PSA2016: The 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association

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Theorizing Science and Pedagogy in the Pre-Professional Era

The U.S. journal Philosophy of Science appeared amid a ferment of new thinking about science in 1934. Marxists, pragmatists, positivists, and many others debated not only the character of science but also its relations to social and cultural matrices. Much of this work took its shape from a pedagogical goal: to inculcate citizens with the “scientific attitude” that most disputants, despite their theoretical differences, agreed was the cultural prerequisite for democracy in an industrial age. This paper explores the broad pedagogical ambitions and specific educational proposals of theorists of science in the days before the field became a professional specialty in the United States. Figures such as the University of Chicago’s Charles W. Morris and Iowa State president Charles E. Friley sought to organize entire faculties around new developments in the philosophy of science. Meanwhile, the now-forgotten Lee Byrne explored the Unity of Science movement’s implications for secondary education.

Author Information:

Andrew Jewett    
Department of History
Harvard University


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