, for they reflect neither the focus nor the complexity of validity. – College BASE Technical Manual
And finally this pair of quotes from a New York Times article:
In a talk to the nation's governors earlier this month, [Microsoft founder] Mr. Gates emphasized work-related learning, arguing that education investment should be aimed at academic disciplines and departments that are "well-correlated to areas that actually produce jobs." 
At an event unveiling new Apple products, [Apple CEO] Mr. Jobs said: "It's in Apple's DNA that technology alone is not enough -- it's technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing and nowhere is that more true than in these post-PC devices."

What positions on the red/blue spectrum are more consistent with your own practices and beliefs? There are not right answers. Well, unless you believe there are I guess.

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